Not far from the Portineria di Vedano is the site of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which is where the Italian Grand Prix takes place every year. This has been going on since 1950, and apparently when the track is open, the city is full of tourists. I was not there on a race day, so I didn’t have to deal with any of the crowds, but I can imagine that a track like this would attract large groups of people.
Crossing over to the eastern side of the park, I passed the Ex Fagianaia Reale, which was a building built for the purpose of breeding pheasants for the Royal Court’s hunting pleasure. Now it functions as a high end Restaurant S. Georges Premier.
I found a lovely little cafe for lunch, which was salad and a glass of wine, and then continued on my way, exploring some more of this incredible park.
My next discovery in the park was Cascina Molini Asciuti. This is now a private home, but luckily for me, no one seemed to be home, and I was able to walk around a little. On the property are locks built over the small river and I found the whole place to be quite beautiful.
At this point I decided to head back towards the city of Monza. On the way, I stopped to see one of the parks main attractions, Villa Mirabello. This is a lovely villa built on the ruins of an ancient castle that belonged to the De Leyva family, one of whom gave birth to Virginia Maria de Leyva, known historically as the Nun of Monza, due to the controversial life that she led (being involved sexually with someone, tied to various murders in and outside of the convent, etc). Today, this Villa is home to temporary exhibitions, the Park’s library, and also arts organizations.
As is usually the case in cities, the homes surrounding major parks are lovely, and in Monza, this is absolutely the case!
I finished my day with a trip down towards the train station, exploring that area a bit, and then had a nice dinner at Osteria del Cavolo, a quaint little restaurant on Vicolo dei Molini. The tasting menu was a bargain at E 43.00, and while there was nothing extraordinary about any single plate, it was a lovely meal, and I was quite content when I left.
Next stop – Milano……..