Sforzesco Castle is one of the main tourist attractions in Milan. Moreover, in the top of Italians’ list, it is the second most important landmark to visit after the Duomo. So, if you come to visit Milan, a visit to Sforzesco Castle should not be missed.
What should you know about Sforzescu Castle?
Castel Sforzesco is considered one of the largest castles in Europe, built by Francesco Sforza in the 15th century and was the main residence of the Dukes of Milan.
The Sforzesco Castle is built of red brick with high towers and defensive walls, which played an important role in Milanese history. The castle was almost completely destroyed in 1447, but rebuilt by the Sforza family as a royal residence. Over the centuries many architects and designers have been involved, including Leonardo da Vinci, who frescoed several rooms of the ducal apartment, of which the Sala delle Asse remains today.
In the 16th century the castle came under Spanish rule, who used it as a military fortress and equipped it with a new star defensive system designed by Vincenzo Seregni. The Sforzesco Castle retained its military purpose even under Habsburg and Napoleonic rule. However, Napoleon ordered the building’s destruction, in agreement with the Milanese population, who saw the castle as a symbol of centuries-old foreign tyranny.
But Castel Sforzesco survived the destruction and was restored at the beginning of the 20th century by the architect Luca Beltrami, giving it as original a look as possible. Today Castello Sforzesco houses some of Milan’s most important museums, including the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, the Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Art Library, the Historical Archives and the Trivulziana Library, the Bertarelli Print Collection.
The tallest tower of the Castle is the Torre del Filarete, which measures 70 metres and is the main entrance to the Castle, and there is a beautiful fountain next to it. The Clock Tower is decorated with a sculpture depicting King Umberto and the statue of St Ambrose.