Castello Sforzesco, Milan

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  • Castello Sforzesco
    by Gypsystravels
  • The Sforzesco Castle
    The Sforzesco Castle
    by IreneMcKay
  • The Sforzesco Castle
    The Sforzesco Castle
    by IreneMcKay
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    The Sforzesco Castle

    by IreneMcKay Written Jan 7, 2014

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    The Sforzesco Castle
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    I liked Milan Cathedral, but when I abandoned my attempt to go on the roof due to the queue, I re-entered the Duomo Square still holding the money for going on the roof, not very visibly, in my hand. The not very visibly did not deter someone from unsuccessfully trying to snatch it from my hand. This in turn caused me to want to get the hell out of there.

    The next two sights: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the La Scala Opera House did nothing for me and I was beginning to wonder if I would like anything at all in Milan when we arrived at The Sforzesco Castle. Suddenly life was good again. It's a beautiful ruin set in a wonderful park. I loved it. Outside the front of the castle there was a large fountain. Inside there were courtyards, museums, statues.

    We did not visit the museum. We just wandered around the courtyards. Then we explored the park, which I also loved with its statues, ornate bridges, aquarium, library and triumphal archway.

    In 1358 the first Duke of Milan built a fortress. In 1447, during military upheaval, the Milanese people destroyed it. Then military leader Francesco Sforza declared himself Duke of Milan and hurriedly rebuilt the castle. Later the castle was neglected and turned into a barracks.

    In 1861 the castle was in a sorry state and in danger of being demolished, but architect Luca Beltrami saved it by suggesting it was used as a public building.

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  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo

    Castello Sforzesco

    by Oleg_D. Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Present castle was built by Francesco Sforza in the mid of XV century. I always was puzzled why so well known and famous Condottiere built such outdated and old fashionable brick castle at the age of pretty much developed siege and field artillery? In fact present castle was the citadel or, let us say, huge mega keep encircled by quite modern outer curtain walls. Those walls were not very high but very thick and they were no vertical but built under certain angle causing the bouncing of cannon balls shot at them. Unfortunately those curtain walls haven’s survived until nowadays.
    Admission to castle itself is free. If you wish to visit the museums of castle then you are required to by a ticket. Price of the ticket is 3 Euros.

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    Castle Museums. Corte Ducale.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Majority of Sforza Castle Museums are situated in the Cortile Ducale or the Ducal Yard. There is also the very small medieval internal yard with fountain. The quality of masonry and mason work is stunning!
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday through Sunday
    9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (admission until 5 p.m.)

    closed on Mondays (holidays included)
    Closed on:
    December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday

    Full price ticket 3 Euros

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  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo

    Castle Museums. Cortile della Roccheta.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    This part of the castle was built by Donato Bramante. Archeological museum with its prehistoric artifacts and Egyptian collection is situated here. Here you can visit the museum of musical instruments and Marshal Trivulzio Library. There is Codex Trivulziano written by Leonardo Da Vinci in this library. Unfortunately it was too late and we failed to visit these museums in Cortile della Roccheta. We just photographed its yard.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday through Sunday
    9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (admission until 5 p.m.)

    closed on Mondays (holidays included)
    Closed on:
    December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday

    Full price ticket 3 Euros

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  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo

    Castle Museums. Upper Floor.

    by Oleg_D. Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Whole room with murals of XV century
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    At the upper floor you shall be able to observe frescos, chests, murals, sculptures, wood carvings, decorative arts, furniture and paintings of XV-XVIII century.
    If you like European culture then this is your place.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday through Sunday
    9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (admission until 5 p.m.)

    closed on Mondays (holidays included)
    Closed on:
    December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday

    Full price ticket 3 Euros

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  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo

    Castle Museums. Ground Floor.

    by Oleg_D. Written Dec 6, 2013

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    At the ground floor you shall be able to observe medieval sepulchers, statues, bas-reliefs, tapestries and stain glass windows. Most luxurious sepulcher of that museum belongs to Bernabo Visconti. That sepulcher was made by Bonino da Campione in 1363 when Bernabo was still alive and still the ruler of Milan. That’s why we can consider the equestrian statue of Bernabo as his portrait or some sort of medieval photography. If you like European culture then this is your place.

