Wonder  }  Fortresses and castles

The majestic Castle of Vigevano

In the shoe capital, one of the largest fortified complexes in Europe.

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Where is


Piazza Ducale, 20, 27029 Vigevano PV, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

An architectural jewel between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Castle of Vigevano enchants us with its imposing walls, elegant tower and the gracefulness of its many buildings.The vast Ducal Square (photo), dominated by Bramante's Tower, serves as its sumptuous entrance. Over the centuries it was a fortified area and a ducal residence reserved for the leisure and recreation of the court.

Why it is special: so many buildings in one castle!

One can get lost among its buildings, so vast is the area. Since it is unthinkable to give an account of all of them, a quick roundup will suffice: the elegant Ducal Palace with its terracotta mullioned windows with two lights; the Falconiera, at the top of which opens a graceful loggia; the airy Loggia delle Dame that connects the Palace to the Falconiera; the beautiful Bramante Tower that soars 75 meters; the Scuderia of Ludovico il Moro, so refined that it seems like a reception room.

Not to be missed: the Covered Road and the Underground Roads.

An absolute masterpiece of engineering, the Covered Road, commissioned by Luchino Visconti in 1347, is a formidable work, a full 167 meters long and 7 meters wide, which runs, hanging, between the keep and the walls overcoming a 10-meter difference in height. It represented a safe escape route in case of danger. Equally formidable are the two sections of the Underground Road that leads from near Ducal Square to the ancient castle moat and the Cavallerizza. Both are exciting to walk through.

A bit of history: between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Construction of the castle began in 1345 by Luchino Visconti. Its strategic location made it a key point for controlling the territory. Over the following centuries, the castle was enlarged and renovated under the rule of the Visconti and later the Sforza, who made it a lordly residence. During the period of the Seigniory of Ludovico il Moro it reached its maximum splendor and was transformed into a sumptuous mansion; the works were commissioned from Bramante, one of the most famous Renaissance architects. It was during this period that the castle acquired many of its distinctive Renaissance architectural features.

Fun fact: Beatrice D'Este's pianella.

The interior of the castle houses several museums, the Civic Art Gallery, the Archaeological Museum and the delightful International Footwear Museum with a fine collection of antique shoes, shoes by great designers, curious and unlikely shoes. Renaissance shoes are extremely rare, but the museum has a real gem, a pianella belonging to Beatrice D'Este, wife of Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza. It was found during the renovation of the quarters that the lady lived in at the time, and Carbon 14 dating proved its age, which corresponds precisely to that of the lady's stay in the castle.

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Patrizia Iome

Exploring the Castle of Vigevano transports us back in time to the magnificence of the Italian Renaissance, an exciting journey through the marvels of architecture and engineering of the period.


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