Monza is a tiny city just twenty minutes north/east of Milano. It happens to be often overlooked on most tourist agendas. But, that is a sad mistake, because this small city is rich with things worth doing and seeing, including one of the largest walled parks in the world. Not only is the Park of Monza itself worth an airplane ticket to Italy, but the rest of the city is also quite lovely. There are museums, fine restaurants, and so very much to explore, if one gives the city a chance.
I had booked myself into a charming one bedroom apartment that I found on Booking.com, which is the site that I prefer to use when traveling. The name of the place was Apartmento Luce. And as soon as I saw it, i loved it. Set away in the courtyard of an apartment building, it was a perfect place to stay. It was clean, spacious (especially for one person), private, and wonderfully quiet!
My first day in Monza was spent like my first day in any European city. I wander aimlessly around the streets and alleyways. That, to me, is the best way to get my bearings in a new place. So, with a city map in hand, I set out to explore, no real destination in mind.
At times, in a new place, I tend to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to get lost in Italian towns and cities, and when you do, you may feel as if you will never be able to understand the system of streets, or even be able to find your way back to wherever it is that you are staying. But, rest assured, that is not the case. Usually by the end of day one, I am able to navigate the city quite well, and that was the case with Monza.
The Centro Storico, or historic center of Monza is not that large. But, it is very interesting. And I always take delight in exploring narrow streets and discovering restaurants that I want to dine in, locating a bar that looks like fun for an apertivo, or checking out the shops and art galleries that even the smallest of Italian towns seem to have.
As I was wandering I stumbled upon a flower show in Piazza Trento e Trieste. While the flower show was lovely, the main attraction of the Piazza, for me, was the huge monument in the center of the square – the Monumento ai Caduti. This piece of art is stunning! Along the edges of the Piazza are various bar/cafes which make a nice rest stop for a light bite, or something to drink.
Dinner that night was at Il Guscio, a restaurant/jazz club, located not far from my apartment. I had a lovely meal, with good wine, at a very reasonable price. My plates included a mixed antipasto which was made up of cured meats, bruschetta, and perhaps one of the most delicious eggs that I have ever eaten. This was followed by a risotto with smoked lake fish that was so creamy that I practically licked the plate when I was finished with it! I highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Monza.
Below are some photos of Monza. Keep an eye out next week for my post about Villa Reale, and the Iron Crown and more Monza delights…..