Visiting Vigevano
The Piazza Ducale - Ducal Square, Renaissance heart of Vigevano, is a rectangle measuring 134 metres by 48 metres. It's surrounded, on three sides, by low and even buildings, with arched porticoes, supported by granite columns; the fouth side is delimited by the concave, baroque fašade of the cathedral.
In 1492, Ludovico Maria Sforza, nicknamed "il Moro", commissioned the square in order to create a prestigious forecourt to the castle. The architect who planned it was probably Donato Bramante, whose presence in Vigevano is testified during Ludovico's rule, just as Leonardo da Vinci.
The Tower of the Castle or Bramante's Tower , dominates the squadre; it was built in several phases and it is make up of stepped parts with a double battlement.
The Castle is situated at the town's highest point; it was built by order of Luchino Visconti, duke of Milano, in 1345. Two years later, Luchino commissioned the building of the strada coperta, a raised and covered way of 164 metres of lenght, which joined the castle to a fortress: the Rocca di Belreguardo afterwards called Rocca Vecchia. During the Sforza's rule, the castle was enlarged and its rooms were decorated and frescoed. It became a magnificent residence, suitable for lodging the Sforza court. The stables and the Loggia delle Dame were built; open galleries were added to the Falconiera - the building used to breed falcons - and to the bridge connecting it to the castle.
The Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Ambrogio, was started in 1532, by order of Francesco II Sforza, Ludovico's son; it was designed by Antonio da Lonate. The present baroque fašade, planned by the Spanish bishop Juan Caramuel y Lobkovitz, was erected towards the year 1680. The transformation undertaken by the bishop, involved also the demolition of the 15th century ramp which rose up from the centre of the square to the castle
 

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