The warm season has now begun and so what’s better than a weekend trip out of town? Obviously there are many destinations not far from Milan: from the lake to the mountains, from the most beautiful villages in Italy to the nearby Ligurian sea . Today we propose a trip to Soncino , in the province of Cremona , classified among the most beautiful villages in Italy and very interesting to visit especially for the imposing Sforza fortress.
The Sforza Castle of Soncino
Once in Soncino, its beautiful walls and the perfectly preserved Sforza castle immediately attract the visitor’s gaze.
The castle of Soncino is among the best preserved fortresses in Northern Italy and its design dates back to the end of the 15th century , entrusted to the Sforza military architects Stefano da Lonate , Danesio de ‘Maineri , Serafino Gavazzi da Lodi and Jacopo de Lera . After only one year the castle was erected and usable: we are in 1473 .
For a long time it was the residence of the Stampa family and it was the Marquis Ermete I who decided to add the ravelin to the fortress to fortify it and make it even safer. The peculiarity is that he decided to turn it towards the village: it seems, in fact, that his most feared enemies were his subjects.
The last of the Stampa family left the castle in 1876 almost reduced to a ruin. Only later the architect Luca Beltrami , the same who rebuilt the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, decided to restore it according to the canons of historical architectural restoration, or based on the testimonies of the archives.
The current architecture is that of traditional schemes, except for the thickness of the walls that were supposed to cushion the blows of the artillery. There is also one of the cylindrical shaped towers , an unusual shape since they were usually square. The reason? The tower we see today stands on the old pre-existing walls; it is also the outermost tower to the fortress. More recent dates are instead the rescue bridge and the drawbridge built around the 1900s .
The castle of Soncino can be visited entirely by walking through the battlements with the dovetailed or Ghibelline merle, climbing to the tops of the domes, visiting the prisons, kitchens, basements and spaces now used as museums. In the center of the courtyard of the fortress there is also a well , now closed but which attracts the gaze of many tourists. It is assumed that one of the twin towers was used for worship thanks to the various frescoes that can be glimpsed. It is possible to recognize the Madonna with Child and also several noble coats of arms.
What to see in Soncino beyond the castle
Soncino is a small village on the border with the countryside and it is nice to get lost in its alleys admiring the houses and palaces and it can also happen to come across old mills.
Of particular beauty is also the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta located in via Tinelli, a short distance from the fortress and in the heart of the village.
According to some traditions reported it seems that the church was founded in 412 and was, at least initially, consecrated to the Aryan cult and then passed to the Orthodox cult. Enter and look up along the main nave of three and stop to admire the starry sky painted on the ceiling. The right aisle instead is occupied by the original 17th century chapels .