- Art & Culture
Our tour begins in Soncino, a medieval town located around 40 km from Cremona, whose walled historic centre is filled with noble palaces decorated with terracotta friezes.
Recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, its most striking feature is Soncino Castle, designed for the Sforza family by Bartolomeo Gadio and constructed between 1473 and 1475. This imposing military structure, built around a pre-existing tower, was gradually modified into a residential castle through a series of decorative upgrades.
Unfortunately, by the time Massimiliano Cesare Stampa, the last Marquess of Soncino, left it to the town in 1876, it was in a state of disrepair. The Ministry of Public Education commissioned architect Luca Beltrami to restore the castle, drawing on rigorous historical research to preserve the ancient structure as accurately as possible.
Today, Soncino Castle is one of the most iconic and best preserved examples of Lombard architecture. 28 metres tall and 73 metres wide, it is divided into two distinct quadrilateral structures, including moats, corner towers, drawbridges, swallowtail battlements and perimeter ramparts.
However, the castle is not Soncino's only draw. Set apart by its industrial architecture, the Silk Museum is definitely worth a visit, allowing you to follow the entire production process (from silkworm to fabric). Alternatively, you can head to the Museum of Printing, where the first Hebrew Bible was printed in 1488, to admire the historic printing equipment.
If you love history, be sure to check out the belltower of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the octagonal tower of the Church of San Giacomo, and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie outside the walls.