Discovering Italy’s most beautiful square
Nestled in the northeastern Lomellina, separated from Milan by the Ticino River, Vigevano is accessible by train from Milan in about thirty minutes. Its heyday dates back to the time of the Sforza family, as evidenced by the Sforza Castle, a complex at the highest point of the city, originally used as a ducal residence and later converted to military use. It is currently home to the Civic Art Gallery and the International Shoe Museum, which traces its history as the world’s leading shoe production centre.
In the heart of the city, you can admire Piazza Ducale, known as Italy’s most beautiful square. Built at the order of Ludovico il Moro, based on a design by Leonardo Da Vinci, between 1492 and 1494, it has a rectangular layout, enclosed on three sides by porticoed buildings and on the fourth side by the façade of the cathedral. At the southwest corner, a ramp leads to the castle courtyard, passing under the Bramante Tower. The current appearance of the square dates back to 17th-century modifications by Bishop Caramuel.
Every year in October, the square hosts the Palio delle Contrade, a historical re-enactment featuring traditional costumes and popular games. The municipality lies within the Lombard Park of the Ticino Valley, making it perfect for nature enthusiasts.