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THE CASTLE RECONSTRUCTED BY THE SFORZA

cylindrical tower During the three years which followed Filippo Maria's death, thanks to his military and political skills, Francesco Sforza, first defended Milan and the Ambrosian Republic against the Venetian, then took advantage of the situation and took power on March 25 1450, always supported by his wife Bianca Maria Visconti, a great feminine figure in the vicissitudes of the 15th century.
Francesco soon decided to rebuild the castle with the aim of making it a symbol of the city's beauty and defending Milan against possible external enemies. He called in numerous people to work on this project. Among them are military engineers Jacopo da Cortona, Giovanni da Milano and Marcoleone da Nogarolo. In 1452 the Florentine architect Antonio Averulino, known as 'Il Filarete' was entrusted with the building of a high central entrance tower. Although the Castle should appear as a luxury residence, which should have nothing to do with the old fortress built by Filippo Maria Visconti, the Filarete was soon dismissed and the military architect Bartolomeo Gadio was called in to oversee the building. The Castello di Porta Giovia was provided with massive cylindrical towers covered with bosses and with articulated structures: the Ghirlanda is a quadrangular defensive wall over three meters thick, which led to the town walls and surrounded the Rocchetta and the Corte Ducale.different areas inside the castle The Ghirlanda, which already existed at the time of the Visconti, had been enlarged and strengthened in the Sforza age. It is provided with two circular towers built in its corners and a covered road, part of which still exists.

To complete the building Francesco Sforza even asked the Pope permission to demolish an old church (the 'Chiesa del Carmine'), which stood in the area where the Castle was being built. In 1452, only the castellan Foschino degli Attendoli, who lived in one of the cylindrical towers, archers and some unhappy prisoners in the undergrounds of the towers continued to stay in the fortress. In those years, a wall was built around the park ('barcho'), abundant with wild game captured and taken there from the woods around Varese, the Seprio and the lake Como. Orchards and cereal cultivations stood next to the hunting area of the park. Francesco and Bianca Maria didn't move to the Castle. In Milan, they preferred to live in the old Arengo Palace, next to the Cathedral.

The Castle historical background



Castello Sforzesco - Piazza Castello   20121 MILAN