Audio File length: 2.38
English / USA Language: English / USA


Now your real tour of Sforza Castle begins, starting with a nice walk. You'll start off from Filarete Tower, which is the main entrance, and will go all around the Castle's exterior by following its moat. As you can see, both ends of the Castle have massive towers: you should go take a closer look at their stone cladding. See if you can find a coat of arms with a snake, which was the Sforza's symbol. A few hundred meters along you'll notice a massive ruin called Rivellino which was used to connect the fortification with the outer walls: go around the castle on that side. Now pause the guide and go to the back entrance of the Castle, on the park side.


Now you're right at the middle of the façade, by the rear door. If you turn your back to the Castle, the view of the park is stunning. The beautiful monument you can see beyond the park is called the Arch of Peace, and is an important work from the neo-classical period at the beginning of the nineteenth century. You may have noticed the windows along the brick wall inside the moat: it's important to know that there was once a covered walkway that connected the castle with the convent of Holy Mary of Grace almost a kilometer away, and those windows served to light it. Now pause the guide and continue your tour around the castle until you reach the Ponticella (bridge) of Ludovico il Moro.


You are in the oldest part of the castle. The Ponticella spans the moat on two arches and was probably designed by the famous architect Donato Bramante (the same as the church of Holy Mary of Grace) and was once used to connect the Duke's apartments, who resided in the castle, to the external walls that no longer exist. A few more steps and you'll be back to square one. Go around the sturdy cylindrical tower that protects the spectacular main façade facing the center of Milan.


FUN FACT: The Filarete Tower you will pass under to enter the Castle is not the original. In fact, it blew up in 1521. You may think this was due to a war, but it wasn't. A distracted soldier forgot that the tower was used to store gunpowder, and let a fiery object fall. It was finally rebuilt four centuries later.


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