The Sforza Castle, along with the Duomo Cathedral, is the main attraction of Milan. The castle was built in the 14th century but to this day it survived with significant changes.
The castle was built by the Visconti dynasty that ruled over Milan in the 14th century but several years later the Ambrosian Republic was proclaimed in the city, at the time of which the castle was largely destroyed. However, the republic lasted only 3 years and due to the onslaught of neighboring cities the Milanese turned to the military leader Francesco Sforza who was married to Bianca Visconti. He managed to organize the defense of Milan and became the de facto ruler of the city. In a matter of years the castle was actually rebuilt and was called the Sforza Castle.
Later, the children of Bianca Visconti and Sforza owned the castle of Sforza. They spared no resources for its luxurious decoration. Under Ludovico the Moor, Duke of Milan, even Leonardo da Vinci worked on the decoration of the castle. Unfortunately, in the following centuries there survived only small fragments of its frescoes.
From the 15th to the 19th century, Milan was owned by several states:France, Austria, Spain, Italy, the Holy Roman Empire. All of them used the Sforza Castle as a key bulwark of their power. During these centuries, all the premises of the castle served as barracks for thousands of soldiers. At this time there was not even a question of preserving its artistic value or frescoes of Leonardo.
It was surrounded by additional defensive ramparts and fortifications. All this time, the Sforza Castle was an embodiment of foreign domination over Milan and its citizens wanted to destroy it just like the Parisians wanted to destroy the Bastille.
The Sforza Castle became a museum immediately after the unification of Italy in 1861. The architect Luca Beltrami restored the castle as a landmark with several museums inside and a park around it. The main entrance is in the Filaret Tower. Now the Sforza Castle houses the Picture Gallery, the Archaeological Museum and the Italian Reunion Museum.