Carate Brianza

Carate Brianza is a small hill town, of ancient origin. It lies about 14 kilometres north of Monza at an altitude between 215 and 229 metres a.s.l. It is part of the Regional Park of the Lambro Valley, the river flowing to the east of the town.

To the north of Carate is the district of Agliate, once much more important than Carate itself, and connected to it by a bridge over the river Lambro. Carate's strategic position on the confluence of various roads, particularly the road between Milan and Como, made it a favourable place for settlement since Neolithic times.

Attributed to that time is an erratic boulder with cup-and-ring marks of various sizes. According to a legend, the bell tower of the church of Santi Ambrogio e Simpliciano was built by order of Queen Theodelinda.

It is known for certain that Carate, which was becoming quite important in the upper Milan area, had a defence system centred on the castrum built on the site of the present Villa Cusani Confalonieri. 

Another castrum stood on the hill to the south of Costa Lambro and yet another, according to the most recent studies, known as “Albogaxium”, can be identified as the hill of Beldosso.

The Romanesque basilica of Agliate was founded in the 9th-10th century, according to tradition by order of the archbishop of Milan, Ansperto da Biassono. The basilica, dedicated to the saints Peter and Paul, became the baptismal church of the parish of Agliate, which counted as many as 21 churches. As regards toponymy, some believe that the name Carate derives from the Roman proper noun "Carus", while others favour the term "centuria quadrata" used by Roman land surveyors. Some finds from the Roman period have been discovered especially in the vicinity of the Agliate district.