Monza ItalyMonza lies just 15km from the centre of Milan, on the banks of the River Lambro. It is easily reached from Lake Garda by travelling west along the A4. It is best known for its Grand Prix Motor racing circuit, called the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. It is the third largest city in Lombardy with over 120,000 residents and is the capital of the province of Monza and Brianza. It is the most important economic, industrial and administrative centre of the area, and has a large textile industry and a publishing trade.
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Like many cities in Italy, Monza has its fair share of impressive buildings and historic architecture. The Porta dAgrate is all that remains of the walls which once surrounded the city. The Duomo of St John has an interesting black and white marble façade was built in the 14th century by Matteo da Campione. Inside it has the beautiful Iron Crown of Lombardy within the frescoed Chapel of Theodelinda. Set in the crowns detailed decoration is allegedly one of the nails used at the Crucifixion. The treasury also contains the crown, fan and gold comb of Theodelinda, and, as well as Gothic crosses and reliquaries and a golden hen and seven chickens which represents Lombardy and its seven provinces. The chapel also has some breathtaking frescoes. Adjoining the Duomo is the tall campanile or bell tower.
Monza has several other historic buildings including the terracotta Santa Maria in Strada; the 14th century Broletto with its lovely arcade; the Capella Espiatoria memorial to the assassinated King Umberto 1 in Italy. The Royal Villa, Villa Reale, makes a pleasant escape from the city as it is set in Monza Park, an enclosed park area of 688 acres which is the largest urban park in Europe.
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