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Soncino (Cremona): Fortess of Soncino

Foto Fortess of Soncino
Foto Fortess of Soncino
Foto Fortess of Soncino
Foto Fortess of Soncino
Foto Fortess of Soncino
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Places  of historical value around Milan (Italy): Fortess of SoncinoHISTORY
Its construction began in 1473 and ended just two years later. The fortess was built on the area previously occupied by a convent of nuns, replacing an older fortress placed in a different position. The new fortress was built so as to incorporate a part of the city walls, including one of the towers (for this reason the fortress has three square towers and one round).
In 1877 Massimiliano Stampa, the last of the Marquises of Soncino, donated it, by now a ruin, to the municipality of Soncino. In 1883 the architect Luca Beltrami, the same who designed the restoration of the Sforza Castle in Milan directed a creative restoration of the fortress, with the aim of bringing it back to its features at the time of the Sforza.
Therefore the battlements (which had been turned into closed passages) were opened, many structures were demolished, the ravelin was repaired and the drawbridges were replaced with masonry bridges.
In reality, however, it was only starting from 1960, after the collapse of the crenellation and of part the north-east wall, that the fortress began to be promoted as a location for events and as a tourist attraction.
In fact, we must keep in mind that much of what you see is not authentic, although this does not diminish the charm of the building, also used as the setting of various films ("La freccia nera" of 1968, "Marco Visconti" of 1973, "Ladyhawk" of 1985, "The Profession Of Arms" of 2000.
Currently the fortess is visible in almost all its parts. Inside there are the small Historical Museum of the Fighters, with military finds from the Garibaldian campaigns and the two world wars, and the Aquaria Archaeological Museum, in what was the only stately hall of a fortress that has always had an exquisitely military function. The museum houses numerous archaeological finds from various periods starting from the Neolithic period found in the Soncino area.

STRUCTURE
The fortress is composed of a main part, with approximately a square plan and equipped with three towers with a square plan plus one with a circular plan, originally part of the city walls of the village.
Then there is the ravelin (Fig.1), which is a smaller courtyard, also fortified, through which one has to pass to reach the main body of the building. It should be noted that the main body (Fig. 2) and the ravelin (placed in front of the northwest side of the first one) are completely separated, surrounded by a wide moat once filled with water and originally only joined by drawbridges.
Of the drawbridges there is currently only the one that leads from the ravelin to the countryside. It is not original, however, but it was rebuilt in 1973 for the film "Marco Visconti", shot mostly in the fortress.
Above the entrance of the main courtyard there is a turret, smaller than those placed on the corners, but connected with them.
In the entrance hall beneath it there are still the sliding slits of the sturdy bar that allowed to block access to the main courtyard. In addition it was also possible to close a heavy door of which only the hinges remain.

The square towers all have similar structure: two underground rooms, a large room on the ground floor, a room at the height of the walkways of the walls and a covered crenellated terrace. The rooms are connected to each other by narrow stairs created in the thickness of the walls.
The tower located to the west is called "Tower of the Captain" because it housed the lodgings of the garrison chief. Equipped with a kitchen on the ground floor and a bedroom at the first floor (Fig. 4), it could be completely isolated from the rest of the castle in case of need.
It should be noted that from the captain's tower you could reach, by lowering a small drawbridge, a narrow bridge that led to the countryside and that was low enough to remain hidden under the water of the moat (evidently stagnant and not transparent at all). The remains of this secret bridge are still present today.
The tower also houses what is thought to be the prison of the castle, a small room with barrel vault and a tiny window towards the moat.
The decorations on the walls of the kitchen are not original, but made on the occasion of the shooting of the various films made in the fortress.
The northeastern tower houses what was the chapel of the fortess (Fig. 5). The walls and ceiling of the room at the height of the walkways are therefore frescoed. Among the frescoes, divided into various layers corresponding to the various historical phases, we can recognize in particular a votive offering with a Madonna with Child (the oldest fresco of all), a round with the Lion of San Marco, two large Sforza coats of arms, a tree with dogs tied to the chain and a hand about to untie them, an allegory of the freedom that the Sforza would bring to the cities of the Duchy of Milan.
The round tower is the one located to the south. In fact, a sector, the one corresponding to the intersection of the walls, is missing.
At the center of the covered terrace there is a large pillar inside which there is a spiral staircase that allows you to reach the lookout tower at the apex.

As far as the main court is concerned, in it we can recognize a covered well, with an antique look, but actually built in the middle of the twentieth century.
On the southeast side inside the boundary walls a wing was built in renaissance period to house a large hall (now divided into three rooms), the only space with decorations (apart from the chapel). Next to this wing, on the side of the tower used as a chapel, there is also the grand staircase, built in the same period.
For several decades the hall was the seat of the School of Drawing, the students of which built courtyard well. Currently it hosts the Aquaria Archaeological Civic Museum.

Below the level of the courtyard there are several underground spaces. In particular, under the Aquaria museum there is a large cellar.

Categories: Places of historical value


Via Guglielmo Marconi, 26029 Soncino CR
Foto aggiuntive della Rocca di Soncino nella sezione Fotografia
Soncino (Cremona): Old mill and two towers of the fortess of Soncino
Soncino (Cremona): Fortess of Soncino
Soncino (Cremona): Ancient mill and one of the towers of the Fortess of Soncino
Soncino (Cremona): Chapel of the Fortess of Soncino
Soncino (Cremona): Room of the captain in the Fortess of Soncino