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Corona Ferrea (Iron Crown of Lombardy) in Monza

In the Cathedral of Monza magnificent treasures and jewels are kept, among them the ancient Iron Crown, one of the most important objects of Italian goldsmith art, formed by six rectangular gold plates joined together by hinges, adorned with 46 gems set in a sophisticated floral frame of enamelled gold.
Corona Ferrea (Iron Crown of Lombardy) in Monza
Inside the crown there is a thin hoop of iron which is said to have been forged with one of the nails of the crucifixion of Jesus.
According to the legend the crown goes back to the time of Theodolinda, Queen of the Lombards and Queen of Italy (Ratisbona? 570 - Monza, 22 January 627 AD), who saw in a dream a dove that told her "Modo" (Now), and she replied "Etiam" (Yes): from the two words "Modoetia" was originated, the Latin name of Monza. The Queen ordered a church dedicated to John the Baptist to be built in the place where she had dreamed of the dove.

The "Corona ferrea" was used to crown kings and emperors, among them Charlemagne, Otto I, Berengar in 888, Henry IV in 1081, Frederick I Barbarossa in 1158, Henry VII in 1311, Charles V in 1530, Napoleon I in 1805, and Ferdinand I of Austria in 1838. Brought to Vienna in 1859, it was returned to Italy in 1866 and kept in the chapel of Theodelinda in Monza. Napoleon Bonaparte, who placed it on his head himself, uttered the famous phrase: "Dieu me la donne, gare à qui la touche" (=God gives it to me, beware whoever touches it).

The video is a creation of the Italian Ministry of Tourism [You Tube channel: JoinItaly].

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0:07
Nella sua splendida cattedrale, antica ed imponente, Monza conserva gelosamente tesori d'arte e gioielli di valore inestimabile, che risalgono all'Alto Medioevo, e che ci aiutano a capire un capitolo importante, assai poco conosciuto, della storia italiana.
In its splendid, ancient, imposing cathedral, Monza jealously preserves art treasures and jewels of inestimable value, which date back to the Early Middle Ages, and which help us to understand an important, very little known chapter in Italian history.
0:25
Ne è protagonista Teodolinda, la leggendaria regina dei Longobardi, una donna che ha dominato il suo tempo.
The protagonist is Theodolinda, the legendary queen of the Lombards, a woman who dominated her time.
0:36
Durante una partita di caccia, a nord di Milano, in una zona boscosa, lungo il fiume Lambro, la regina si siede per riposare, si addormenta e una colomba le appare in sogno.
During a hunt, north of Milan, in a wooded area along the river Lambro, the queen sat down to rest, fell asleep and a dove appeared in her dream.
0:50
Come si può vedere in questo affresco, questa colomba rivolge una parola alla regina, le dice: "modo" cioè ora, adesso.
As you can see in this fresco, this dove addresses a word to the Queen, it says to her "modo", that is "now".
0:58
La regina risponde "etiam" cioè va bene, d'accordo. Da questo brevissimo dialogo nasce la parola "modo etia", che è la parola latina della città di Monza.
The queen answered "etiam", that is "fine, I agree". From this brief dialogue comes the word "Modoetia" which is the Latin name of the city of Monza.
1:14
Nel luogo indicato dalla colomba, Teodolinda fa costruire una chiesa dedicata a Giovanni Battista. Qui verrà edificata a partire dal 1300 la grande basilica, nella quale oggi possiamo ammirare una delle più preziose e rare collezioni al mondo di reliquie e di oreficerie dell'alto medioevo.
In the place indicated by the dove, Theodolinda ordered to build a church dedicated to John the Baptist. Here starting from the 14th century, they were to build the great basilica, where today we can admire one of the most precious and rare collections in the world of medieval jewelry and relics.
2:12
Ma è proprio nella cappella di Teodolinda che possiamo scoprire la più ambita e celebre tra le oreficerie del tesoro del Duomo di Monza.
But it is precisely in the Chapel of Theodelinda that we can discover the most famous and sought-after jewelry in the Treasure of the Cathedral of Monza.
2:19
Stiamo aprendo lo scrigno che conserva uno degli oggetti più importanti di tutta la storia dell'oreficeria italiana. Siamo davanti alla Corona Ferrea.
We are opening the box which preserves one of the most important objects in the entire history of Italian goldsmith's art. We are in front of the Iron Crown.
2:37
Questa corona era originariamente in realtà un oggetto votivo poiché si ritiene che il cerchio di metallo fissato all'interno del diadema provenga dai chiodi della croce di Cristo.
This crown was originally actually a votive object, because it is believed that the metal hoop fixed to the inside of the crown comes from the nails of the cross of Christ.
2:48
Nel tempo, fino al XIX secolo, è divenuto oggetto di legittimazione - per così dire - divina di quelli che, a vario titolo, sono stati incoronati re d'Italia.
Through time, until the 19th century, it became the object of divine legitimacy - so to speak -of those who, for various reasons, were crowned kings of Italy.
2:59
Con qualche difficoltà per le teste regali, viste le dimensioni ridotte della corona. Napoleone la tenne sospesa sulla testa, con le sue mani, ma ciò non gli impedì di pronunciare la celebre frase: "Dio me l'ha data, guai a chi me la tocca."
With some difficulty for the royal heads, given the small size of the crown. Napoleon held it over his head with his hands, but that did not stop him from pronouncing the famous phrase: "God gives it to me, beware whoever touches it."