Brianza (Lombard dialect: Briansa) is a subregion in the North-West of Lombardy, which encompasses the entire administrative area of the Province of Monza and Brianza, a part of the administrative areas of the Province of Lecco and Como and some municipalities of the administrative area of the Province of Milan.
The territory of Brianza can be divided into two subareas:
Brianza is a conglomerate of small towns, but the most important among them are:
The history of Brianza is ancient; the first settlements date back to the Celtic rule which, as all the later dominations, left traces in the cultural panorama of the place: traces that you will be able to recognize and admire while visiting the cultural attractions offered by this territory. In addition you should know that some famous Italian personalities are linked to Brianza, for istance: Cesare Cantù, Eugenio Corti, Piero Corti, Don Luigi Giussani, Ariberto da Intimiano, Giuseppe Parini, Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, Filippo Turati, papa Pio XI, Egidio Brugola and Lucio Battisti. In Brianza you can experience the connection between historical heritage and nature: thanks to this peculiarity the region is particularly inclined to eco-tourism. Any season is suitable to visit this territory: even in winter time you can appreciate beautiful landscapes. Generally it is characterized by a continental temperate climate, even though there is a slight difference between the Upper and Lower Brianza, because the second one is affected by Milan’s blanket of heat. The geographical, economical, social, cultural and linguistic features of this area play an important role in making it different from the other parts of Lombardy and its inhabitants strongly agree up to this point: as a matter of fact, the so called Brianzoli have a deep sense of belonging.
The main language spoken in Brianza is Italian, but there are still many proud Brianzoli, especially among old people, speaking a dialect of the Lombard language similar to the one of Milan. It has many local variants according to the town or subarea where it is spoken; for instance the one of Brugherio, called paltitt by the inhabitants of the Upper Brianza, the one of biutt e grass monsciash in Monza and the brianzeou, that is the most spread version of this dialect. In the upper Brianza the local dialect is affected by those of the surroundings of Lecco and Como. Today this local idiomatic characterization is becoming weaker and weaker, because of the arrival of immigrants from other parts of Italy and of the world into this wealthy area of Lombardy, which contributed to the creation of a little melting pot.
Thanks to its transport network Brianza is very easy to reach. You can travel to its different localities by train, by car and by bus. It is also well connected to the three airports of Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio. In particular the motorways and orbital roads which bring you there are:
If you prefer to travel by train the railway lines are the following:
Brianza is serviced by buses and trains (if you need some information about timetables, lines and fares, visit the websites: www.brianzatrasporti.it and www.trenord.it) . If you have time and endurance, you can also go around by foot and by bike along the cycling paths which pass through the parks and woods spread all over the area (mainly in the Upper Brianza) and connect different towns. While experiencing Brianza, a peculiar mean of transport that you should travel by is the ferry-boat which crosses the Adda river and connects Villa d’Adda and Imbersago. This is not a common ferry-boat, but actually it is the only one originally designed by Leonardo da Vinci that still operates regularly..
If you see Brianza with the eye of the tourist, you may discover how fascinating it can be. Its geography and history are two relevant features of the local tourism. You can enjoy a visit to one of the 49 ancient aristocratic villas situated here. Among them you should visit:
Via Borromeo, 12 – Cesano Maderno – tel 0362-513550 An imposing architectural complex of the middle of the XVII century surrounded by its huge park.
Piazza Trivulzio, 1 – Arcore – tel 039-634091 A noble residence of the XVI century in the countryside.
Via Giovanni Maria Lampugnani, 68 – Desio – tel 0362392240 One of the most monumental villas in Brianza , built in the XVIII century.
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 48 – Varedo An aristocratic heritage of the XVI century. Once in Brianza, why not pay a visit to its main city, Monza? Many cultural attractions await you. The most important ones are:
Viale Brianza,2 – Monza – tel 039-323222 Imposing neo-classical building used as the residence of the Austrian and then of the Italian monarchy.
Via Canonica, 8 – Monza – tel 039389420 The ancient VI century basilica linked to the Longobard domain with its museum.
Viale Brianza, 2 – Monza – tel 039-2304400 A museum focused on man’s intervention on the surrounding territory.
Via Vittorio Emanuele, 53 – Vimercate – tel 039-6659488
Via IV Novembre – Ronco Briantino – tel 039-6079023
Via IV Novembre, 20 – Giussano – tel 388-6042840
Via Marconi, 26 – Bovisio Masciago – tel 0362-593518
Here you can find some two-day itineraries based on the concept of eco-tourism: they should increase your awareness of the cultural assets and of the territory of this area.
For further information visit the website: www.visitbrianza.com.
In Brianza you can spend some time in challenging excursions through its parks and woods, which you can explore by foot or by bike (bike renting service is at your disposal in the major towns and cities). The main parks are:
Be aware that these aren't walled parks like Monza park, but rather protected countryside areas with open fields and woods.
Last Sunday in October Location: Parco di Villa Casati Info: Town Hall - Muggiò - 039 27091 - www.comune.muggio.mi.it
January 17th Location: Near the railway station Info: Associazione Festa di San Martino - www.biassono.org
Last week in May Location: Piazza della Conciliazione Info: Town Hall - Desio - 0362 620172 - www.comune.desio.mi.it
Last week in August Location: City center Info: Aicurzio Town Hall - 039 6900067 - www.comune.aicurzio.mi.it
Ten days in September in odd years Location: Historic Centre Oreno (part of Vimercate township)
Cuisine is an important cultural feature of Brianza as in the whole of Italy. It is similar to the one of Milan, but more basic thanks to its local agrarian tradition: its dishes derive from a mixture of plain ingredients associated with the simple way of life of the countryside. The main ingredient is pork: almost every single part of this animal is used for cooking, boiled, stewed, cured, generally served with polenta or other sauces. One of the most famous dish of traditional Brianza cuisine is cazzoeula, but when speaking about traditional dishes you have to keep in mind also buseca (the typical thick vegetable soup), el pan moijaa (a soup made with chopped lard and served with bread) and risotto alla monzese, the risotto with saffron and luganega (sausage) which for someone represents a sort of compromise between the cuisines of Monza and Milan. Among the traditional sweets the best-known cake is for sure the "torta paesana" (village cake) made with chocolate and pine nuts, but you can taste also San Gerardo biscuits and San Gerardo bread. In Brianza you can find all the kind of restaurants you prefer: there are pizzerias, typical Italian restaurants, but there is also a wide choice of ethnic restaurants, in case you are fond of ethnic food.
Brianza’s nightlife is mostly animated and trendy. In some localities, especially in the main cities (Seregno and Monza), you can find a remarkable number of pubs and discos. Moreover some municipalities organize the so called Notti bianche, which are shopping-dedicated nights with the majority of the shops open until late.
In Brianza you can find all the kind of accommodation you want, from luxury hotels to cheaper ones, agriturisms, B&Bs and guest houses. Some suggestions:
If you wish, you may visit some places of interest not too far away, for instance: