Milan, Sforzesco Castle
Duration: 2 hours
The Sforzesco Castle is, with the Duomo, the most imposing monument in Milan. The Castle we admire today is the result of many interventions, from the fourteenth century to today: founded by Galeazzo II Visconti, the Castle was rebuilt by Francesco Sforza in 1450, who entrusted the visionary Florentine architect Antonio Averlino called il Filarete with the task of creating the spectacular clock tower. Ludovico il Moro summoned great artists to court to decorate the Castle, including Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci, who introduced himself to him as a military and civil engineer, and only later as a sculptor and painter. Leonardo’s most famous creation at the Castle is the large fresco on the vault of the “delle Asse” room. Here the supreme artist frescoed a fake pergola, formed by the flowering branches of sixteen trees whose intertwined branches form the vince emblem of the knot that forms a circle that inscribes a double cross. Leonardo also studied a very high observatory tower in the center of the facade towards the city and singular domed temples for the corner towers, of which suggestive sketches remain. The decorations he made on the walls of the “saletta negra”, a private room where the Moro, after the death of his wife Beatrice, loved to gather in solitude, are no longer visible. Leonardo is also remembered for organizing choreographies and machinery to cheer parties and amaze court guests. One of the most famous was the one organized in the Green Room of the ducal court called Festa del Paradiso, when Leonardo created on the stage once depicting Paradise, with a spectacular theatrical representation. Inside the Castello Sforzesco there is also another important work by Leonardo, generally not visible to the public: the Trivulziano Code, in the Trivulziana Library, which deals especially with military and religious architecture.