Place:Monza, Milano, Lombardia, Italy


Alt namesModiciasource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) VIII, 298; Encyclopedia Britannica Online (1994-2001) accessed 8/01
Coordinates45.583°N 9.267°E
Located inMilano, Lombardia, Italy
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Monza (; , locally  ; ) is a city and comune on the River Lambro, a tributary of the Po in the Lombardy region of Italy, about north-northeast of Milan. It is the capital of the Province of Monza and Brianza. Monza is best known for its Grand Prix motor racing circuit, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, which hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix with a massive Italian support tifosi for the Ferrari team.

On 11 June 2004, Monza was designated the capital of the new province of Monza and Brianza. The new administrative arrangement came fully into effect in summer 2009; previously, Monza was a comune within the province of Milan. Monza is the third-largest city of Lombardy and is the most important economic, industrial and administrative centre of the Brianza area, supporting a textile industry and a publishing trade. Monza also hosts a Department of the University of Milan Bicocca, a Court of Justice and several offices of regional administration. Monza Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe.


Historic buildings

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Prehistory and ancient era

Funerary urns found in the late 19th century show that humans were in the area dating at the least to the Bronze Age, when people would have lived in pile dwelling settlements raised above the rivers and marshes.

During the Roman Empire, Monza was known as 'Modicia'. During the 3rd century BCE, the Romans subdued the Insubres, a Gaul tribe that had crossed the Alps and settled around Mediolanum (now Milan). A Gallo-Celtic tribe, perhaps the Insubres themselves, founded a village on the Lambro. The ruins of a Roman bridge named Ponte d'Arena can be seen near today's Ponte dei Leoni (Lions Bridge).

Middle Ages

Theodelinda, daughter of Garibald I of Bavaria and wife of the Lombard king Authari (and later of king Agilulf), chose Monza as her summer residence. Here in 595 she founded an oraculum dedicated to St. John the Baptist. According to the legend, Theodelinda, asleep while her husband was hunting, saw a dove in a dream that told her: modo (Latin for "here") indicating that she should build the oraculum in that place, and the queen answered etiam, meaning "yes". According to this legend, the medieval name of Monza, "Modoetia", is derived from these two words. She also had a palace (the future Royal palace) built here.

Berengar I of Italy (850–924) located his headquarters in Monza. A fortified castrum was constructed to resist the incursions of the Hungarians. Under Berengar's reign, Monza enjoyed a certain degree of independence: it had its own system of weights and measures, and could also seize property and mark the deeds with their signatures. Berengar was very generous evident by the donation of numerous works to the Monza Cathedral, including the famous cross, and by giving large benefits to its 32 canons and other churches.

In 980 Monza hosted Emperor Otto II inside the walled city. The Glossary of Monza, one of the earliest examples of the evolution of the Italian language, probably dates to the early 10th century. In 1000 Emperor Otto III became the protector of Monza and its possessions: Bulciago, Cremella, Lurago, Locate and Garlate.

In 1018, Aribert (970–1045), Lord of Monza, was consecrated bishop of Milan, resulting in the city losing its independence from its rival. These years saw a power struggle between the emperor Conrad II, and Aribert. When the emperor died, he left important donations to the church of Monza.

In the 12th century, it is estimated that the city of Monza had about 7,000 inhabitants. Agriculture was the main occupation, although crafts had begun to grow in importance. In 1128 Conrad III of Hohenstaufen was crowned King of Italy in the Church of San Michele at Monza.

In 1136 emperor Lothair III guaranteed the independence of the clergy of Monza from Milan. Monza subsequently regained its autonomy, which was not limited to the feudal government of lands and goods; the archpriest of Monza was confirmed the authority of the clergy of his church (year 1150). This autonomy was never absolute, as the church of Monza was not able to completely cut its ties with the bishop of Milan.

Frederick I Barbarossa visited Monza twice (1158 and 1163). During this period the city again regained its independence from Milan, a city hostile to the emperor. Frederick declared that Monza was his property and also gave the Curraria (the right to levy customs on the streets), a right usually granted only to royal seats.

During the period of the struggle against Milan and other cities of the Lombard League, Monza was primarily an administrative centre for Barbarossa. Monzan independence lasted until 1185 when Barbarossa ended the conflict with the Lombard League with the peace of Constance. He allowed the city of Milan to self-rule its subjects again while taking possession of the treasury of the cathedral.

In 1185 Henry VI, son of Barbarossa, was crowned king at Monza, on the occasion of his marriage to Queen Constanza of Sicily, heir to the Norman kingdom.

As early as the 12th century, Monza was a fortified place, although the status of free city had changed its economical role. Agricultural activities were now paired by the production of clothes, while wool processing developed on large farms outside the walls.

Monza was increasingly linked to events of Milan and shared its history and enemies: in 1255 the city was sacked by the Ghibellines, and in 1259 and Ezzelino III da Romano tried to seize the castle of Monza but was repelled; the village was set on fire.

After the decisive 1277 victory of the Visconti at the Battle of Desio, Monza was occupied by Archbishop Ottone Visconti and the Marquis of Montferrat, William VII (1278). The following year, the town was declared a possession of the people of Milan.

14th–17th centuries

In 1312, Monza adhered to the Ghibelline faction.

Enrico Aliprandi, a member of a family of Monza, joined the Torriani faction, with many enlisted soldiers under his command. He was acclaimed Lord of Monza by the people in 1322. The same year, Luchino Visconti and Francesco Garbagnate demolished the walls of Monza to prevent it from defending itself against attacks from the Milanese.

