The Sforza name is well known even to those of us not intimately familiar with Italian history. Originally built in the 15th century, this massive citadel was at one time one of the largest in Europe and even today you can just imagine the thousands of people who must have occupied the halls and courtyards of the complex. The castle houses several museums, but one of my favorites is the Museum of Ancient Art that includes a masterpiece by the great Michelangelo. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore the Sforza though, its size can be intimidating at first but the site is well marked and easy to follow.
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Michelangelo's Last Work
Though Michelangelo had very little to do with Milano in his lifetime, it is the city which houses the last sculpture he touched before passing on. The Rondanini Pieta can be found at the end of the major exhibits for visitors in the Castello Sforzesco and though it is incomplete, it still impresses the visitor. Because it is incomplete, it may be hard for the casual observer to understand. Those familiar with his work and his increasing spirituality before he died, may understand better. This Pieta, there was another in 1499, depicts Jesus and Mary. In it's unfinished state it looks far more like Christ is supporting Mary, not the other way around. Some argue this is symbolic of the fact that it was his spirit which comforted Mary in her loss. However one interprets the sculpture, for those who love Michelangelo's work or any religious depictions, it alone is worth the visit to Castello Sforzesco. It is so named because it was brought to Milano by the Rondanini family. I say, good for them!
An absolute must-see attraction in Milan is the Castello Sforzesco, an utterly beautiful and enormous castle, built in the mid 1400s, with a rich and storied history as a citadel, now housing an art museum. But what gave me a chuckle was the number of stray cats who have taken up residence in and around the very picturesque grounds as you can see here. I would caution you to not try and pet the otherwise cute looking specimens as strays can be temperamental. Suffice it to say I highly doubt the Castello has a rodent problem.