Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bonza, bonza, off to Monza

The history of Monza is closely related to that of Milan. The cathedral, founded (6th cent.) by the Lombard queen Theodolinda, contains the iron crown of Lombardy, which was made, according to tradition, from a nail of Christ's cross from the crucifixion, and which was used to crown Charlemagneme, Charles V, Napoleon I, and other emperors as kings of Lombardy or of Italy. This definitely warranted the purchase of a ticket.  Forethought... kids free, yeehah!!  They only allowed groups in on half hour timeslots and we managed the last before lunch.  After thought.... I do not undersatnd Italian... doh!  So I hear, "blah, blah, blah, princepessa, blah, blah, princepe, blah blah". I felt as though I was about to witness some sort of rare spy device, (x-ray goggles would of been cool), as the informant unlocked vault after vault to finally reveal the crown in a glass chamber.  We were even locked into an iron gated section of the cathedral to witness the crown, (not quite sure how a fire evacuation plan would come into practice here).  I am later to find out that the alleged nail from Christ's Cross is about as feasible as my qualification for the tv show So You Think You Can Dance.  Not likely.  But none the less, it was a pretty crown.
The treasury also contains the crown, fan and gold comb of Theodelinda, and, as well as Gothic crosses and reliquaries, a golden hen, (no it does not lay golden eggs) and seven chickens, representing Lombardy and her seven provinces.

After our crown viewing we took a quick exit out of the echoing cathedral to walk the streets and grab some lunch.  It seems odd to say that each of these places we visit are so different from each other because I know I always describe the cobblestone streets, cute little alleyways and numerous churches.  This is obviously prevalent in most small Italian cities, but they all still retain their own differing character, like a birthmark would seperate a twin. 

The children dictate where our lunch stop will be, with a call of "pee pee", my son has his hands on his bits as he hops up and down, so we go to the closest restaurant near us.  We enjoy a few glasses of wine and mixed paninis, and I have a relaxing lunch.  My husband on the other hand gets to experience what he only describes as a "poo party", with both children, on seperate occassions.  For some reason, he is looking a little stressed when he returns to the table with son in a completely new outfit, he is muttering something about no nappy wipes in the bag.  On reflection, those snarling noises he was making at me were probably out of animosity not flirting.

We decided to just wander the streets, passing several churches, we found ourselves in and out of a couple of stores, and took a break for some gelati.  This seems to be our common weekend practice.

We stumbled upon Arengario, the broletto of Monza, a medieval palace which used to serve for meetings of the city council or nobles.  Its arcaded groundfloor occasionaly served as an open court of law, and I am sure as a shelter from the rain for shoppers in modern times. 

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a race track that has hosted the Formula One Italian Grand Prix since the sport's inception.  It is built in the Royal Villa of Monza park in a woodland setting, and the site has three tracks – the 5.793 kilometres Grand Prix track, the 2.405 kilometres Junior track, and a decaying 4.250 kilometres high speed track with steep bankings.  We were hoping to make the park in the afternoon, but as the clouds rolled over and we noticed the time on our watch, we decided for another day trip tomorrow. 

IF - Interesting Fact
The Monza circuit has been the arena of many fatal accidents, especially in the early years of the Formula One world championship, and has claimed the lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators.

The definition of Bonza is excellent, pleasing and amusing... I think this describes Monza perfectly.  All is bonza when in Monza!

No comments:

Post a Comment