In 1325 Galeazzo I Visconti, who conquered the city after a long siege, began the construction of new defences. Among the projects was the bifurcation of the River Lambro (the "Lambretto" branch) and the construction of a castle, the third in Monza. It included a tall-tower, later used as a jail (Forni). The Castle of Monza was later expanded to such a degree that it was necessary to demolish the St. Mary of Ingino church as space was needed for new buildings. Two other towers were also built along the River Lambro. In 1327 Galeazzo himself was imprisoned in the Forni, by order of emperor Louis IV. He was released the next year.

In April 1329, the condottiero Pinalla Aliprandi regained Monza from the imperial troops. Azzone Visconti allowed the reconstruction of the walls, beginning in 1333 and lasting until 1381. Martino Aliprandi was podestà of Monza from 1334 to 1336, overseeing the construction of the walls and the fortification of the fortress.

In 1354 Pope Innocent VI proclaimed the undisputed right to impose, in the Cathedral of Monza, the Crown of Italy, the Iron Crown. In 1380 Gian Galeazzo Visconti donated the castle to his wife Catherine, who died there after having been jailed by her son Giovanni Maria (1404). In 1407 Estorre Visconti was proclaimed Lord of Monza and began minting Monza's own coinage.

Antonio de Leyva, the Spanish governor of Milan and commander of the imperial troops, sacked the city in 1527. In the same year, a mine exploded causing the partial destruction of the Castle of Monza. De Leyva became Lord of Monza in 1529, devoting himself to the government regulation of ecclesiastical affairs, controlling their taxes and duties and shutting the doors of those who did not pay. His relative Marianna de Leyva was the inspiration to Alessandro Manzoni for his Nun of Monza.

The plague, which struck Monza in 1576 and 1630, caused a profound demographic and economic crisis. In 1648, Monza and its territory became the property of the Milanese Durini family.

The Duchy of Milan and Monza remained subject to the Spanish crown until the early 18th century.

18th century

At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (1713), the Duchy of Milan was assigned to the House of Habsburg of Austria. This historical period is a season of rebirth of the city, with a considerable development of agriculture and crafts.

Empress Maria Theresa built the Royal Villa of Monza for her son Ferdinand, Governor of Milan (1777–1780). The choice of Monza was due not only to the beauty of the landscape, but also its strategic position and the fact that it was connected to Vienna as well as its proximity to Milan. The construction was completed in three years with design by architect Giuseppe Piermarini from Foligno.

At the conclusion of the Italian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte (1796), the Duchy of Milan was acquired first by the French Republic and then entered the Cisalpine Republic (which, in 1802, became the Italian Republic).

19th century

Considered by the French as a symbol of aristocratic power, the Royal Villa was destined for demolition. However, the protests of citizens stopped the process, although the abandonment caused the complex to decay.

Two-thirds of the gold and silver treasures of the Monza Cathedral were delivered to the mint of Milan, which turned them into coins used for military expenses. Bonaparte also took possession of the treasures of the Basilica and the Chapter Library books, and transferred them to the National Library in Paris. The Iron Crown was left provisionally in Monza.

In 1805, the Italian Republic became the Kingdom of Italy with its capital in Milan. On 26 May 1805, the Iron Crown was in Milan for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, who put it on his head, uttering the famous phrase "God gave it to me, woe to anyone who touches it." Napoleon also established the Order of the Iron Crown. Monza received the title of Imperial City. The Viceroy of Italy, Eugene de Beauharnais, was appointed in August 1805 and he settled in the Villa of Monza. In 1807 the castle was demolished.

In the fall of the First Empire (1815), Austria annexed the Italian territories to the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, Monza being included in the province of Milan. The Monzesi asked for the restoration of all the treasures taken by the French. In 1816 the city returned the possession of the books of the Treasury and Chapter Library. The Crown of Agilulf, however, had been melted in Paris.

The next emperor Ferdinand I of Austria had himself crowned King of Lombardy and Venetia in Milan with the Iron Crown (6 September 1838), with the opportunity to extend various benefits to the city. New roads are opened, including the King Ferdinand road (now Via Vittorio Emanuele), while in 1842 the Bridge of Lions was erected near the old Roman bridge. In 1841 the first railway connecting Milan and Monza was inaugurated.

Monza took part in the Five Days of Milan (22–23 March 1848) Monza, expelling the Austrian garrison. The Austrians returned in 1849.

In 1859, at the end of the Second Italian War of Independence, Lombardy became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. But the treasure and the Iron Crown had been transferred to Vienna by the Austrians and was returned to Monza only after the conclusion of the Third War of Italian Independence (December 1866).

On 31 December 1895 Monza had about 37,500 permanent inhabitants. The economy was based on the production of wheat, corn, fodder, potatoes, oats, rye and vegetables in general. Another source of wealth was the breeding of silkworms.

In 1900 Monza was the scene of the assassination of King Umberto I by anarchist Gaetano Bresci. To commemorate the spot of the crime, his successor Victor Emmanuel III ordered the construction of an Expiatory Chapel on Via Matteo da Campione.

20th century

At the beginning of the century, Monza counted 41,200 inhabitants; in 1911 it was among the eight most industrialised centres of Italy. The main activities were related to the processing of cotton, mechanics, hat factories and industries.

Between the two world wars, the city's industrial structure did not undergo substantial change while recording significant increases in production volumes. The Autodromo (1922) and a golf course (1925) were built in the park.

The Second World War, between 1940 and 1945, caused several bombings of Monza, with civilian casualties; after the September 1943 Italian Armistice, the area was occupied by the Germans.

In the second half of the century, the city experienced a significant increase in population and subsequent building development. With the development of various activities occurring problems related to traffic and links to nearby towns, especially with Milan.

21st century

At the beginning of the century, Monza had about 120,000 inhabitants. The city became the capital of the Province of Monza and Brianza on 11 June 2004. In 2009-2013 a tunnel was built to supplement the Viale Lombardia (SS36 national road), one of the busiest streets in Europe.

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