Sforza Castle Tickets

The Sforza Castle and Museum are a cultural haven in the heart of Sforza. The site is a well-known Milan landmark, and is well-liked by tourists because it houses several excellent museums detailing the history of the city. This large 15th-century structure erected on the ruins of a former medieval fortress, is located just outside Milan’s historical center.

Those who purchase Sforza Castle Milan tickets can take a guided tour through the castle's inner courtyards and around the stronghold, hearing fascinating tales from the castle's extraordinary 600-year history along the way. You can step inside to witness the castle's old art collection, the chapel where Michelangelo's final sculpture, "La Pietà Rondanini," was created, and the rest of the castle's impressive features, and you can explore the castle and its past visitors like Leonardo da Vinci. Presently, with the Sforza Castle tickets you can view a number of museums, libraries, and archives; including a stunning Art Gallery, an Archaeological Museum (split into the Prehistoric Museum and the Egyptian Museum), and a number of other displays in the building.

Why visit the Sforza Castle?

Why visit the Sforza Castle?

Sforza Castle is a must-see since it is home to some of the largest and most impressive European castle complexes and is often considered to be among Italy's most stunning fortifications. Originally a military stronghold, it has been altered over time to suit the times (and the rulers!) until it has become one of Milan's most distinguished artistic and cultural spaces. Whether you're interested in the history of the fortress's construction or just want to learn more about the city as a whole, you'll find much to do and see at the Castle with Sforza Castle tickets. What's more, you should not pass up the chance to see works in person by some of the most important artists in the history of Italian painting (15th–19th centuries). Not only that, but the edifice also houses Michelangelo's final masterpiece, the Pietà Rondanini, which was left unfinished after the artist's death.

Highlights Of Sforza Castle

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

The most famous room in the castle is the Sala delle Asse (Room of Wooden Boards), which contains a fascinating account of the time that Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) spent at the Sforza Court. The hardwood wall covering installed during the period of the Sforzas helped keep the room at a consistent temperature and gave it a warm, welcoming feel, hence the room's name. The famous design by Leonardo was added in 1498 by Ludovico il Moro, who had previously painted it with heraldic symbols for Galeazzo Sforza. Although il Moro and the Renaissance talent had communicated in writing, the cycle of paintings seemed to have been lost to history during the dark centuries of foreign dominance.

Michelangelo
Michelangelo

The Pietà, a reflection on death and the redemption of the soul, was Michelangelo Buonarroti's (1475–1564) last unfinished work. The artist in this piece has taken a dead Christ and turned him into a symbol of pain and suffering, rejecting the idea of a perfect human body and the majestic beauty it may achieve. Their position, with Mary's head above Jesus', alludes to numerous events in Christ's life, including his deposition from the cross, his burial, and his resurrection, as his body dissolves in Mary's embrace. Because of Michelangelo's untimely death, the Pietà remains unfinished, but it is a stunning representation of the artist's final creative phase that you can marvel at with Sforza Castle tickets.

Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna

The Castle Gallery features a piece by the prominent Renaissance figurative artist Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506). The frescoes painted by Mantegna, court painter for the Gonzagas beginning in 1460, in the Bridal Chamber of Mantua's Ducal Palace left a significant influence on Galeazzo Maria Sforza. Artist's signature and the date of 15th August 1497 may be seen on a paper held by an angel at the base of this former altarpiece. It was from the Olivetan Church of Santa Maria in Organo in Verona, which commemorates the feast day of the church's patron saint, the Ascended Virgin Mary.

Bramantino
Bramantino

The tapestry cycle in the Balla Room's central wall that depicts the twelve months is quite impressive. Bartolomeo Suardi, commonly known as il Bramantino (about 1480 after 1530), conceived of the cycle, and Benedetto da Milano and his associates weaved it at Vigevano. France's 1499 appointment of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio as Marshall of France and Governor General of Lombardy was the impetus for the work's creation. By 1508 everything had been wrapped up in the massive undertaking. Tapestries can be seen with Sforza Castle tickets in the Museum of Musical Instruments' Balla Room (also known as Room XXXVII).

The Museums Of Sforza Castle

The Museums Of Sforza Castle
  • Sculptures and frescoes of considerable significance from the Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Renaissance eras are on display at the Museum of Ancient Art. It also houses works from other periods of art history collected by the Sforza family. Rondanini Pietà, Michelangelo's final and incomplete sculpture, is one of the museum's most famous exhibits which can be viewed with Sforza Castle Milan tickets.

