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  • Milano
    Sforzesco Castle
  • Milano
    Sforzesco Castle

Sforzesco Castle. and Museums

Milano
Museums

 

Along with the Cathedral - Milan's most famous and much beloved monument - the big Castle is linked to the vicissitudes and dramatic events that the city has been experiencing over the past centuries. For many years, in fact, it has represented a symbol of the power in the hands of the Dukes, as well as of the foreign dominators. Only at the beginning of the 20th century the Castle assumed its distinctive role, becoming a place of culture, which hosted numerous Lombard art collections. The Castle was named after Francesco Sforza, who transformed it into a ducal residence in 1450. But its origins date back to the second half of the 14th century, at the time of Galeazzo II Visconti. 

 

THE FOUNDATION BY THE VISCONTI 

The old little fortress called 'di Porta Giovia' was built in the period from 1360 to 1370 along Milan's medieval walls, of which it includes the gate with the same name. Galeazzo II Visconti decided to have this fortress built basically as a defence. Then, his successors Gian Galeazzo and Filippo Maria went on with the building. In particular, the latter made the fortress his residence and arranged the great park in the northern area. The Visconti Castle had a square plan (180x180 meters). A tower was built in each corner.

The last descendant of the Visconti family, Filippo Maria, died in 1447. He had no legitimate heirs, so the citizens from Milan proclaimed the Republic. The fortress was demolished and its stones were used to restore the town walls.

 

THE CASTLE REBUILT 

Three years later, in 1450, general Francesco Sforza, a great leader who had married Bianca Maria Visconti, Filippo Maria's illegitimate child and sole heir, became Duke of Milan. The Castle was rebuilt upon the ancient foundations of the Visconti Castle. The new fortress appeared more refined thanks to the Filarete tower, which was placed at the entrance, and to the great round towers designed by architect Bartolomeo Gadio. 

 

THE DUKE'S RESIDENCE 

In 1466, Francesco Sforza's successor Galeazzo Maria transformed the courtyard inside the Castle facing the park into a luxury residence, which was named the Corte Ducale. Next to the Corte Ducale was a square-planned complex called the Rocchetta. Really a fortress inside the fortress, the Rocchetta was provided with a high tower called Torre di Bona. This tower was named after Bona di Savoia, Galeazzo Maria Sforza's widow. 

In the late XV century (from 1480 to 1500), Ludovico il Moro entrusted architect Donato Bramante and Leonardo Da Vinci with the building of a pretty little bridge overlooking the outer moat (the Ponticella) and the painting of the famous frescos on the walls inside the Sala delle Asse.

 

THE FRENCH DOMINATION 

During the French domination in the years that followed the fall of Ludovico il Moro (1499), the Castle survived delicate historical events: battles, occupations, sacking and destruction. In those years, the Filarete tower was used as an ammunition storage area. During a stormy night in 1521 a lightning rod hit the tower and made it explode causing casualties and damage to the whole structure.

 

THE SPANISH FORTIFICATION 

During the Spanish domination, which began in 1526, a star-shaped fortification was built around the Castle to make it impregnable, also because it was provided with supplies and fodder storage areas, as well as with a number of water wells. 

 

THE AUSTRIAN DOMINATION 

During the Austrian domination, which began in 1706 and lasted for about one century, the Castle was used for military purposes only. It saw several restorations until the assault by Napoleon's troops in 1796.

 

THE CASTLE CONQUERED BY NAPOLEON 

The assault by the Napoleon's army at the end of the 18th century caused severe damage to the old fortress, as the citizens from Milan mutilated its towers and the Sforza family coats of arms. Finally, Napoleon decided that the external structure of the building should be demolished and the Castle used to quarter the troops. The frescoed rooms at the ground floor of the Corte Ducale were even used as stables.

 

THE AUSTRIAN RESTORATION 

During the Restoration (from 1815 to 1859), the Castle was assaulted by the Milan citizens rebelling against the Austrian domination. 

 

THE CASTLE RESTORED 

With the Unification of Italy (1861), Milan and its Castle could recover the cultural and public function that has been characterizing the city until our days. Architect Luca Beltrami was entrusted with the reconstruction and restoration of the old fortress. What remained of the old fortifications outside the building was demolished, new moats were dug around the castle, the Rocchetta and the Boa tower were restored and the upper part of the round towers reconstructed. The Filarete tower was completely rebuilt and unveiled in 1905. The Castle was given back to the city of Milan and destined to house museums and libraries. 

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Sforzesco Castle

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How to reach the site

Piazza Castello - Milan

 

Underground: MM1 Cadorna, Cairoli - MM2 Cadorna, Lanza

Buses: 18,50,37,58,61,94

Trams: 1,2,4,12,14,19

 

 

Services and Accessibility

educational tours for groups
educational tours for schools
bookshop
cloak room
restaurant
coffe shop
accessible site

Admission for disabled (except for rooms 9,10-15-23,24)

 

 

Info and Reservation

+39 02 37902015

Sforzesco Castle
and Museums

Milano

Coopculture

Ticket Office

Tickets are not refundable and can be used for only one visit in each museum

Admission ticket

Full: € 5.00 euro

Reduced: € 3.00 euro

University students and academy of fine arts' students, adults over 65 years old, employees of the municipal administration

Others
  • Three-Day ticket
    € 12.00
    offers free admission to all the Civic Museums for 3 days. It is on sale online (without costs of presale) and at the ticket offices. 

Free:

Cards

MuseoCard (annual ticket)

€ 35.00

The card is an annual subscription to the network of civic museums is valid for one year from issue date; allows free entry to museums for one year and entitles you to several benefits: reduction exhibitions, planned activities, guided tours, audio guides, discounts on products for sale in the bookshop and much more. Museocard is for sale online (without presale costs) and at the ticket offices. The card is strictly personal and must be presented with proof of identity. 

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Sforzesco Castle
and Museums

Milano

Coopculture

Get ready for the visit

Didactic tours

Groups
  • SFORZESCO CASTEL OVER THE CENTURIES: HISTORY, ART AND ARCHITECTURE

    Duration: 90'

    Rates: per group € 120.00 in italian | € 135,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967450

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 

     

     

     

    MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS

    Duration: 90'

    Rates: per group € 120.00 in italian | € 135,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967450

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 

     

     

    THE BEST MONUMENTS OF MILAN

    Duration: 180'

    Rates: per group € 200.00 in italian | € 220,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967450

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 

     

Schools
  • SFORZESCO CASTEL OVER THE CENTURIES: HISTORY, ART AND ARCHITECTURE

    For Primary and Secondary School

    Duration: 90'

    Rates: per group € 85.00 in italian | € 100,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967200

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 

     

     

    MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS

    For Primary and Secondary School

    Duration: 90'

    Rates: per group € 85.00 in italian | € 100,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967200

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 

     

    THE BEST MONUMENTS OF MILAN

    For Primary and Secondary School

    Duration: 180'

    Rates: per group € 150.00 in italian | € 170,00 in other languages

    Reservation: +39 06 39967200

    Monday-Friday 9.00 - 13.00 | 14.00 - 17.00

    Saturday 9.00 - 14.00 


  • Educational activities:

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Sforzesco Castle
and Museums

Milano

Coopculture

Hours

Open

07.00 - 18.00

open daily (in winter) with free admission (except for castle museums)

07.00 - 19.00

open daily (in summer) with free admission (except for castle museums)

09.00 - 17.30

Castel Museums

Tuesday through Sunday 

Closed

on Mondays, December 25, January 1, May 1, Easter Monday 

Ticket Office

Last admission to Castel Museums at 5 p.m.

 

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