Castello Sforzesco, Home and Museums of the Sforza Family

  • 3 months   ago
Castello Sforzesco

The Castello Sforzesco in Milan is located a few steps from the center. Famous for hosting the Civic Museums including the Egyptian one and it can be visited for a fee. Guided tours are also held in its basements.It is one of the most impressive monuments in Milan, home to prestigious museums and a symbol of the history of the Milanese city.g

However, not everyone knows that towards the end of the nineteenth century it was even thought of demolishing it to build residential buildings in its place. On that occasion it was architect Luca Beltrami who also saved the facade of Palazzo Marino, the restoration of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the construction of Piazza Cordusio, who personally oversaw the renovation.

Looking at this majestic structure that stands in the center of the city, in Piazza Castello, it seems almost impossible to think that someone wanted to raze one of the most important testimonies of military architecture in all of Europe. At the time, the castle was actually quite different from what it looks like today: without the Filarete tower (which will be rebuilt by Beltrami), squat and considered a fortress against the city used by the invaders to control Milan. With the unification of Italy and after having removed the enemy troops, the Lombard capital began an important building development which, supported also by great intellectuals of the time, supported the increasingly pressing idea of breaking down the castle, a symbol of foreign domination. Fortunately, the story had a very different ending.

Damaged by the continuous attacks of enemy troops that also led to the destruction of the Filarete tower (a French soldier accidentally detonated a bomb after the tower had been used as an armory; for others it would have been lightning), Francesco II ° Sforza he ordered a new renovation dedicating part of the building to his wife Cristina of Denmark.

The fortification wall that can be seen today is the oldest, built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with a square plan that ends on the sides with 4 towers: the south and east ones have a cylindrical shape while to the north and west (towards the park) they are square and known as Falconiera and Castellana. The highest central tower is that of Filarete which rises massive above the walls and is made up of three elevations with arches and battlements. Main entrance to the castle, it is preceded by a bridge and has a beautiful bas-relief depicting Umberto I on horseback.

The rear facade of the building is divided by the Porta del Barco, the area of the Sempione park once used as a hunting reserve. Still visible is the Ponticella of Ludovico il Moro, a bridge that connected the ducal apartments to the external walls today, the latter, no longer present.

To form the Sforza residence there is also the Rocchetta, with its 5 floors, which has always been considered the most impregnable part of the structure: to defend it the Bona di Savoia towers built in 1477 and that of the Castellana where the treasure was also kept.

The ducal court, which has a U-shape, is located in the north part of the castle and is characterized by the Portico dell'Elefante with stone columns and a fresco, now no longer clearly visible, which portrays animals including the pachyderm from which it takes the name. To access the second floor, go up a staircase made with low-rise steps so that it can also be traveled by horses. Here you can admire the elegant Loggia di Galeazzo Maria.

Sforzesco Castle can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 7 am to 6 pm when standard time is in effect and from 7 am to 7 pm with daylight saving time. The museums and the ticket office are open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 17.30 with last admission at 17. Closed on Mondays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st and Easter Monday.

Museum opening hours: Ancient Art, Sala delle Asse-Leonardo da Vinci, Armory, Furniture and Wooden Sculptures, Pinacoteca, Pietà Rondanini-Michelangelo and Archaeological Museum-Section of Prehistory and Protohistory and Egyptian Section from 9 to 17.30; Museum of Decorative Arts and Museum of Musical Instruments from 9 to 13 and from 14 to 17.30.

Entrance tickets: Full 5.00 Euros; reduced 3.00 Euro; MuseumCard 35.00 Euro; cumulative ticket 12.00 Euro. Free admission every Tuesday from 2.00 pm while from Wednesday to Sunday from 4.30 pm.

To reach the Sforzesco Castle: By underground line 1 (red) which stops in Cairoli in front of the main entrance or alternatively line 2 (green) using the Lanza or Cadorna stops located near the secondary entrances. By train Milano Cadorna station which is 200 meters from the castle (after exiting the station, cross the square and take Via Minghetti on the left which leads to the castle); from Milano Porta Garibaldi or Milano Centrale you can take the metro line 2 towards Abbiategrasso / Assago Forum and then get off at Cadorna or Lanza; from Milan Porta Genova you can use line 2 towards Gessate / Cologno and always get off at the same stops Cadorna and Lanza. For those coming by car, it is advisable to park near the underground and to continue towards the castle with one of the lines that reach it.