Visconti Sforza Castle - Vigevano

Built starting from the XIV century, the Visconti Sforza Castle overlooks the splendid Ducal Square, along with the Torre del Bramante

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The city of Vigevano is situated in north-eastern Lomellina, 35 km from Milan. The oldest heart of the city was created in the Early Middle-Ages as a fortified village to defend the ford on the Ticino river. It later became an independent town and it was contended between the rival cities of Milan and Pavia due to its strategic position. Eventually, it came under the control of the Della Torre lordship, but it was only starting from the XIV century that Vigevano peaked in its artistic splendor, becoming a ducal town, rich in artisanal and commercial activities, and an episcopal center, first under the Visconti family and then under the Sforzas.

The castle stands on the highest part of the town and it was grafted on the planimetric framework and the structure of the pre-existing fortified castle of the communal era. Its construction was characterized by two consecutive stages: a Visconti phase and a Sforza phase. The fist one started under Luchino Visconti, political authority of Vigevano, who had the “Rocca Vecchia” built in 1341. Said building was planned to guard the road towards Milan. In 1345, Luchino Visconti erected the actual castle, the “Maschio”, in a squared shape with four angular towers and Ghibelline battlements. Two years later, the two fortifications were connected by the “Covered Road”, a type of fortified bridge (164 meters long and 7 meters wide) the crosses the town creating a safe passage from the castle to the countryside. The Sforza phase bestowed on the castle the characteristics of a grand noble residence and the splendor of one of the richest courts of the Renaissance, thanks to Donato Bramante’s precious artistic contribution. From 1492 to 1494 the Duke Ludovica Maria Sforza, know as “il Moro”, completed the construction of the stables, begun by Galeazzo Maria, and the “Falconiera” where the hawks were reared and trained to hunt. The “Maschio” was completely renewed and turned into a residential area enriched with luxurious decorated halls and elegant windows. In the rear part of the “Maschio” a residential wing reserved for the Duchess Beatrice of Este and the “Loggia of the Dames”, overlooking the hanging gardens, were added. The latter was the duchess’ favorite place for her leisure activities.
The end of the Sforza dynasty (1535) marked the beginning of a slow downfall of the castle which hosted armies and military stations for over three centuries.

The association Vigevano Promotions organizes half-day or full day customized itineraries to guide the groups of visitors in the discovery of the stories and legends inside of them.
For information about the guided tours:
tel: +39 351 8782734

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