  • There are more than 1,500 pieces in the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, most of which date from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

  • Curious instruments from all around the world are on display in the Museum of Musical Instruments which you can view with Sforza Castle Milan tickets.

  • Statues, mummies, sarcophagi, and even death masks are just some of the Egyptian artifacts that may be found in the museum's extensive collection.

  • Milan's Archaeological Museum showcases artifacts and art from the major Lombard cultures that flourished between the Neolithic and Roman eras.

  • With Sforza Castle tickets you can view the museum's collection of "Applied Arts" including the creations of potters, sculptors, upholstery artists, and weavers.

  • This museum houses a collection of wooden sculptures and furniture from the 15th to the 20th century that you can view with Sforza Castle tickets. The furnishings are shown in a number of settings designed to convey the eras represented.

Building Of Sforza Castle

The Castle defenses
The Castle defenses

Leonardo da Vinci, who was sent to Milan by Ludovico il Moro in 1482, is only one example of the many architects and designers who have worked on and been fascinated by the castle and its defensive architecture over the years. Francesco Sforza began building ravelins (defensive walls constructed in front of the gates) during his castle's renovation, maybe making use of the Visconti era ruins as building materials. This outer wall, known as the "Ghirlanda" or "Garland," ran from the ravelin of Santo Spirito in the south-west to the ravelin of Santa Maria del Carmine in the north-east, protecting the northern flank of the castle of Porta Giovia. The outside walls of the moat had a covered road and branching pathways that allowed soldiers to walk freely between the castle and the Ghirlanda. Two moats were present in the castle, one of which, today known as the "dead moat," separated the Courtyard of Arms from the Rocchetta, and Ducal Courtyard.

The towers and the battlements
The towers and the battlements

The tower has become an icon of Milan due to its distinctive and easily recognisable design by architect Antonio Averulino, popularly known as il Filarete. The Bona Tower, situated at the crossroads of the north-east and south-east wings, served as the nerve center for the entire structure. As evidenced by a door with a spy-hole that is still present in the tower's stairwell, the tower served as a prison in addition to its defensive purpose. Francesco Sforza commissioned architect Bartolomeo Gadio to erect two round towers out of rusticated serizzo in 1452 to fortify the city side of the fortress. The Rocchetta's treasure chamber, also known as the Sforza era room, is located on the ground level of the square Castellana tower in the building's northeastern corner. There were battlements and pathways all around the castle when the Sforzas ruled, but they were devastated throughout the centuries of foreign rule (16th - 19th centuries).

The courtyards
The courtyards

Stepping out of the Filarete Tower, you'll find yourself in the massive Courtyard of Arms, which architect Luca Beltrami meticulously rebuilt. One of the oldest structures in the Courtyard of Arms was converted into a hospital for the garrison troops by order of the castle commander, Sancho de Guevara y Padilla, during the Spanish rule. The ducal residence begins at the Portico of the Elephant, which was built in 1473 and received its name from a fresco that may be seen even now. Bona di Savoia, who had the high tower built, took sanctuary in its inner fortification for a time before Ludovico il Moro came to power. Adding three portico wings helped soften the otherwise fortress-like aspect of the building's façade (thanks to its high walls and lack of windows).

The Sforza rooms
The Sforza rooms

The Museum of Ancient Art is located in what were previously the Milanese mansion of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Bona di Savoia (from 1468), the ducal chambers, which are on the ground level next to the Ducal Courtyard. Galeazzo Maria did not commission the famous Sala delle Asse chamber VIII of the Museum of Ancient Art, which is located on the first floor of the Falconiera Tower. Instead, Galeazzo Maria's brother Ludovico did, and he entrusted Leonardo da Vinci's creativity with the room's decorating. The vault of room XI, known as the Room of Ducal Heraldry, features the coats of arms of Galeazzo Maria Sforza against a blue background. Galeazzo Maria Sforza had a deep personal investment in the Ducal Chapel (room XII), which was designed by Bartolomeo Gadio, and Benedetto Ferrini and constructed and frescoed by a team of artists. The heroic deeds of the dove are depicted in Room of Doves (room XIII), where a bright sun and the slogan "à bon droit" (French for "well deserved") can also be seen in the background. Because of the many renovations done in the 1800s, the Room of the Echelons (room XV) retains its original name and decor of red and white zig-zag stripes. The Sforzas knew that the Rocchetta's stronghold was the only place to truly keep the riches safe.This once-priceless chamber now serves as home to the Trivulziana Library and rotating exhibits. Bramante is credited for designing chambers IX and X at Ponticella, which house the Museum of Ancient Art. The moat is spanned by a light, airy bridge with a portico and three chambers.

