The Sforza Castle, located right in the center of Milan, stands as a majestic witness to the city’s history and culture. It’s a must-see during your stay in Milan.
Today, the château is not only a historic monument, but also houses several museums.
Below, we’ve provided all the practical information you need to facilitate your visit to the various museums, as well as to the superb Sempione Park, adjacent to the castle.
Why visit the Sforza Castle? The answer lies in its unique ability to encapsulate several centuries of artistic and political history, while remaining relevant to modern Milan. Its construction, which began in the 15th century, saw the château evolve from a military fortress to a symbol of power and refinement.
The Sforza Castle offers a window on Milan’s glorious past and its evolution.
When visiting Milan, you must take the time to visit this site, as you will not only discover Michelangelo’s masterpieces or frescoes that have stood the test of time, but also immerse yourself in the imposing architecture that has stood the test of time. Today, the château houses 3 museums, which we’ll describe below.
Must-sees at Sforza Castle
The Castle Museums
- The Museum of Ancient Art: This museum houses an impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance works. Don’t miss Michelangelo’s famous Pietà Rondanini, his last unfinished sculpture, which offers a poignant insight into his creative process.
- The Museum of Musical Instruments: A music lover’s paradise, this museum features a varied collection of antique instruments, including rare pieces dating back to the 16th century.
- Other Remarkable Collections: The château also hosts exhibitions of Egyptian art, antique furniture and a vast collection of paintings and sculptures.
The Courtyard and Exterior Architecture
- Architectural Description: The château features a fascinating mix of architectural styles, reflecting the different eras of its construction and renovation. The main courtyard, with its elegant arcades, is a striking example of Italian Renaissance architecture.
- Photographic viewpoints: For photography enthusiasts, the inner courtyard offers unique perspectives on the castle, while the towers and ramparts offer panoramic views of Milan.
Famous Works of Art
- Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini: As previously mentioned, this work is a must-see, revealing Michelangelo’s skill and deep emotion.
- Frescoes and mural decorations: The chateau’s rooms are adorned with Renaissance frescoes, each telling a story from the period.
- Sculptures and other masterpieces: In addition to the sculptures, the castle exhibits tapestries, armor and other objets d’art that enrich the tour experience.
Parc Sempione: the green heart of Milan
Set in the imposing shadow of the Sforza Castle, Parco Sempione is a haven of peace in the heart of Milan. This 38-hectare park is a perfect blend of nature and art, offering a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its tree-lined avenues, vast lawns and water features are a feast for the eyes and the mind.
The park is home to a number of sculptures and monuments, including the impressive Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) at its northern end. This arch, completed in the early 19th century, symbolizes peace between the European nations after Napoleon.
Parco Sempione is also a place where Milanese socialize. On weekends and summer evenings, it transforms into a lively gathering place, where families, sports enthusiasts and groups of friends come together to enjoy the outdoor setting. It’s also a great place for travelers to relax, offering a well-deserved break after a day of sightseeing in the city.
- Arco della Pace: As mentioned above, this majestic arch is a must-see. Its history and neoclassical architecture make it a historical and artistic landmark.
- Torre Branca: This steel tower, designed by Gio Ponti in 1933, offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Milan. Climbing to its summit is a not-to-be-missed experience for lovers of urban views.
- Arena Civica: Built in the early 19th century, this arena is a magnificent example of neoclassical architecture. Today, it serves as a venue for sporting and cultural events.
- Palazzo dell’Arte: Home to the Triennale di Milano, this building is a leading center for art and design, offering interesting exhibitions throughout the year.
This park is ideal for a short nature walk during your city escapade, or for a siesta or picnic after a visit to the château.
Our tips and recommendations for organizing your visit
Best times to visit: The Sforza Castle is accessible all year round, but spring and autumn offer pleasant weather and less dense crowds. Early mornings are ideal to avoid the crowds.
How to get there: Located in the center of Milan, the castle is easily accessible by public transport, notably via the red metro line (Cairoli Castello stop).
Preparatory tips for the tour: We recommend wearing comfortable shoes, as the tour involves a lot of walking. Remember also to check current opening times and any temporary closures before your visit.
Buy your tickets in advance: whether you wish to take the tour on your own or with a guide, we strongly recommend that you buy your tickets in advance to avoid waiting at the entrance and to be able to choose your time slot for the tour.
We recommend a stroll through the beautiful Sempione Park and admire the castle’s exterior facades. As far as museums are concerned, there’s a lot to see. If you’re in a hurry, we advise you to concentrate on just one museum.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Milan, find our detailed article with our best addresses by district here
Enjoy your trip to Europe’s fashion capital, and don’t forget to add a visit to the Duomo cathedral to your list of things to do!
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