Castello Sforzesco : Michelin's recommendations
Founded by the Visconti family at the end of the 14th C., this immense square building has been greatly renovated in the Renaissance style by the Sforza family. Here we find the two families that held power over Milan. First it was the Ghibelline representative, the Visconti family, that took over power in the 13th C., and extended their power over most of Lombardy, before being blocked by other powers in full expansion at the time, Venice and Florence. It was Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402) who, in 1395, purchased the title of duke from the Germanic emperor Wenceslaus, and had the Duomo built and the Charter-House of Pavia. The Sforza family came into power after a brief Republic, and offered the city one of its most brilliant periods, under the reign of Lodovico the Moor (1402-1508) who turned the city into a "new Athens" attracting Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante. The castle today contains the municipal art collections spread out into several sections: the sculpture museum that includes an imposing funerary monument to Bernabo Visconti, topped by the equestrian statue of the Magistrate (Podesta); the recumbent statue of Gaston of Foix, by Bambaia, and the last, and unfinished, sculpture by Michelangelo, the Pietà Rondanini. The art gallery is also quite interesting (Mantegna, Bellini, Luini, Motto...), the Museum of Musical Instruments as a rich collection of stringed instruments, both the plucked and the rubbed kind, and the Archaeological Museum, an annex of the Municipal Museum, is dedicated to the Prehistoric and Ancient Egyptian collections.