#161 Castello di Rocca Sforzesca
Cremona, Italy
11th century plus 1454-1473
This is NOT an official Lego site

There has been a castle atop the hill in the Comune di Soncino for more than 1,000 years.  Soncino was first walled in the 10th century to repel attacks by Hungarians, but by 1200 it was already Italians fighting Italians, as the castle in Soncino was besieged and destroyed by Milanese from the west and Brescians from the east.  Nothing is known of that castle or the new castle mentioned in 1283.  In 1312 Soncino Castle was occupied by troops from Cremona to the southeast and in 1391 the Duchy of Milan made Soncino a beachhead against incursions from the Republic of Venice.  The castle was again strengthened in 1427 following the conquest of Brescia by the Republic of Venice.
In 1454 all that warfare was to be mitigated by the Treaty of Lodi, a peace agreement between Milan, Naples and Florence.  The single decisive victory by Venice over Milan in 1427 was with Florence as her ally, but now Florence was on the side of the Duchy of Milan (albeit briefly).  Francesco Sforza was confirmed as rightful Duke of Milan, and Soncino was assigned to the Duchy of Milan.  Sforza immediately began strengthening the walls of Soncino and its castle, believing a lasting peace was built upon a show of strength. In 1468 the people of Soncino petitioned the Duke for a new castle, but doubtful of their long-term loyalties, he commissioned only the unique round tower in the south corner of the castle.  Further works were added over the next 5 years.  The Treaty of Lodi lasted less than 30 years, as the Republic of Venice allied in 1483 with the Papal States to make war on Milan.  The status quo was finally upset in 1494 when Charles VIII's French troops intruded in Italian affairs, initiating the Italian Wars.
The castle passed to the Venetians from 1499 to 1509, then was held again by Milan until 1535, when the Duchy became the property of Spain.  In 1536 Habsburg Emperor Charles V elevated Soncino to a marquisate, passing the castle to the Milanese family di Stampa.  Successive generations of the family converted the castle into a comfortable residence, with famous frescos and paintings within.  The thirteenth and last Marchese di Soncino, Massimiliano IX Giovanni (1834-1876) donated the castle to the Comune di Soncino, and by 1883, restoration of the castle to its former splendor had begun.  When Judy and I visited Soncino on September 15, 2013 a cloudy day had become steadily rainy.  Our dear friend, Dan Vallauri of Monaco, was kind enough to cover me (and my camera!) with an umbrella, while I took pictures all over the Rocca Sforzesca.  He is a saint.  Any non-sunny pictures of Soncino on this page are thanks to him!
A drawing of the castle
One of the famous frescoes
The cellar became
the tavern
A drawing of the castle
One of the famous frescoes
The cellar became
the tavern
Ground Floor Plan Northwest [Front] Elevation Southeast Elevation (showing moat
filled with water)
Cross-section of the castle (looking northwest) Model of the castle


Photos of the Lego Model
Under Construction September-December, 2017
Construction begins on Sept.
25, as the castle and barbican
are laid out.
Early the next day I discover
the barbican is too narrow -
a potentially horrible mistake
caught early!
Work soon shifts to the unique
but very difficult cylindrical tower.
The splayed plinth and two rings of
machicolations make this a real
By day 3 work is at an impasse
on the cylindrical tower, but the
base of the barbican  [
obs: rivellino]
is rapidly rising...
...as is the front of the
main castle.
On September 29 we can see
where the carriage entrance
will be, and the barbican has
a floor.
Small windows in the plinth
allow a bit of natural light
into the lower tower rooms.
By October 5 the carriage
tower and bridge are
...and by the next so is the barbican!
It's an awesome protector for
the main gateway into the castle.
The drawbridge is ready, but
where is Soncino?
Here's the view of the barbican
courtyard as it would look from
the castle's gate.
By October 12 the castle has a
courtyard, doors in the gate-
house, and a well!
On October 15 the courtyard
walls are a bit higher...
...but at the other end of the
courtyard, a residential
building has appeared!
It's now November 7 and
the castle is nearing
completion. The rest of the
necessary Lego should be
here in a few days...
...so the model, including
the very difficult cylindrical
tower, will be done.
See below soon!


Photos of the Lego Model
Built September-December, 2017
Well, "soon" turned out to
be more than a month -- to
accumulate the dark orange
Lego for the round roof!
But here finally is the completed
model of the Rocca Sforzesca,
seen from the north.
The view from the northeast is an awesome
panorama featuring the two square
towers on the NE and SE corners.
At the base of the southeast
tower is one of the dams
that allow much of moat
to be filled with water.
The southwest view features
both round and square towers.
The "torre ciindrica" seems out
of place, and will be featured below.
It took until December 16 to get
all the necessary wedge plates!
The very imposing view from the south-
west as seem by anyone outside Soncino
intending to enter the castle.
Finally, from the west, the
view with both town and
countryside entrances.
Here is the view as you might
enter the barbican from the
town of Soncino.
A view of the back of
the gatehouse from
inside the barbican.
And roof over the town
Here are Dan and me
at the main gate. What
are we photographing?
Ah, it's an exacted visitor from Rome! Here's the inside of
the main gate.
This view shows both the steps
up to the barbican wall walk, and
the gate into the inner castle.
Here's a better view
of the gatehouse...
...and a third view showing
the ditch and the other set
of wall walk steps.
A view of the inside of
the inner gatehouse.
The Torre del Capitano,
where the Commandant
The North Tower,
which was great fun
to build.
The "back" of the courtyard features
a rather plain building whose function
is not known to me.
Steps lead up to the
wall walk which
circles the inner castle.
Here is the square
East Tower - very
similar to the North.
The Cylindrical Tower
was the most difficult
in 161 castles!
The diameter of the tower
changes four times from
moat to roof, and was
rebuilt several times.
Here's a close-up of
the Madonna with Child
inserted into the wall.
Finally the Sallyport
with its own draw-
bridge.  Very nice!


Build Your Own
Plans will probably not be available
available for this very large project,
due to difficulties copying.
Lego Plan

Other Castello di Rocca Sforzesca pages:

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Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney