// Attraction

20.11.2014 Castello Sforzesco visit – free!

How is that, there is no castle in Milan? Of course there is a castle and what a castle it is – Castello Sforzesco, flower and pride of Milan, one of its main symbols and sightseeing attractions, second in popularity to probably Duomo only.

Castello Sforzesco visit – free

But this was not always the case. Castello Sforzesco construction started in the 14th century. Initially the castle presented a quadrangle provided with a spacious courtyard and internal buildings. Gradually the castle was building out and fortifying turning into a massive defensive fortress. In 1450 during unrest and power shift in Milan the government of the newly-born Ambrosian Republic demanded demolition of the castle as a symbol of the hateful previous ruling, but new Duke and Lord of Milan, Francesco Sforza (the castle is named exactly after him), proved himself to be a very wise person: he didn’t only destroy the fortress, but also ordered to reinstate what was left after demolition. This is where Castello Sforzesco widening and decoration story begins becoming eventually one of the most luxurious castles in all North Italy. The castle reached its fullest flourishing under Ludovico il Moro who called Leonardo da Vinci himself to decorate the castle and another famous architect and artist, Donato Bramante.

Castello Sforzesco visit – free

But the peace time didn’t last long and in 1499 Castello Sforzesco was occupied by the French Army. No need to trouble you with long historical details, I’m going to tell you one thing – after the French the castle was occupied by the Spaniards, then the Austrians, later Napoleon steadily turning the castle into a barrack not contributing to its beauty and magnificence at all. By 1880 Castello Sforzesco reached such a miserable condition that it was about to be demolished again in dead earnest, but fortunately enough the castle was lucky again – the government of Milan that time approved the restoration project. In 1893 the restoration work started under supervision of architect, Luca Beltrami, who did his best: the eight year work outcome was smashing! Milan acquired one’s own castle at last – one’s own symbol and pride which Castello Sforzesco is to the present day.

Castello Sforzesco visit – free

What is worth noticing: Filarete tower – was constructed in the 15th century as per the design by Florentine architect, Filarete (a named after him), but upon construction completion on June 23, 1521 the powder stored underneath the tower exploded and completely destroyed it. During the castle restoration work tireless architect Luca Beltrami fully restored it and moreover in its original form. This is a 70 m high quadrangular tower; there is the statue of Saint Ambrose, Patron of Milan, right underneath the first tooth ornament and above it there is the tower clock.

Does it resemble you anything? Yes, the towers of the Moscow Kremlin. I am not going to insist Castello Sforzesco is a true prototype, but they really look alike!

Castello Sforzesco visit – free

Wedding Cake fountain or the way the Milanese call it “Torta di Spùs” located right in front of Filarete tower – is another sightseeing attraction of Milan. A tip to all romantic person seeking a soulmate: throwing a coin or two into the fountain will bring you luck in matter of the heart, and who knows may be you will be lucky right nearby the fountain.smileywink

Castello Sforzesco visit – free

What you can do on your own: Castello Sforzesco visit – free (great, isn’t it?), but I strongly recommend visiting the castle museums as well. The fee is €5 and free for kids under 18 years old (!) and free for all on each Tuesday from 14.00. The day off is Monday. The entrance fee includes visiting all museums, you just smoothly leave one museum and enter next one. Apart from the amazing works of art – paintings, tapestries, medieval armor and so on, everything is very interesting and beautiful, you will be able to see the two authentic Egyptian mummies. Sure enough you won’t call them beautiful, but my kids were lost in admiration, moreover Russia can’t boast mummies as far as I know. So, this will be interesting!

How you can get there: you can walk from Duomo with little effort along the marvelous Dante street or by the underground (red line М1 to Cairoli station), and there are so many trams and buses taking you to the place.

I thank my super-brother Alexey for the professional English translation.


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