The Visconti Sforza Castle of Galliate
He is the lord of the square and the keeper of Galliate's memories.
What it is and where it is
Galliate's Sforza Visconti castle presents itself to visitors on Vittorio Veneto Square as if it were its king. Its size, in fact, allows it to cover almost an entire side of the square by itself. Strangely, however, its mass does not become oppressive; on the contrary, it frames the area and colors it with the red of its stones, punctuates it with the rhythmic repetition of its corbels and Ghibelline battlements, and frames it with its towers. In fact, the structure develops in length rather than height. Even the towers are little taller than the seven and a half meters of the walls.
Why it is special
Built in the late 15th century, it is the best preserved castle among the 100 castles in the province of Novara and one of the few that can be visited. Inside, some rooms display frescoes painted during the 17th century at the behest of Marchesa Maria Aldobrandini Sforza and still visible today during guided tours.
Not to be missed
In odd-numbered years, during the first week of July, the castle of Galliate becomes populated with people, sounds and colors that have little to do with its medieval origins, or courtly grace, but that pay homage to the long life of this structure. This is the international folk gathering that brings together folk artists from around the world. It is a kaleidoscopic event that makes contrast with the place in which it is held a defining and hugely impactful element.
A bit of history
The castle assumed its present features in 1476 at the behest of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza, who intended to make the building a comfortable residence for the hunting stays of the Milanese court. The construction built to the design of military architects Ambrogio Ferrari and Danesio Mainerio arose on the foundations of an earlier fortress from the Visconti era. After a period of abandonment in 1878 it was fractionated among several owners and became the seat of the kindergarten until 1969, when the municipality asked to exchange those premises for a new home for the same educational institution.
The castle also houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to another famous Galliatese: Achille Varzi protagonist of motor racing in the 1930s and direct rival of Tazio Nuvolari.
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