If you are wondering what to see in Monza, beyond the F1 racetrack, you are in the right place.
Monza is one of the oldest towns near Milan and Lake Como, hosting the early September F1 Grand Prix, but also rich with a beautiful old center and an amazing Duomo. Not to miss a visit is the Royal Villa with its huge park! The largest walled park in Europe with 700 hectares, and gardens with ultra-secular plants.
The Corona Ferrea, the oldest crown ever built
Located north of Milan, Monza was already the capital in the 6th and 7th century, when it became the residence of the king and his family.
Since then, it experienced a rapid growth, which was especially vivid during the Teodolinda queendom. By her order, a beautiful cathedral was built in Monza. The cathedral became the repository of priceless treasures, the most famous and valuable is the Corona Ferrea (The Iron Crown).
The Iron Crown is a relic and may be one of the oldest royal insignia of Christendom. It was made in the Early Middle Ages and it consists of a circlet of gold and jewels fitted around a central silver band, which tradition held to be made of iron beaten out of a nail of the True Cross.
This was the crown that was traditionally used in the coronation ceremony of Italian emperors and kings in Italy.
So, visiting the Duomo with its frescoed Teodolinda chapel hosting the Crown is really a must-do while in Monza! While worth mentioning is that the Duomo is in a paradise for shopping with some of the best boutiques in the area.
Villa Reale and the Park with the Grand Prix Circuit
While entering Monza, you will drive a long avenue, which in history hosted the parades of the king when he was at the villa.
The Villa, with its Versailles-style architecture, is lush and grandiose. It was built in the neoclassical style in the 18th century under the Austrian Empire. During the Napoleonic period, became a Royal Palace.
In 1861, when the new Kingdom of Italy was established, the building became a palace of the Italian Royal House of Savoy. In 1900, After the murder of King Umberto I – happened in Monza during a public parade – the royal family abandoned The Royal Villa.
The villa sits on the edge of the sprawling Monza Park. With 700 hectares, it is the largest walled park in Europe. The gardens, with ultra-secular plants, are a former hunting reserve for the king. Since 1922 the park has been home to the Autodromo Nazionale, a Formula 1 racetrack.
The Monza National Motor Circuit is among the oldest permanent circuits in the world. We definitely suggest taking our tour of the circuit! The visit will include facilities that are normally closed to the public: box building, press room, race management and access to the circular podium. Thereafter you will experience the excitement of a race, driven by a minivan for a round of the track.
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