Abbiategrasso, Visconti Castle
The history of the Visconti Castle goes back almost one thousand years. In 1034, the will of Archbishop Ariberto d’Intimiano of Milan mentions a castrum (castle) which stood alongside the burgus (burgh) of Abbiategrasso. In documents of the age of the seigniories there is mention of a rocca nuova in 1218, or a stronghold built by Azzone Visconti in the first half of the 1300’s, and a castle being built at the request of Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1381. The latter building certainly corresponds to the one standing today, even if part of the present structure dates back to before the 1300’s. The design was probably square with four towers and a drawbridge. In 1535, with the end of the Sforza seigniory in Lombardy, also the castle in Abbiategrasso began to deteriorate. In 1568, the Governor of Milan ordered the dismantling of both the castle and the fortifications in the burgh. In 1672, the deterioration was so advanced that the building could simply be converted into a “nobleman’s home”. Over the last few years, the Visconti Castle has been restored in order to house the “Romeo Brambilla” Public Library, run by the local Department for Culture and the Foundation for the Promotion of the Abbiategrasso area.