The first thing that comes to mind as you stand in front of Milan’s most famous castle is that it doesn’t look like a castle – at least not the kind you know from children’s stories or ballads. Castello Sforzesco (or Sforza Castle) looks more like a fortress, which makes sense given its history. It started out as a castle for the Milan Duchy in the 14th century; later (in the 15th and 16th centuries) it evolved into a military stronghold under Spanish rule making it one of the largest citadels in Europe. By the the time the 19th century rolled around it was handed over to the city of Milan, and today it is a museum that houses Michelangelo’s sculpture Rondanini Pieta (which, when we saw it, was being scanned using 3D equipment) and a room referred to as the Sala Delle Asse. What makes this room special is that Da Vinci painted the ceiling (he painted it while also working on The Last Supper). The ceiling is meant to look like a forest’s canopy with many trees and branches interlaced. It is a strange sight indeed. What also makes this castle appealing is the park located right behind it which showcases an unusual “mermaid” bridge and the Arco della Pace or Arch of Peace.
The church, the castle and its beautiful park are places you should add to your “must see list”. However there is one more thing that can make your stay in Milan even better and that is cable tv. Well, Wade thinks this is important, especially since we hadn’t seen anything decent since we left Koln (where we found a MGM channel that showed old movies in English!). We stumbled upon a great apartment hotel that seemed like a palace when compared to some of the cramped, squalled flop houses we had stayed in before. It was huge – but more importantly – it had cable tv that allowed you to choose the program’s original language so we had our fill of North American tv shows and movies. (I still don’t like “American Dad” no matter what Wade says!) The hotel’s name is Residenza delle Città – just in case you decide to visit Milan in the near future.
All in all, Milan is a great city and we never tire of her charms. We hope she charms you one day – cable tv or not.