#161 Castello di Rocca Sforzesca
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!|
of the castle
||One of the
of the castle
||One of the
|Ground Floor Plan||Northwest [Front] Elevation||
Elevation (showing moat
filled with water)
|Cross-section of the castle (looking northwest)||Model of the castle|
of the Lego Model
Under Construction September-October, 2017
begins on Sept.
25, as the castle and barbican
are laid out.
next day I discover
the barbican is too narrow -
a potentially horrible mistake
Work soon shifts to the
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
29 we can see
where the carriage entrance
will be, and the barbican has
in the plinth
allow a bit of natural light
into the lower tower rooms.
By October 5
tower and bridge are
...and by the
next so is the barbican!
It's an awesome protector for
the main gateway into the castle.
drawbridge is ready, but
where is Soncino?
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
walls are a bit higher...
...but at the
other end of the
courtyard, a residential
building has appeared!
Now I'm gone
for 9 days...
see you October 25.
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