The Italian city of Monza isn’t usually on any tourist or expat must-see list…but it should be. It has all the charm of Italy, beautiful architecture, and great food.
When I moved to Italy from the Midwest of the United States, I wanted a place that was charming, but that also had the amenities I’d need and wouldn’t put a strain on my finances. Luckily for me, Monza ticked all the boxes.
It’s big enough to have its own major hospital, as well as some of the region’s best doctors, lawyers, and chefs. It also has excellent shopping and dining. I can get an aperitivo for $7.50 (while Milan has hiked up its cocktail prices to nearly $10 a cocktail) and an entire pizza for around $10. I can choose to go all out at a fancy restaurant or stop for a simple focaccia lunch for less than $2.
Monza was used as a country residence for the Italian Royal Family in the 19th century, with the impressive Villa Reale their palace of choice.
Behind the palace is the enormous Parco di Monza. Expanding over 1,700 acres, it’s one of the biggest city parks, and the fourth largest walled-in park, in Europe. It’s the perfect place for peaceful walks through the oak lined lanes, open fields, and river paths throughout the park. Though the park is my refuge, it’s most famous as home to the Formula One Autodromo…a Formula One race has been held here every year since 1950.
Despite the glitz and glamor the Formula One brings to Monza it’s still an affordable place to live. A bright, one-bedroom apartment with two balconies in Monza will run you around $695 a month, including utilities and a parking space.
My spare time here is spent running, picnicking in the park, or taking a cue from the locals and loading up the car to drive just two hours north to the mountains, two hours east or west to the sea, or just a couple of hours south to explore the rolling hills of Tuscany.
A smaller community in Monza has made it easier for me to get to know my neighbors, learn the local language, and carve out a space for myself. Moving abroad means creating a new home in an unfamiliar environment, but when I moved here I was quickly able to find a hairstylist, a doctor and a pub filled with friendly people. It was a place I felt welcomed.
Italy is a highly affordable place to live…you just have to know where to go. Living in Monza has given me the Italian lifestyle I’d always dreamed of…and has helped me afford to live it to the fullest.
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