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Home> Destinations> Europe> Milan> See> Historical

Castello Sforzesco Sforza Castle

Updated: 2014-07-18 / (tourism.milan.it)

Photo from tourism.milan.it

Over the centuries, the castle has been a defence fortress, a residence, military barracks and the site of museums and cultural institutions; the transformations of one of the most representative and popular monuments of Milan have been various and complex.

The defensive nature of this conspicuous structure made it a target for many sieges, demolitions and successive reconstructions of some parts during the French, Spanish and Austrian domination.

The events of the castle unfold in the city’s wide window of history, beginning with the original nucleus of the castle, named Porta Giovia, that dated back to 1358-1368 in the times of Galeazzo II Visconti. He used the castle as his residence during his stays in Milan, but above all, he used it as a military garrison.

Filippo Maria Visconti made it his fixed residence, continuing with the consolidation and construction of a real fortalice. It was Francesco Sforza who, after becoming ruler of Milan in 1450, gave particular impetus to the reconstruction of the building that was gravely damaged between 1447 and 1450.

Today the castle is home to the Civic Museums and since 1896 it has hosted one of the vastest artistic collections in the city. Inside, the Museo d’Arte Antica (Museum of Ancient Art) is custodian to the last masterpiece of Michelangelo, the Pietà Rondanini. It also hosts the Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery), Raccolta di Mobili (Furniture Collection), with pieces from the 15th to the 19th century; the Rocchetta, where one can admire the Museo delle Arti Decorative (Museum of Decorative Arts), with its extremely vast collection of ceramics; the Oreficerie (Goldsmiths); one of the largest collection of musical instruments in Europe; the Arazzi Trivulzio (Trivulzio Tapestries); the Armeria (Armoury); the Museo della Preistoria e Protostoria (the Museum of

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