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  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo

    Castle Museums. Frescos.

    by Oleg_D. Written Dec 6, 2013

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    All ceilings in the museum of Castello Sforzesco painted with excellent frescos in XV century. These frescos are inspired by the Gospels and show the resurrection of Jesus Christ and sleepy guardians. So, don’t forget to look upward while visiting this place.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday through Sunday
    9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (admission until 5 p.m.)

    closed on Mondays (holidays included)
    Closed on:
    December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday

    Full price ticket 3 Euros

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    Castle Museums. Armory.

    by Oleg_D. Written Dec 5, 2013

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    Armory of the Castello Sforzesco is a part of its Museums and situated at the ground floor (first floor in my country). Although Milan was the greatest medieval industrial center producing arms and armor for all Europe there is no any single full suit of armor made earlier than XVI century in this museum. It is a pity because is you want to see the full suit of famous Milanese Armor you should go to Glasgow Museum. Anyway this Armory possesses some good armors produced in XVI-XVII centuries and several helmets of XV century. To my mind it is worth to visit.
    Visitors are allowed to take noncommercial photos without flash light and tripod.

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday through Sunday
    9 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (admission until 5 p.m.)

    closed on Mondays (holidays included)
    Closed on:
    December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday

    Full price ticket 3 Euros

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    Castllo Sforzesco: WIP 7/9/13

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jul 9, 2013

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    Castello Sforzesco
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    Castello Sforzesco is a large brick castle that has undergone many constructions and rebuildings over the last 700 plus years. Originally developed as a fortress to defend the city in the late 1300's it was significantly rebuilt by Frances Sforza around 1450. Sforza was the Duke of Milan and used the castle not only to fend off attacks from Venice but also as his private residence.

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  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo

    Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

    by TrendsetterME Written Jun 1, 2013
    Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy
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    After the Duomo, the "Castello Sforzesco" is Milan's main attraction - not least because of its 12 mini-museums and archives running all the way from Palaeolithic history through to 1950s furniture.

    It was home to the noble Visconti family from 1368, and restored to its original splendour by the equally aristocratic Sforzas in the 1450s, and the court gathered here a few decades later by Francesco's son, Ludovico 'il Moro', was regarded as one of Europe's most refined. Castle and court fell into decline in 1499, and Ludovico's game of playing off the French under Charles VIII against Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I ended in disaster and imprisonment in 1500.

    While Milan was bristling under French rule in the early 19th century, the castle's star-shaped bulwarks were knocked down. In the late 1800s there was much talk of demolishing the rest, but luckily for the city, architect Luca Beltrami fought to preserve it, coming up with the idea of headquartering Milan's various art collections here. From 1893 until 1904, Beltrami oversaw the castle's restoration, rearranging and rebuilding unashamedly; but it was his unorthodox efforts that saved the edifice from total oblivion. Coming to a spindly point above the façade is an early 20th-century recreation of a tower originally built by the 15th-century architect Antonio Averlino, dubbed Il Filarete (hence the tower's name, Torre del Filarete).

    Visitors enter via the enormous piazza d'Armi; gates lead into the Rocchetta (the oldest part of the castle, on the left), and into the Cortile (courtyard), where sculptures are often displayed, and Palazzo della Corte Ducale (on the right), in Renaissance style. The entrance to the Civici Musei collection of museums is here.

    Open Grounds 08:00am - 18:00pm daily, Museums 09.30am - 17:30pm Tuesday to Sunday.

    Admission Grounds free, Museums €3.-,
    free 14.30pm - 15.30pm Tuesday to Thursday,
    14:00pm - 17:30pm on Friday.

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    Great History and Art Museum

    by TexasDave Written Mar 18, 2013
    Fortress Entrance
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    This former palace/castle of the Sforza family houses a comprehensive collection of objects and artwork from roman times down to the 1800's. the original construction started in the 1300's but the present fortress was built in the mid 1400's.
    Among the outstanding exhibits are biblical-themed tapestries, weapons and armour, coins, medieval church carvings in wood and stone, furniture and objects d'art.
    The most famous piece is what is said to be the last sculpture of Michelangelo, in its half- finished state.

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    Museums of the Castello Sforzesco

    by basstbn Written Mar 16, 2013
    The Courtyard Leading to Museums Entrance
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    Confusing - I don't think I would be too far off base to label the organization of these museums confusing. We wandered around for quite some time not knowing for certain which of the museums we were visiting at the moment.

    However, having said that, I must say that the visit was memorable for quite another reason - the closeup views of Michelangelo's unfinished Rondanini Pietà in the Museum of Ancient Art. There was no crowd of visitors and no barriers to obstruct the view, as you can see by the attached photo of wife Nancy standing within a foot of the sculpture.

    Michelangelo passed away before finishing this work, evidenced by rough chisel marks and an extra arm which the artist was in the process of removing. Even so, it is clear that this Pietà would be far different from the elegant. world-famous version at the Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican. This finished sculpture would have been in the Mannerist style - more raw and emotional.

