Monza, Little gem of Brianza
Visiting Monza is like a blast from the past, like reliving a piece of history of Lombardy and Italy. Very close to the metropolis Milan, the city is a unique place marked by a particular relationship between culture and environment, and which preserves traces of distant eras and peoples: the Celts, which probably founded the first settlement, the Romans, which gave it its current name, the Lombards, which built the Basilica of St. John Baptist and the Royal Palace of Teodolinda, and also the Austrians which, by the will of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, founded the Royal Villa. Built according to the architectural canons of the famous “Reggia di Caserta”, the latter is the most important historical and artistic building in the Lombard city, together with the Duomo.
Adjacent to the homonym square, we find Piazza Roma with the Arengario, that is the crossroads towards which the most important streets of Monza converge to. After strolling the Arengario, in Via Carlo Alberto - a real parade of shops to suit all tastes - you arrive to Square Carrobiolo. The shopping enthusiasts can retrace Via Carlo Alberto until reaching the Arengario back again and continue along Via Italia turning right for the Squares Trento and Trieste, centering on the Monument to the Fallen. Turning left instead, not only you can meet other shops, but you reach the Bridge of Lions overlooking the Lambro.
However, Monza isn’t just famous for its history and for its artistic masterpieces, it’s also well renowned for its wine and food. Many different dishes linked to the peasant tradition as el panmoijaa (soup with minced lard or bacon prepared with onion, garlic and parsley, served on slices of yellow bread) or the peasant pie (a “poor” campaign dessert, prepared with stale bread soaked in milk and enriched with cocoa, pine seeds, candied fruit and raisins).
Speaking about sweet, are absolutely worth mentioning two ancient recipes related to the name and figure of the patron San Gerardo: bread and biscuits of San Gerardo. The bread of San Gerardo can be found at Pasticceria Luzzara, while for the biscuits you most go to Pasticceria Santini which produces these long-life dry goodies for more than 150 years. Signature dish of Monza, however, is definitely the risotto with “luganega", which means sausage. You can purchase it at Il Gourmet, situated in via Passerini or at the small delicatessen of Angelo Brugola, in via Antonietti. If you are walking through the streets of the historic center and want to grab a quick bite, stop at Osteria del Cavolo, where pastel colors and wooden beams give life to one of the nicest places in Monza, where tradition and innovation are intertwined in the interesting menu inspired willingly to the Lombard tradition, but not only. For a seafood dinner, instead, we recommend Restaurant Il Moro, which celebrated the pleasures of the sea cuisine.
If you have planned to stop overnight in Lombardy’s small and picturesque city, you can opt for comfortable solutions, elegant and quite economic as Hotel Royal Falcone and Helios Hotel, or else to the luxury and style of Hotel de la Ville, a luxurious residence overlooking the Royal Villa, featuring a magnificent award-winning restaurant, the Derby Grill.