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Once a symbol of power, Castello Sforzesco has now become an important cultural attraction. The enormous fort in the centre of Milan was originally built as an impenetrable stronghold. It was from here that the Visconti family and later on the Sforza family ruled the city. Since 1896, the castle has housed one of the largest art collections in Milan; take some time to admire the displays of sculptures, European porcelain and Baroque furniture.
Galeazzo II Visconti, the first Duke of Milan, ordered the construction of Castello Sforzesco in 1358. The result was a powerful square fort, with castle moats, drawbridges and walls that were up to 7 metres thick. When Filippo Maria Visconti (the last male member of the Visconti family) died in 1447, the residents of Milan proclaimed the short-lived Ambrosian Republic and the castle was completely demolished. But shortly after that, Francesco Sforza declared himself Duke of Milan and he rebuilt the entire castle, adding a 70-metres-high central tower: the Torre del Filarete.