The Ponticella (rooms IX and X Museum of Ancient Art)

The Ponticella, or little bridge, was built on the orders of Ludovico il Moro and is said to have been designed by Bramante. The bridge is an airy construction that spans the moat and is made up of a portico and three rooms. We know from sources of the time that Ludovico il Moro, distraught for the premature death of his wife, Beatrice d'Este in 1497, retreated to one of these room, which had been prepared for mourning. To this day the rooms still carry the name, Salette Nere (little black rooms), after il Moro referred to them as black in two letters dated 1498. Unfortunately, no trace remains of the pictorial decorations that the Duke of Milan commissioned of Leonardo. The graffitos that decorate the portico today, were applied during Luca Beltrami's restoration and recall those of Chiaravalle Abbey and Pozzobonella farmstead. Beltrami also added a 17th century map of the castle.