There are two more important places in Milan that I did not show you last week. First is the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to buy tickets there, since they have to be booked months ahead. The second important place, where Leonardo also worked, is the Sforza Castle. It used to be located in the outskirts of the city, guarding it from one side. Todays it is of course in the city center.
The castle was heavily destroyed over centuries, last time during allied bombings in 1940s. It is beautifully renovated now.
Next to the entry you will find a round-shaped fountain.
The walls of the castle are high since it used to be a citadel. The entrance is possible by one of the gates - this one is called the Tower of Filarete, after the first architect who worked on the castle.
The inner courtyard is square, with towers in each corner, both on the left ...
... and on the right.
In the middle comes of course the Filarete tower. I assume that all these wholes in the walls were used to shoot to attackers. The fact that they are located also in the inner courtyard suggests that the tower was meant to be the last line of defence.
The castle has also some smaller side courtyards, demonstrating a strong protective focus.
The castle was built by the powerful House of Sforza who used to rule Milan for centuries. One of the prominent members was a wife and mother of the first builders, Bona of Savoy. One of the tower is named to honour her.
But not all the inner courtyards are ascetic. Some are really nicely ornamented, making me think more of a palace than a castle. I can understand now better why Bona Sforza (grand-daughter of Bona of Savoy), who grew up here, reconstructed the Wawel castle in Kraków the way she did.
Nowadays, inside the Sforza Castle you can find numerous museums. They include the Museum of Antiquity, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Musical Instruments and an Armory.
They have also sculptures by Michelangelo.
Let's leave the castle on the other side. First we need to cross the moat.
And then we land in Parco Sempione, one of the largest and nicest parks in Milan.
The building in the back is a triumphal arch called Arch of Peace, which used to be part of the city walls of Milan. It is topped, of course, by several bronze horses.
Parco Sempione is one of the favourite places where people of Milan spend their free time. They play football, eat, laugh. And they dance. The new and the old, the protection and the joy are all intertangled here. I must say that I really liked this place.
I hope that you have enjoyed the time that we have spent in Milan. But we do not leave Italy yet. Watch out for some new adventures.