Milan is a cosmopolitan and international city home to iconic fashion brands, renowned museums, the stunning Duomo and great Italian food and wine. The fast-paced lifestyle and rush of commuters piling into metro cars and trams make the city buzz with energy and plenty of excitement. While certainly exhilarating, you may find yourself yearning for a short reprieve from the hustle, bustle, and crowds.
For a quick escape from Milan, look no further than the historic city of Monza, one of the most charming Milan surrounding towns. Located just 15 minutes by train from Milano Centrale or Milano Porta Garibaldi, you can easily spend a few hours or a whole day walking around this vibrant city. At under 5 Euros roundtrip, Monza is a tranquil and very affordable day trip from Milan to Monza. With an inviting atmosphere and refined food and drinks, the compact city Monza is sure to surprise and delight you!
Things to see and do in Monza
To work up an appetite, begin by walking through the quaint historic center, about 5 minutes by foot from the Monza train station. If you’re in need of a coffee, snack or want to pick up clothes from top Italian and international brands, stop by la Rinascente. Housed in a lovely building right as you enter town, it’s a convenient and excellent way to start your day. Not only is la Rinascente a top clothing store, they also have a café, wine shop and the always needed, public bathrooms. Their free wi-fi is another added bonus if you need to connect to the internet during your travels.
Continuing along Via Italia, Monza’s main pedestrian street, you will find the 14th Century church, Chiesa di Santa Maria in Strada. While small in stature, its bursting with incredibly ornate architectural details and frescoes inside. Next, head to the Duomo di Monza, situated in a small piazza off of Via Italia. This gorgeous Basilica di San Giovanni Battista, dates back to the 1300’s and has a great museum to explore too. Close by, you can also check out the Monumento ai Caduti (statue of the fallen) right outside the Comune di Monza building. Last but not least, is the obligatory stop at the Palazzo dell’Arengario, Monza’s medieval former town hall building. Marvel at the exterior, then go inside to learn all about it in the museum. If you still have time, make your way to the Royal Villa of Monza which sits at the entrance to the expansive Parco di Monza. Now a museum, the Villa features rotating art exhibits, cultural events and a lovely garden. The neighboring public park of 700 hectares (1,730 acres) is also a place you could spend hours exploring!
Where to eat in Monza
A lovely and authentic restaurant for a delicious lunch or dinner is Il Pizzicagnolo, hidden on a small street right in the center of town. You’ll be surrounded by locals and treated with great hospitality while you savor traditional Italian pastas and meat dishes. They have a great lunch offer and a very good wine list to compliment your meal.
Another slightly more upscale option is that of Il Feudo dei Sapori. Their fantastic seafood and regional specialties make for an excellent and memorable dining experience. Be sure to make reservations, even for lunch!
If you don’t have time for a full meal, grab a slice of artisanal pizza or loaf of bread to-go, at the very kind, Forno Al Mastro. They use organic and ancient stone ground flours and are located just off Corso Milano, the main street that takes you to and from the station. They also have great wine!
Finally, no day is complete without gelato! You will find your new favorite flavor at Elleboro Fior Di Gelato.
Best places to enjoy a coffee or aperitivo in Monza
No matter what time of day, Monza has plenty of places to sip a coffee, wine or refreshing spritz. True coffee lovers will be spoiled by the choices at Coffee & Coffee by Milani. They specialize in single origin coffees and source their beans from all over the world. They even make cold brew iced coffee for the summer months! They also have pastries, wi-fi and are very welcoming! For a more classic and elegant experience, have a coffee or aperitivo at Confetteria Moderno, while you look out onto the lovely Piazza Roma.
Later in the day, enjoy a spritz or glass of wine at Dori or one of the many other lively cafés on Piazza San Paolo on via San Paolo. Another great corner to enjoy the beautiful city is along the Lambro river on Via Spalto Santa Maddalena. For a casual drink you can sit outside among the locals at Lenry Bar, or for something trendy and modern, have an aperitivo at Wibe across the street. If the weather isn’t cooperating, try a delicious cocktail and top-notch service at Dive, an excellent bar right at the Ponte dei Leoni (Bridge of Lions).
For wine lovers, you can peruse a large selection of wines, as well as a menu of local meats, cheeses and vegetables at La Cantina della Torre. Soak in the relaxed pace and warm atmosphere of Monza, before heading back to continue your explorations in Milan.
In contrast to Monza, deciding what to eat in Milan can be overwhelming! Before or after your day trip, book a food tour with WalkingPalates, and leave all the planning to the experts. We recommend doing a tour as soon as you touch down in Milan, as to not waste precious time or money on subpar food. WalkingPalates uncovers some of the top food and wine in Milan, while also providing a great tour of the city’s diverse districts. Learn the history of Milanese cuisine through classic recipes, and taste exciting new dishes from international hot spots. Discover excellent Italian wines and visit local gems you’d never find on your own. The knowledgeable guides are also great resources for insider tips and advice to help make the rest of your visit as carefree as possible! With WalkingPalates tours, you’ll truly experience the best of Milan.