History Of Sforza Castle

The Castle at the time of the Visconti and Sforzas
The Castle at the time of the Visconti and Sforzas

Many attempts were made over the years by Milanese to attack and destroy the castle since it was seen as a symbol of oppression and foreign dominance in the city. Galeazzo Visconti II, after becoming Lord of western Milan, constructed a fort between 1360 and 1370 that straddled the medieval wall and enclosed the postern of Porta Giovia or Zobia. Soon after coming to power, Francesco Sforza began expanding Visconti Castle. He knew the Milanese would be hostile to the rebuilding, so he made security and aesthetic concerns his primary justifications. Galeazzo Maria was murdered in the midst of a plot in December 1476 but Bona di Savoia, his widow, took on the role of regent for her son, the infant Duke Gian Galeazzo Maria. She and her son took refuge in the tower she had built to rule the entire castle, and which still bears her name today. However, her reign was short-lived, as Galeazzo Maria's brother Ludovico Maria, also known as il Moro, quickly seized power and banished Bona into exile. Il Moro, a patron of the arts, made Milan's court into one of the most sophisticated of its era, supporting artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Donato Bramante.

The Castle under foreign rule
The Castle under foreign rule

In 1549, Don Ferrante Gonzaga, Captain General and Emperor's lieutenant, began extensive work on the walls of Milan and the Castle in the shape of a twelve-pointed star or bastion fortress, which was state-of-the-art in terms of military architecture. The former Sforza family home was converted into a massive garrison that included, as depicted in period paintings and written accounts, a pharmacy, a hospital, stores, a bakery, two bread ovens, a bar, an ice house - for conserving ice, two churches, and large warehouses. People in Milan contributed to the cost of building and maintaining the garrison. On the side of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I during the Spanish Succession War in 1706, Eugenio of Savoy took Milan. The castle's interiors from the Sforza era remained in disrepair and were severely damaged, including the decay of the frescoes, ceilings, and stucco decorations, despite the change in nationality of its inhabitants.

A fortress to be conquered
A fortress to be conquered

As Napoleon Bonaparte approached Milan, Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria fled the city. On May 9, 1796, he reportedly left the castle in the care of 2,000 guards with 152 cannons, 300,000 kilos of gunpowder, 11,000 firearms, and 100 livestock. An assault on the despised castle, which supporter groups of republican France considered as their Bastille, was repelled by General Lamy and his garrison. After the star fort was demolished in 1801, the area around the castle became vastly unoccupied, inspiring ideas for its repurposing from architects like Luigi Canonica and Giovanni Antolini. To create what is now known as Foro Bonaparte, the latter envisioned a massive semicircular square bordered by public buildings designed in the classical style. After Napoleon's defeat, the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia was established in 1815, and the Austrians returned to Milan. The castle remained in use as barracks, and military parades were held in the Piazza d'Armi, the empty plaza just behind the structure.

Restoration and construction
Restoration and construction

After much debate—during which Angelo Colla's plan to convert the castle into a Gothic-style building gained traction—it was ultimately decided to keep the structure as-is. The castle, which had been turned into a military barracks over the course of several centuries, underwent a lengthy and intricate repair and renovation project beginning in 1893. The demolition of the Ghirlanda began in 1892, directed by Luca Beltrami, and was followed by the Cavallerizza, a building from the 19th century. The Bona Tower was restored to its appearance from the early 16th century, the Carmine and Santo Spirito gates were opened once more, and the twin towers that had been removed following the Five Days of Milan were erected once again. With the help of a painting by Francesco Napoletano, architect Luca Beltrami was able to recreate the building's city-facing façade, including the iconic Filarete tower.

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Location

The Sforza Castle is located at Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy.

FAQs

Is Sforza castle worth visiting?

    Yes, there is a wealth of Milanese history contained within the walls of Sforza Castle, making the visit to the castle well worth it. Additionally, the building's age is astounding, and the surrounding grounds are lovely for a leisurely stroll and some exploration.

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