Things to do in Monza (top attractions + spots only locals know about)
Monza has so many treasures that is difficult to understand why it is often overlooked by travelers, especially considering that is really close to Milan (only 15 minutes away). The Teodolinda Chapel (also called the Sistine Chapel of northern Italy), the Villa Reale and its gardens, the largest walled park in Europe are just some of the things to see in Monza.
If you are looking for a place worth to be visited outside Milan, but not that far away, you have found it. Monza is the perfect one-day trip from Milan and here’s my list of things to do in Monza with unique insider tips.
Things to do in Monza # 1
The Cathedral (Duomo di Monza)
Be ready to admire this impressive Cathedral. It lies in a relatively small square and this enhances the size of the Cathedral.
You can reach the Duomo from different alleyways, all of which are quite narrow that is difficult to imagine that they bring you to such a big Cathedral. When I’m there, I’m always astonished by its gothic architecture and its external facade; but what I truly love are the frescoes inside.
Things to do in Monza # 2
The Teodolinda Chapel and the Iron Crown
The frescoes in the Teodolinda Chapel are marvelous. You cannot miss this chapel inside the museum of the Cathedral.
Inside the museum, there is also another treasure: the Iron Crown. According to the tradition, the Iron Crown was forged with iron from a nail used during Jesus Crucifixion. That’s why it was used for coronation of many European sovereigns, like Napoleon.
To visit the museum of the Cathedral, you have to book in advance; click here for more information.
Things to do in Monza # 3
The smallest museum in the world
You should stop by MIMUMO for two reasons: it’s the smallest museum in the world and it’s inside the oldest house of Monza, the “house of the red moon”.
MIMUMO and the “house of the red moon” are in Via Lambro 1, a picturesque alleyway next to the Cathedral.
MIMUMO is so small that you cannot enter inside, the free exhibition can be seen directly from the alleyway. I like the idea behind this little museum: give less known talents the chance to show their art.
The “house of the red moon” (where MIMUMO is located) is the oldest house in Monza. Indeed, it’s completely different from all the other buildings in the town. When you are there, look at the house walls to spot the red moon which was Monza coat of arms in the Middle Ages.
Things to do in Monza # 4
Did you know that the Villa Reale was on sale? What a pity, maybe, if you had known that…
It happened when Napoleon conquered part of Italy; he needed money to support his battles, so he put the Villa up for sale.
But, coming back to the present day, here’s my tip for visiting the Villa Reale: the last time I was there, I visited the interior of the Villa with 3D smart glasses – really cool (ask for them before you start the visit). Besides that, I suggest you to have a walk outside the Villa to enjoy its charm, especially when the rose garden is in full bloom – lovely!
Another tip: every year on June 24, there are fireworks with music in the amazing setting of the Villa Reale. It’s a can’t-miss event for monzesi (people of Monza); if you are there, you should definitely go.
Click here for more information about the Villa Reale.
Things to do in Monza # 5
Monza Park lies behind the Villa Reale.
After walking around Monza, you’ll be glad to know that Monza Park is the perfect spot for a bit of relax. But in case you still want to walk, no problem, this is the largest walled park in Europe!
You can also rent bikes or cycle rickshaws (for that, go to Cascina Bastia). Instead, if you want to explore the park but you are too lazy to pedal (I understand you ), you can take a little train that reaches all the main corners of the park (to take the train, go to Villa Mirabello).
Inside Monza Park, there is also the Autodromo di Monza, the famous Formula 1 racing circuit. If you are nearby in the days before Formula 1 race (usually in early September), you should go to Monza even without the race tickets; in those days, the city center turns into an outdoor museum of the automotive world.
Click here to see all the things you can do inside Monza Park.
Things to do in Monza # 6
Taste traditional food
Tasting local food is always a good way to know a place and, for sure, a pleasant way, too!
My favorite dishes of the Monza tradition are risotto alla monzese, polenta and torta paesana.
There are many restaurants in Monza where you can try them plus other local dishes, but my suggestion for the best mix of gourmet and traditional food is definitely Derby Grill.
Believe me, you’ll have a top-notch culinary experience at Derby Grill.
Things to do in Monza # 7
Bergamo street (Via Bergamo)
Another insider tip?
Well, Bergamo street.
On Bergamo street there are many small bistro, cafè and wineries (my favorite is Bohème Winery). They are all both trendy and casual at the same time. A stop here is a must-do for a snack or for the Italian aperitivo.
How to reach Monza from Milan? The easiest way is to take a train from Milan (from either Milan Porta Garibaldi or Milan Central Station). It takes around 15/20 minutes. Click here to check the train timetable on Trenitalia website.
How much time do you need to visit Monza? That’s really subjective; what I can tell you is that in one complete day you can visit all the places I suggested in this post; they are all within walking distance.
Are you planning to visit Monza? Or, have you already been in Monza? Leave your comment!