Comitato "La Villa Reale č anche mia" - tel +39 039 382147 +39 039 324204
In 1777 Maria Theresa, the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions, decided to entrust architect Giuseppe Piermarini with the construction of a palace for her son the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este, who was general ruler of Austrian Lombardy at the time. The place selected for the purpose was Monza.
Some 70,000 gold coins were allocated, then increased of another 35,000 in order to achieve the garden as well. This way, a country house turned out to be an actual royal house. Thanks to architect Piermarini’s expertise, the villa was completed in only three years work.
Archduke Ferdinand utilized the villa as country residence up to 1796, when Napoleon army chased the Habsburgs off. In 1805 the new viceroy of Italy, Eugčne de Beauharnais, took possession of the villa that, from then on, took the name of Villa Reale (royal villa). Soon after, thanks to a decree of Napoleon, some 750 hectares ground joined the whole of Villa Reale and Giardini, establishing the walled Parco di Monza. Architect Luigi Canonica designed this outstanding example of landscape design.
This way, a unique whole is created. In the XIX century maps it is called Imperial Regia Villa e Parco di Monza.
In 1818, after the Congress of Vienna, the whole goes back to the Habsburgs, and precisely to Archduke Rainier, viceroy of Regno Lombardo-Veneto (Lombardia and Veneto kingdom). He is to be mentioned due to the care he devoted to Giardini Reali and since he opened up the Parco to the public for the first time.
In 1859, when the Kingdom of Italy was established, Villa Reale and Parco di Monza went to the Savoys. Especially during the last years of 1800, this was a happy time for the whole. In fact, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were used to spend summertime there, entrusting architects Achille Majnoni d’Intignano and Luigi Tarantola with redecoration of many rooms.
On July 29, 1900, King Umberto I was murdered in Monza by anarchic Gaetano Bresci during a sporting event. As a consequence, new King Vittorio Emanuele III closed the Villa Reale down removing most furnishings that were transferred to Quirinale (former Kings residence, now seat of the President of Italian Republic). The Villa was neglected for one century, with uncertain destiny.
As as example, in 1922 a race track was built inside the park, spoiling wide valuable areas. In 1928, also a huge golf course was fit into the park, further jeopardizing the environment.
In 1934, King Vittorio Emanuele III donated most rooms of the Villa to Monza and Milan cities, keeping his father’s apartment in order to honour the memory of King Umberto I. After world war II, the Villa Reale suffered from additional occupations and plundering. When the Republic of Italy was created, the southern wing became heritage and, as such, it was administered by the State. The remaining portion is administered jointly by Monza City and Regione Lombardia.
At millenium end, some recovery initiatives took place, though affected by external interest. Regional Law no. 40 of 1995 introduced and partially implemented a plan to recover Parco di Monza, as a compensation for new cement inside the race track area. In 2009 the central building of the Villa was granted to private companies for restoration. After completion, the restoration resulted as affected by uncontrolled assignment to trade activities for the coming twenty years.
The Villa history evidences its priceless value as a place where European and Italian history developed in the last couple of centuries. The same as for the iron crown of Monza, representing a thousand-year-old heritage of Italy in Europe.
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