Castello Sforzesco Milano. One of the main symbols of Milan and its history. It was built in the fifteenth century by Francesco Sforza, recently became Duke of Milan, on the remains of a previous fortification dating back to the fourteenth century known as Castrum Porte Jovis (Castle of Porta Giovia or Zobia). Over the centuries it has undergone significant transformations. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was one of the main military citadels in Europe. Restored in historicist style by Luca Beltrami between 1890 and 1905. Now it is home to important cultural institutions and tourist destination. It is one of the largest castles in Europe.
Castello Sforzesco Milano – History
The construction of a fortification with defensive functions was started in the second half of the fourteenth century by the Visconti dynasty. In 1354 the archbishop Giovanni Visconti, dying, bequeathed the duchy to the three nephews Matteo II, Galeazzo II and Bernabò. Between 1360 and 1370 Galeazzo Visconti built a fortification called Castello di Porta Giovia, named after the ancient entrance to the walls of the Roman walls dedicated to Jupiter.
The building was enlarged by its successors. Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who became the first Duke of Milan in 1395. Giovanni Maria and Filippo Maria. The result is a square-plan castle with 200 meters long sides. Four towers at the corners, two of which facing the city with 7 meter thick perimeter walls. The building thus became a permanent home of the Visconti dynasty which was then destroyed in 1447.
It was the captain of fortune Francesco I Sforza who began its reconstruction in 1450 to make it his residence. Not being of noble origins, and not having its own blazon, kept as a coat of arms of the Visconti Viper. In 1452 Filarete was hired for the construction and decoration of the median tower. At the death of Francesco, his son Galeazzo Maria had the work continued by the architect Benedetto Ferrini. In these years a great campaign of frescoes of the rooms of the ducal court was started. During 1476, under the regency of Bona di Savoia, the homonymous tower was built.
In 1494 Ludovico il Moro came to power and the castle became home to one of the richest and richest courts in Europe. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci (who frescoed several rooms of the ducal apartment) and Bramante were called to work. Of Leonardo, in particular, is the painting of Intrecci vegetal with fruits and monochromes of roots and rocks in the Sala delle Asse, of 1498.
Castello Sforzesco Milano – XXth Century
In the years to follow the castle was damaged by the continuous attacks that French, Milanese and Germanic troops exchanged. An elongated bulwark was added called “tenaglia” which gives its name to the nearby gate and perhaps designed by Cesare Cesariano, but in 1521 the Torre del Filarete exploded, because a French soldier accidentally exploded a bomb after the tower was used as an armory . Returning to power and the castle, Francesco II Sforza restructured and expanded the fortress, taking a part of it to the sumptuous residence of his wife Christina of Denmark.
During the twentieth century the castle was damaged and renovated after the Second World War; in the nineties it was built in the castle square a large fountain inspired by a previously installed on site that was dismantled in the sixties during the construction of the first subway line and no more remittance after the end of the works.
In 2005 the last restoration of courtyards and halls was completed.
Castello Sforzesco Milano – Address
Piazza Castello – Milano
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