As mentioned in our previous posts, we love motorsport. We made a point of staying at the old Fiat factory in Turin and go to Geneva regularly for the motor show. Staying in Milan meant one location was always on our radar, Monza.
The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a race circuit located near the city of Monza, a simple 30 minute train and bus ride from the centre of Milan. The circuit was built in 1922, famed for it’s steep corners (which aren’t used in the modern circuit as it would be far too dangerous!) and still to this day holds Italy’s biggest motorsport event, the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
After visiting the other famous banked circuit (although a testing track) on top of the old Fiat factory, we had to see it for ourselves.
How to get there:
You can take a 7-10 minute train from Milano Centrale to arrive in the centre of Monza. From here, you can take a cab, hire a bicycle or simply take a public bus to the circuit. On the route, you’ll pass the Royal Villa of Monza, which you should visit if you have time.
Was it busy:
Not at all. It was a gloriously sunny day but because the park is so large you barely encountered anyone. Saying that, you’ll find the random quadbike rider or family on a gentle cycle ride.
What did we see:
We walked through woodland for what seemed like 10 minutes before we came to an opening in a fence, which to be honest, didn’t make it feel like it was open. Taking the tunnel under the circuit, you arrive at the information hall, where you can get free maps and book yourself onto a tour around the circuit.
For those less able, you can book a ride in a minibus, but we decided to take the cycling option for 10EUR per person. These are at allocated time slots, which made for plenty of time to go and see the old circuit and a few key corners.
Another 15 minute walk away from the information centre and what seemed like walking into a small forest, you soon happen across a road of concrete. Turn and walk to your left and there it is, one of the steep banks of the old circuit… completely free and open for you to walk around. Of course, we had to climb to the top to take a look. Pictures do not do it justice, it is much steeper than it looks and quite nerve wracking to slide back down.
We decided to walk around the corner, following it round until we found the stands to the first chicane on the track. This was also completely open and free to go on, so we sat here to have some snacks and a drink as it was very sunny day, before walking through the dense woodland to get back for our cycling slot. On the route, you do find abandoned buildings which to me look like old toliets from the older race days.
Time for a cycle around the track. The guide suggests it’ll take 20 minutes, but if you’re a fan like us it’ll take you an hour at a gentle pace because you’ll want to stop to take plenty of photos en-route. It’s been a while since we were on bicycles so we definitely wanted to take our time.
Our guide was extremely knowledgable explaining where we were on the track in relation to Monza, the corner names, why they’re named as such, history of the track and any additional information. She also gave us as much time as we wanted to take pictures and videos.
After taking pictures on the finish line and pole position, we handed back our bicycles before heading back to the train station to catch our plane. What a perfect end to a trip.
It was really amazing for me to get a chance to walk around on one of my favourite F1 circuits. I spent some of my time there thinking about some of the past races and winners like Schumacher, Alonso and Barrichello racing in their Ferrari’s and the amazing celebrations from the fans that followed. Standing on the same stretch of tarmac really felt special to me. Cycling around the track was a great experience, it was nice and relaxed as the group was small and we didn’t feel pressured to hurry along, so we got all the photos we wanted. Cyling around makes you realise how narrow the track is in some places and how much the elevation changes so it also gave me a completely different perspective compared to seeing the track on TV. After this experience I hope one day I can get a chance to drive around the track!
What a great thing to do for the day and definitely an alternative to the standard tours of churches etc that you get in Milan. Compared to our other visits to race tracks in the UK, this one seemed completely open for exploring on your own with just access to the circuit itself at limits.
It was incredibly interesting to hear about the history of the circuit and more about it’s location. If we’re ever to be in the area again, I’d like to pay the Royal Villa a visit as well as having a look around town. If you’re in Milan, definitely go.
You can use your ATM tickets (the transport tickets from Milan) around Monza too.
To get to the Monza race circuit, take the bus z221. You can pick up the bus from the main road. As you exit Monza train station, this is up the stairs that you can see on the small hill in front of you.
Pay for the cycle hire and guide. It’s 10EUR per person and you can use the bike to cycle around the park afterwards. Just remember to return the bikes where you picked them up.
Access the Motor circuit from the top rather than the bottom. It’ll seem odd as you get off the bus and walk through a residential street, but this is the route used by those wanting to use the campsite. Take the gated doors on the right to access the grounds of the circuit.