Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle), Milan

Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle), Milan (must see)

Castello Sforzesco, one of the biggest fortresses in Europe that once housed the Duchy of Milan, today is a home to several museums and art collections. First built in the 14th century, the castle has survived numerous battles, invasions, sacking and destruction throughout its history. One of its famous towers, the Filarete tower, used to store ammunition. In 1521, a lightning rod hit the structure, causing explosion of all the ammunition inside. The blast left many casualties and destroyed the entire fortress.

The Sforzesco had endured several restorations until the assault by Napoleonic troops in 1796. That attack caused severe damage to the old fortress. Napoleon then decided to demolish the external structure and use the castle as quarters for his troops. The frescoed rooms at the ground floor of the Corte Ducale were even used as stables.

Following the Unification of Italy in the second half of the 19th century, architect Luca Beltrami carried out complete reconstruction of the old fortress. The castle was given back to the city of Milan in 1905 and became a major center of art and culture with seven distinct museums open to the general public.

***Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces Tour***
The castle rooms are originally decorated with intricately detailed works of art, the most famous of which is the elaborate ceiling fresco in the great hall, the Sala delle Asse, by Leonardo da Vinci. The Sforza family, Leonardo's patrons, commissioned him to do the job. The painting depicts a garden pergola with 16 mulberry trees bound together by a golden rope.

Why You Should Visit:
Each room herein is a treasure, not only for the exhibited items, but also for the ceiling frescoes which are wonders in their own right.
Entrance to the castle is free, so if you're on a budget, just walk through and admire the courtyards and architecture. As for the "all museums" fee, it is quite reasonable.

Tip:
Exploring the entire Castello Sforzesco, complete with its gardens, may take a few days.
Try to go on Tuesday around 2pm to get free entry (entry on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month is free for all public museums).
There's no way to access the battlements or the "inside" (aside from the museums) except by a guided tour – consider booking one in advance for that.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5:30pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Milan. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle) on Map

Sight Name: Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle)
Sight Location: Milan, Italy (See walking tours in Milan)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Milan, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Milan

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Milan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historic Center Walking Tour

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Contained within the area once delimited by the medieval walls, the historic center of Milan encompasses the city's perhaps most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Duomo (cathedral), Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle shopping arcade and the Teatro alla Scala opera house, to mention but a few. Compact in size and easily walkable, the Centro Storico is just as full of historic...  view more

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Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

Central Milan Souvenir Shopping

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Milan may be a world fashion capital and a European financial capital, but religion, and "the church" in particular, remain a major part of Milanese life. The city boasts a number of world-class religious buildings that include Milan Cathedral, which is the third largest religious structure in Europe, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, also known as "Sistine Chapel of Milan"...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpieces

Over the nearly 20 years that Leonardo da Vinci spent in Milan, the maestro created a number of masterpieces of art, of which the incomparable Last Supper mural in the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie and the innovative ceiling fresco of the Sala delle Asse at the Castello Sforzesco are just a few. If you wish to explore these and other spectacular pieces of art, architecture and technology...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Best Shopping Streets and Malls

Best Shopping Streets and Malls

One of the world's four fashion capitals and, as of lately, that of design as well, Milan is renowned internationally as a top shopping destination, where fashion is the second religion. In a rich city such as this, dedicated to art and pleasure, there's no shortage of options for those accustomed to upscale shopping and those in favor of bargains. If you're a fashionista and/or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
City Center Museums and Galleries

City Center Museums and Galleries

Milan is not only the business and fashion center of Italy, it also a cultural center. The city of Milan offers numerous cultural activities, as well as countless art galleries and museums that exhibit some of the world's most famous and imposing artworks and artifacts. Most of these cultural centers are located in the very heart of Milan and within a pleasant walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles

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