1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Monza

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MONZA (locally Monscia), a city of Lombardy, Italy, in the province of Milan, 8 m. by rail N.N.E. of that city, with which it is also connected by both steam and electric trams. It lies on the Lambro, a tributary of the Po, 532 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1906), 32,000 (town); 53,330 (commune). Of the medieval fortifications little remains save the Porta d'Agrate. Near it is the nunnery in which the nun of Monza (see Manzoni's Promessi sposi) was enclosed. The cathedral of St John Baptist is the principal object of interest; Theodelinda's basilica of 590 was enlarged at the close of the 13th century by throwing the atrium into the main building, and the present fine black-and-white marble facade was erected about the middle of the 14th by Matteo da Campione, and restored in 1899–1901. On the left-hand side of the front rises an incongruous brick-built tower, 278 ft. high, erected by Pellegrini in 1592–1606. Within the church are the iron crown of Lombardy, supposed to have been beaten out of one of the nails used at the Crucifixion, and the treasury containing the relics of Theodelinda, comprising her crown, fan and comb of gold, and the golden hen and seven chickens, representing Lombardy and her seven provinces, and crosses, reliquaries, &c., of the Lombard and Gothic periods. The interior has been modernized; there is a fine relief by Matteo da Campione in the organ-loft, representing the coronation of a king, and some 15th-century frescoes with scenes from the life of Theodelinda. Next to the cathedral in artistic importance come the church of Santa Maria in Istrada, and the broletto or old palace of the commune, usually styled the Arengario; the former (founded in 1357) has a rich terra-cotta facade of 1393, and the latter is raised on a system of pointed arches, and has a tall square tower terminating in machicolations surrounding a sharp central cone. The royal palace of Monza (built in 1777 for the archduke Ferdinand) lies not far from the town on the banks of the Lambro. Cotton goods and felt hats are the staple products of the flourishing Monza industry; then dyeing, organ-building, and a publishing trade.

Monza (anc. Modicia) was not a place of consequence till it attracted the eye of Theodoric; and its first important associations are with Theodelinda. During the period of the republics Monza was sometimes independent, sometimes subject to Milan. The Visconti, who ultimately became masters of the city, built a castle in 1325 on the sitenow occupied by the Palazzo Durini. In the course of its history Monza stood thirty-two sieges, and was repeatedly plundered—notably by the forces of Charles V. The countship (1499–1796) was purchased in 1546 by the wealthy banker Durini, and remained in his family till the Revolution. At Monza King Humbert was assassinated on the 29th of July 1900.