Getting to know Brianza, a short guide in 7 questions

Short guide to discover Brianza, a pocket of Italy with ancient history. Who originally inhabited this area? What are its cultural, landscape and food and wine beauties? What is the best time to visit? How do you get to Brianza? All the answers in this study.

Rich in history, culture and wonderful landscapes, Brianza is a true jewel of northern Italy , a fascinating place that deserves to be discovered. In every season, Brianza is ready to welcome Italian and foreign tourists, to give them a journey in which art and nature, tradition and future, beauty and taste mix . Here is a short guide designed for those who are planning a trip to Brianza and would like to know something more.

What is Brianza and where is it located?

Brianza is a geographical area located in northern Italy, between the cities of Milan, Como, Lecco and Bergamo . It is known above all for its fascinating hilly landscape , rich in greenery and populated by small lakes, woods and agricultural areas. It is not the landscape alone, however, that exhausts the potential of Brianza, which over the years has also established itself as an important industrial district , crossed as it is by a dense network of small and medium-sized businesses, active above all in the furniture and fashion sectors. . Not to mention the historical and cultural richness of this region, which houses many sites of artistic and architectural interest, as well as well-rooted local traditions.

Wanting to draw more precise boundaries of Brianza , it is possible to identify them as follows, referring to the oldest delimitation (attributed to the essayist Ignazio Cantù):

  • to the north, the Vallategna waterfall;
  • to the south, the northern walls of Monza;
  • to the east, Lake Garlate, Lake Olginate and the Adda river;
  • to the west, the Seveso river.

Internally, Brianza can be further divided into three areas :

  • the Upper Brianza of Como;
  • the Upper Brianza area of ​​Lecco;
  • Lower Brianza.

What are the main cities of Brianza?

As mentioned, Brianza is dotted with cities and towns of great importance, as well as numerous sites of archaeological, historical and cultural interest. Among the most important population centers are:

  • Monza . Capital of the province of Monza and Brianza, it is a city with an ancient and glorious history and a vast cultural heritage. It is famous, among other things, for the Autodromo Nazionale, home of the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and for the Villa Reale, an architectural jewel that rivals the Royal Palace of Caserta and that of Versailles.
  • Lecco . Located on the shores of Lake Como, it is known for its splendid mountain landscape which inspired Alessandro Manzoni in his novel “I Promessi Sposi”. It is also an important center for the metallurgical and mechanical industries.
  • How . Although only part of the city extends into Brianza, it is a point of reference for the region thanks to its world-famous lake and its silk industry.

To these three pearls are added many others, among which the municipalities of Seregno , famous for the production of wood and furniture, Lissone , a design and furniture hub, Cesano Maderno , a true architectural jewel, and Cantù , deserve mention. also known for its basketball team.

What are the origins of the Brianza hill?

The hills of Brianza , which enchant many tourists, are the result of a set of extremely old geological processes. It is estimated, in fact, that their origin dates back to the period between the Tertiary and Quaternary, approximately from 66 million to 2.6 million years ago . In particular, during the Tertiary period, Brianza underwent an uplift due to the tectonic pressures associated with the collision between the African and European plates. Thus the pre-Alps but also the hills of Brianza were formed. Subsequently, the erosion of the rocks and the deposition of sediments transported by the waterways further shaped the landscape, creating the soft hilly shapes typical of this area.

What are the main elements of the history and culture of Brianza?

To know and briefly retrace the history of Brianza, it is useful to start from the etymology of its name , which reveals its origins. According to the most accredited reconstruction, in fact, Brianza derives from brig , which in the Celtic language means hill . Another hypothesis, however, connects the name of the region to that of Brianteo, general of the troops of Belloveso, king of the Gauls and legendary founder of Milan, according to Livy. Whatever the truth, the data that emerges from these two possible reconstructions is that already in pre-Roman times , Brianza was a lively and growing territory , in which the first cultural manifestations are closely linked to the presence of peoples from Northern Europe. The golden period of this area, however, coincides with the Middle Ages and the domination of the Lombards, who proved to be very linked to Brianza. Above all, the figure of Queen Teodolinda, which gave great prestige to the city of Monza, where the famous one is still kept Iron Crown (which is located inside the Monza Cathedral Museum), in which a nail from the cross of Christ is set and with which the Kings of Italy were crowned for many years. The Renaissance period, however, can be attributed to the flourishing of the numerous Villas of Delizia , i.e. the summer homes of the most prominent noble families that characterize this area and are today an unmissable tourist attraction.

What to see and what to do in Brianza

What are the typical dishes of Brianza?

The food and wine tradition of Brianza cuisine reflects the characteristics of the landscape and society: a rural area characterized by rolling hills and numerous lakes. The result is a poor but substantial cuisine . The recurring and distinctive elements in Brianza dishes are undoubtedly rice , polenta and pork . Very tasty, for example, is the risotto with luganega , a particular sausage typical of the area, recognizable by its thin and elongated appearance. Another undisputed queen of Brianza tables is cassoeula , a dish obtained by assembling the less noble parts of the pig, combined with stewed vegetables and polenta. How can we not mention a whole series of dishes with a long tradition: rusticiada (pork stew), panmoijaa (soup with lard and bacon), minestrone Brianza (with rice, cabbage, lard, beans and potatoes) and Tripe . Among the desserts, the San Gerardo bread stands out, named after the co-patron saint of Monza: made with sugar, honey, fruit, sultanas, almonds and candied chestnuts.

What to eat in Monza?

What is the best time to visit Brianza?

Brianza is ready to welcome tourists throughout the year , offering different leisure opportunities in different seasons, mixing art, culture and nature. Spring and autumn are certainly the most suitable seasons , because they are characterized by mild temperatures and nature that shows itself in all its splendor. Even in summer, however, the temperatures remain pleasant and the entire Brianza area is filled with traditional events, festivals of various kinds and popular initiatives. Finally, winter is perfect for those who love more intimate atmospheres and are not afraid of cold temperatures. In this season, in fact, many sites of cultural interest can still be visited but much less crowded than at other times.

How to get to Brianza?

Getting to Brianza is relatively simple , given its proximity to Milan and its good connection with other parts of Lombardy.

For those traveling by car , it is possible to use the A4 motorway (Milan-Brescia) or the A8/A9 motorway (if you come from above Varese or Como). Then there are numerous provincial and regional roads that offer easy access to many of the cities and towns of Brianza.

Another possibility is the train , given that the area is also served by several railway lines . The main stations are those of Monza, Lecco and Como. All these cities are easily reachable from Milan with regional trains that depart frequently from the Central Station. Therefore it is possible to use the Lombard capital as a bridge to access Brianza. Furthermore, from Monza station it is possible to take local buses or trains that allow you to reach other Brianza destinations.

Finally, for international visitors or those coming from more distant areas of Italy, the plane option is available. The closest airport is Milan Linate, followed by Milan Malpensa and Bergamo Orio al Serio. From these airports, you can then rent a car or take a train or bus to reach Brianza.

Are you in Brianza? Come and discover the Monza National Autodrome