    I soon wearied of the museum wandering (this was only the third day of a five-week trip) so after taking a few minutes to quickly view the antique musical instruments, we moved on.

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    Castello Sforzesco

    by basstbn Updated Mar 16, 2013

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    Approaching the massive walls of the castle
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    In my pre-trip planning, I had not given a very high priority to the Sforza Castle, merely listed it as a nice thing to do if we had time. In retrospect, it was a VERY nice thing to do, highlighted by the opportunity for a close-up view Michelangelo's unfinished Rondanini Pietá.

    Our appointment to view The Last Supper was early in the morning, and having no set plans for the rest of the day, we then decided to check out the Sforza - about a fifteen minute walk away.

    This giant citadel resembles a fortress more than what most of us think of as a castle. Principle inhabitants through the centuries have been the Visconti and Sforza families. The interior of the castle now includes several museums and art galleries which are covered in separate tips.

    The former parade ground, located on what was once the country side of the castle, is now the small, but peaceful Parco Sempione (see separate tip), and from the front entry, the Torre del Filarete, you see the beginning of the Via Dante - Milan's premier pedestrian way (also a separate tip).

    A fine day for us: The Last Supper; Castello Sforzesco; a stroll up the Via Dante.

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    Castello Sforzesco

    by ettiewyn Updated Sep 16, 2012

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    Castello Sforzesco was the very last attraction we visited on our trip, and we did not have much time left before we had to leave. It was clear that we would not have time to visit the interior, and so I expected that we would only be able to see the outer walls of the palace - but no! We were surprised to experience that it was possible to walk into the inner courtyards of the palace, and to walk around there and enjoy its beauty, for free! Only access to the museums within the buildings costs an entrance fee.

    The palace was constructed in 1368 by the Visconti family, but it was almost completely destroyed in 1447. After that, it was rebuilt by the House of Sforza who in the meantime had become the Lords of Milan. During the renaissance, it became one of the most impressive and luxurious palaces in Italy, and Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked here. Some of the ceiling paintings he created in the rooms survive until today.
    During the 16th and 17th century, the Spanish ruled Milan, and Castello Sforzesco became a huge military fort, one of the biggest in Europe. It had the shape of a star, and more than 2000 soldiers were stationed here. It then went to the Austrians who used it as a military fort as well. During these times, the wonders of the palace decayed, as beautiful rooms were used as barracks, workshops or stables.
    In 1796, the palace was gained by Napoleon, and during the following years of military use, it decayed even further. When Napoleon was defeated in 1815, Milan became Austrian again, but in 1848, the palace came into possession of the City of Milan. After Italy 's unification, the restoration of the palace began, and it was finally opened to the public in 1900, showing its full glory after so many centuries.

    I found the palace very interesting from the outside, but walking around the inner courtyards, I liked it even more. Although there were many people here, it was a beautiful and peaceful place, and it was so nice to walk around and enjoy this fantastic building. It looked so gorgeous in the sunshine, and many people were relaxing here and enjoying it just as we did. We were surprised that this area was so spacious, and, as I said earlier, even more so that it was free to come here!

    Around the courtyards, there are the entrances to the different museums located in the palace, but we did not visit any of them. There are three museums here, showing ancient arts, arts and furniture from the 15th to the 20th century, and applied arts. I would of course like to visit them on a future trip, even if just to see the interior of the palace.

    If you are in this part of Milan, I think to see the palace is a must!

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Certainly Imposing!

    by johngayton Updated Jul 5, 2012

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    Main Entrance
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    This is probably Milan's second most visited tourist attraction (second to the Duomo) and certainly is an imposing building.

    The original castle was built between 1358 and 1368 by the Visconti family and came into the hands of the Sforza family through the marriage of Francesco to the last heir of the Viscontis, Bianca Maria in 1477.

    Francesco was a succesful general and was instrumental in the defeat of the Venetians after which he became the Duke of Milan. Francesco had the castle rebuilt between 1447 and 1450 and it was to be the seat of the Sforza family through the next two generations until Spanish domination in 1519.

    Despite their relatively short-lived tenure the name Sforza has become attached to the edifice and these days the restored castle is owned by the city, housing most of the municipal museums and galleries.

    Personally I just had a quick wander and took these few pics but had I had a bit more time I would have dropped into some of the exhibitions. It is quite a large complex and so a bit of pre-planning is recommended and the website below has comprehensive details regarding what's on offer, opening times, prices & etc.

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