The Sforzesco Castle is one of the symbols of Milan . Built in the fifteenth century, today it hosts a series of important exhibitions, civic museums and cultural institutions, but some of the greatest works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Let’s see all the useful information to visit what is one of the major tourist attractions of the Lombard capital.
Timetables and prices
- Timetables: every day from 7:00 to 19:30, admission is free. If, on the other hand, you want to visit one of the museums or exhibitions located inside, the opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:30, from Tuesday to Sunday.
- Best time to avoid queues : Early in the morning.
- Ticket cost: By purchasing a single ticket you will have access to all the museums of the castle. From 18 to 25 years, the cost of the ticket is € 5.00. For the guided tour of the secret routes instead, the cost of the ticket is € 15.00
- Reductions : students and over 65s enjoy a reduction of € 3.00 on the cost of the ticket for the museums. For children aged 10 to 18, on the other hand, the cost of the ticket for the secret routes is € 10.00
- Free admission : under 18s, tourist guides, journalists and the handicapped. Every first and third Tuesday of the month from 2 pm and every first Sunday of the month for the whole day, admission is free for everyone.
What to see and how to visit Castello Sforzesco
Built by the will of Francesco Sforza, the Castle is home to the following museums:
- Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco : spread over an area of seven rooms located on the first floor of the castle, the picture gallery houses some paintings by important Italian artists, including Canaletto, Correggio and Tiepolo
- Archaeological Museum : divided into three different pavilions, one to prehistory, the other to protohistory and the third to the Egyptians. This last section is among the most important in Italy, and houses sarcophagi, a section dedicated to writing and one to the worship of gods and mummies.
- Museum of ancient art : home to one of the most important collections of sculptures and art objects in Italy, for a total of two thousand pieces on display, inside rooms adorned with frescoes from the Sforza age. Inside the museum it is possible to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini, and once frescoed by Leonardo Da Vinci.
- Museum of musical instruments : it houses more than 700 instruments of the fifteenth-twentieth century, coming from all over Europe.
- Museum of furniture and wooden sculptures : exhibition of a collection of antique furniture, with particular attention to the history of Lombard furniture.
- Civic collections of applied art : this museum is divided into different sections, located in the Ducal rooms and those of the Rocchetta of the Castello Sforzesco and in the Sala della Balla. Inside there are exhibitions of goldsmiths, ivories, bronzes, enamels, artistic glass and the Trivulzio Tapestries, with drawings by Bramantino.
- Non-European collections : it exhibits over eight thousand objects belonging to collections belonging to the Municipality of Milan, from periods ranging from the pre-Columbian period of Peru, up to the early twentieth century.
- State Archives and Trivulziana Library : it houses about 180 thousand volumes, both ancient and modern, including some works by Dante Alighieri and the Trivulziano Code by Leonardo da Vinci.
In addition to the museums, it is also possible to take part in the guided tour of the “secret paths”, or the tour of the battlements of the castle and the covered street of the Ghirlanda . Children under the age of 10 cannot participate in the visit for safety reasons. The itineraries can only be made by reservation: further information on the modalities is available on the official website of the Castello Sforzesco
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early : the days that allow free admission to the museum are those with the longest queue, in that case, it is advisable to be there at least 15 minutes before opening. Guided tours take place by reservation only.
- Buy the city card : if you are interested in visiting other museums, buy the MilanoCard: visit Milan as you want
- Watch out for restrictions : animals are allowed only in uncovered areas of the Castle.
- Minimum time : the duration of the visit to the Sforzesco Castle varies, depending on the areas you decide to visit or not. The visit to the free areas of the Castle only takes no more than 30 minutes while the guided tours 90 minutes. The advice is to calculate at least 2-3 hours, excluding museum visits.
- Single Ticket : every Saturday afternoon there is a guided tour to visit all the museums, by purchasing a single ticket at the moment. The visit must be booked on the official website of the Castello Sforzesco .
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot : the Sforzesco Castle is located in the middle of the historic center of Milan, in Piazza Castello , near the famous Torre Branca and Parco Sempione . It is easily reachable on foot if you are staying near the square. Get directions
- By bus : lines 18, 50, 37, 58, 61 and 94
- Tram : numbers 1, 2, 4, 12, 14 and 19. The stop is located right in front of the main entrance
- By metro : red line 1, Cairoli stop, located right in front of the castle entrance. Line 2, green, Lanza or Codorna stops, near the secondary entrances of the structure.
- By Car : Getting there by car is practically impossible therefore, the advice is to stop it in the parking lots at the terminus of the metro, and then use this means to get around.
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
The ultimate goal of the construction of the Castello Sforzesco was to demonstrate the strength and power of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan: on his death his son Galeazzo Maria continued the work. At the end of the fifteenth century the building passed into the hands of Ludovico il Moro, becoming the seat of one of the most sumptuous courts of the time: for this reason artists of the caliber of Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante were called, in order to embellish the structure. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it became one of the main military citadels in Europe and, even today, it is possible to admire the Torre del Filarete, the main entrance, the Piazza d’Armi, part of an ancient moat from the medieval era, and the so-called Rocchetta, the impregnable part of the castle, where the Sforza took refuge in case of attack.