The group boarded the Cazzaniga bus for the 30-minute ride to Monza on a beautiful October day. The group walked through the town square to the cathedral, which houses the iron crown of Lombardy, made in the early middle ages and said to include a nail from the cross of Jesus. Among the many emperors crowned with it over the years was Napoleon, in 1805.
The visit continued at the 18th century Royal Villa of Monza (the Palazzo Reale), originally built for King Ferdinand of Austria when that part of Italy, Lombardy, was part of the Austrian Empire.
There was a fascinating exhibit of Italian high fashion from 1945 through 1968 in one of the exhibition halls of the villa.
The group then visited some other parts of the villa, including an exhibition of Italian design in the “attic.” The workmanship through is quite magnificent.
Upon return to the villa, various members of the group walked around in the beautiful late afternoon sun and captured a few lovely photos on the grounds.
Cocktails (usually the classic Italian Negroni) go very nicely with a game of bocce and it has become a bit of a tradition for visitors to enjoy bocce and a Negroni at some point during the week.
The south terrace outside the kitchen is an ideal spot for gathering and for group photos.
Most dinners during the week are in the beautiful dining room of the villa but the group did venture out to the nearby Giovanna Passeri to enjoy local food prepared beautifully with ingredients from her own garden.