The Sforza’s city
Today we continue the city tour exploring the part of Milan with the Sforza’s Castle, Sempione Park, Brera and the famous churches and museums of the city.
Situated in the north-west of the historical city centre, the castle is one of the most beautiful monument to see in Milan; the visit is completely free and the castle is always open from 7 to 19 but if you want to visit the castle’s museums, you have to buy a ticket; the ticket costs 5,00 euros, but there is also the tourist museum card valid for 3 days and it costs 12,00 euros. Inside the castle there are also bars to drink a coffee and enjoy the visit. The castle has a very long history; the original building was the Visconti’s residence and it was partially destroyed in 1447, after the death of Filippo Maria Visconti.
The castle has been reconstruited by Francesco Sforza; he knows how the castle was hated by the citizens and he justified its reconstruction on the basis of a desire to beautify the city while defending it from outside enemies. Francesco Sforza was a capable military leader as well as an astute politician. Having previously been hired to defend the city by Filippo Maria Visconti, he successfully laid siege to Milan and was welcomed by the populace as a liberator. On the 25th March 1450, Sforza and his wife Bianca Maria Visconti were hailed as the rulers of Milan. Today the Castello Sforzesco, is one of the most loved monument in the city. (Underground: Cairoli Castello).
Parco Sempione and Arco della pace
Right in front of the castle, there is a big park called Parco Sempione; it’s the place where people go when they want to have a promenade or make jogging. There is a little lake in the middle and, at the end of the park, you can admire l‘Arco della pace. The arc was built in 1807 and it was dedicated at the peace between europeans nations after the Wien congress of 1815; the arc has a neoclassical style. (Underground: Cairoli Castello).
Cenacolo Vinciano and Santa Maria delle Grazie
The last Supper, (in italian Ultima Cena/Cenacolo Vinciano) is probably one of the best known painting in the world: it was realized between 1494 and the beginning of 1498 by the great Leonardo Da Vinci. The Last Supper occupies the whole north wall of the refectory of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. (Underground: Conciliazione).
Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in the 1492 by Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. The church, divided into a nave and two aisles, reflects the style that was typical of Lombardy at the beginning of the Renaissance period.
St. Ambrogio Basilica
The Basilica of St. Ambrogio, is one of the most ancient church in the city; the entire complex was built between 379 and 386 under order of St. Ambrogio. The church is ubicated in St. Ambrogio Square and it has been made in Romanesque style. Saint Ambrogio is also the protector of the city; the Saint is celebrated every 7th december and this is a festive day for the citizens of Milan. (Underground: San Ambrogio).
Chiesa di San Maurizio and Piazza Cordusio
This church has early Christian origins but it was restructured around 1500. The church is rich in painting and the entry is free. (Underground: Cordusio).
Not far from the church, there is the big Cordusio Square; this place was the most important financial district of the city. After 2010, the financial district has moved from Cordusio Square to CityLife; today, in Cordusio you can see the palaces, built between the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900. These palaces are: Palazzo Broggi, Palazzo delle assicurazioni generali, Palazzo Biandrà and Palazzo del Credito Italiano. Inside Broggi’s palace, Starbucks Coffee has opened the biggest roastery in Europe.
Veneranda Biblioteca and Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
- The Ambrosiana library
The Ambrosiana Library, founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1607 and inaugurated on 8 December 1609, was one of the earliest libraries to grant access to all who could read and write. The Library is one of the most important in the world; ts collections numbers more than a million printed volumes, nearly 40,000 manuscripts in Italian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic (and much else); 12,000 drawings, 22,000 engravings and other unique rarities as old maps, musical manuscripts, parchments and papyri.
- The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana was established in April 1618, when Cardinal Federico Borromeo donated his collection of paintings, drawings and statues to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. The museum consists of 24 rooms, where visitors can admire some of the greatest masterpieces of all time, such as the Portrait of a Musician by Leonardo da Vinci, The Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio, the cartoon for the School of Athens by Raphael, the Adoration of the Magi by Titian, the Madonna of the Pavilion by Sandro Botticelli and the magnificent Vases of Flowers by Jan Brueghel.
- The Roman Forum
Between 1990 and 1992, archaeological excavations conducted underneath the ancient cellars of the Ambrosiana brought to light a portion of the pavement of the ancient Roman forum, the heart of Mediolanum‘s political, economic and religious life. In the part of the excavations that can be visited today, there are the remains of a canal that drained the water shed from the porticoes on the long sides of the Forum. (Underground: Cordusio).
Brera is the artistic district and it is one of the most beautiful place in the city for a relaxing promenade. Here there are elegant and refined palaces and places like the Botanic Gardens, the Academy of arts, the National Braidense Library and the Astronomical observatory.
In any case, the most famous place to visit here is the Pinacoteca di Brera, where there are the most famous painting from artists as Mantegna, Bellini, Raffaello, Caravaggio and more. (Underground: Montenapoleone/Cairoli Castello).