The Sforza Castle is a castle in the city center and one of Milan’s most important buildings.
It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remains of a 14th-century fortification, originally composed by four walls, and a square tower at each corner.
In 1452 the architect Filarete designed and decorated the central tower, which is still known as Torre del Filarete.
In 1494 Ludovico Sforza became lord of Milan (nicknamed ‘Il Moro’) and the castle was transformed in a magnificent Renaissance residence. He called famous artists to decorate the castle: Leonardo da Vinci (who frescoed many rooms, for example the Sala dell’Asse) and Bramante, who painted frescoes in the Sala del Tesoro.
The Torre del Filarete, that was used as a munition storage, exploded in 1521.
During the sixteenth century, the Spanish added star-shaped (an hexagon) fortifications around the castle, later partially demolished by Napoleon’s troops.
After the unification of Italy in the 19th century, the Parco Sempione, one of the largest parks in the city, was created on the grounds behind it.
The castle, very damaged, was rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905: he also rebuilt the Torre del Filarete using the original plans.
The present castle, with a square plan and three inner courtyards, is dominated by its towers. There are four towers at each corner: two round towers in the main façade (Torre di Santo Spirito and Torre del Carmine) and two square towers at the other side (Torre Castellana and Torre Falconiera).
The main entrance to the Sforzesco Castle has the tower called “Torre del Filarete”.
Behind it there is the huge courtyard called “il Cortile delle Armi”.
There are other two small courtyards inside: the Cortile della Rocchetta to the left and the Corte Ducale to the right.
In the Sforza Castle there are some very important museums, the Civicic Museums.
They are situated on different floors around the Rocchetta and the Ducal courtyards.
• the collection of the archaeological museum
• a collection of ancient art
• many famous sculptures, such as the Pietà Rondanini, an unfinished sculpture by Michelangelo
• the furniture collection
• the art gallery with many Italian paintings
• the museum of musical instruments
• the collection of applied arts
Emilio Neppi V.