Any fortress or castle in the world carries a piece of history that has passed by and eroded, yet evolved its fabric culturally, architecturally, and religiously. The Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy is no different and this is what I found out after visiting it.
Milan, generally, is a welcoming city with its Italian vibes. However, it is this castle that brings about its true nature both historic and present.
Before going on stating what you can do in the castle, let us take a dive in the pool of history. I know I hate it, too, but for the sake of understanding this place better, let’s spare some moments.
A Short History
Sforza Castle or Sforcesca castle has seen many eras of complex invasions, sieges, and renovations. Built in the 1450s by Francesco Sforza, it is one of the few remnants of the 14th-century citadels. However, before it was a castle or a residential quarter of the notable rulers, it had been a Visconti fortress with impeccable defense systems – walls and towers that are so high and mighty. It was on the ruins of this fortress that Sforza built the Sforza Castle.
At the time of its peak exuberance and function, notable artists such as Leonardo da Vinci had taken part in designing its defenses. Today, the castle is the home of several important museums of Italy, which collect numerous artifacts from the history of Milan. These include the final piece of Michelangelo called the Rondanini Pieta (Unfinished Pieta) and the craftwork of Leonardo da Vinci.
Inside the Sforza Castle
Today, the castle mainly hosts some museums and libraries that house fragments and artifacts from different eras of the past. You’d spend quality time in learning about those eras and marveling about the way they created things even in those years of lesser civilization. These museums include: the Egyptian Museum, Ancient Art, Furniture Museum, The Pinacoteca, Applied Arts, Museum of Musical Instruments, and Museo de la Pieta Rondanini.
Museums Inside Sforza Castle
1. Museo Egizio or the Egyptian Museum
Housing more than 30, 000 artifacts, the museum is mainly dedicated to the Egyptian archaeology and anthropology. From papyrus maps to portraits of ancient Egyptian dancers, I let my eyes feast on the relics of ancient Egypt. Approaching the sarcophagi, I couldn’t resist the thoughts of being trapped there for the times to come. I mean even my soul would scream in agony if, god forbid, I’d be in there.
2. The Museum of Ancient Art
This museum is dedicated to the prehistory and the protohistory of humankind. There are many treasures in here, but what truly took me by an artistic surprise was the unfinished work of Michelangelo, the Pieta Rondanini. It was his last piece of unfinished work and I took my liberty of imagining in ways in which he’d have completed it (please don’t ask about them).
3. The Furniture Museum
As the name suggests, it is a museum of ancient furniture and sculptures that are made from wood. I saw many wonders here. It was appalling to see how the artistic hands had changed pieces of logs into beautiful sculptures.
4. The Pinacoteca
This museum is mainly dedicated to the Italian artwork. I’m sure that if you’re a true art lover, you’d spend hours here absorbing the techniques of intricate art and craft produced by the likes of Mantegna, Tintoretto, and Canale.
5. The Museum of Musical Instruments
I had never had the privilege of visiting a museum that is solely dedicated to the world of musical instruments. But as they say, every dog has its day, I too got the chance to see how different music instruments evolved when I visited Sforza Castle. The most interesting pieces here are the harpsichord and the double virginal of the Flemish origin. They’re pretty interesting.
6. Applied Arts Collection
From hunting equipment to ancient jewelry, I was delighted to see in this museum how we, humans, have evolved in terms of finesse in the making of breathtaking artifacts from drab raw materials. It seemed as from every object, whether a hunting instrument or something else, the tales of craftsmanship dripped drop by drop.
7. Museo de la Pieta Rondanini
This museum is solely dedicated to the Unfinished Pieta by Michelangelo. Nothing more to see here but the lone statue in the middle of the museum. You can inspect the unfinished marble statue in 360 degrees view.
So, these were some of the museums that I visited in the Sforza Castle. However, what I can’t really forget is the view of the whole of the castle from its crenulated walls. If you are planning to go here, don’t miss the guided tour of these walls.
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
I decided to stay at Hotel Ornato because there’s only a small difference compare to paying a bed in a hostel. I had nice room in this fabulous boutique hotel. It’s clean and the ambience is great! The staff are extra wonderful, too! The only thing that you might not like is that – it’s 30 minutes by tram to downtown Milan. If you don’t mind the commute, this hotel is perfect for you! Thirty minutes on the tram is a good way to get to know the city.
Not a Solo Traveler? Join a tour!
Well, you know, solo travel is not for everyone. Should you decide to go on with a tour group, go with – Intrepid Travel. They have a wide variety of tours for all ages and different kinds of travelers, including solo, seniors, teenagers and family.