The Visconti Castle of Abbiategrasso lies on the axis of the Naviglio Grande canal and it was built to protect the waterway to Milan. In the 15th century it was one of the preferred places of residence of the dukes and duchesses of Milan.
The castle was probably built at the end of the 13th century on the site of a previous fortification (castro Margazario) near a Benedictine monastery. It was enlarged by Azzone Visconti (1329-1339) and Gian Galeazzo (1378-1402). In 1438 it was restored and embellished by the Duke Filippo Maria and – lost every defensive function and easily reachable by water along the Naviglio Grande – it became his favorite country mansion.
To the castle had some inclination the duchesses of Milan. Here had a stable residence Agnese del Maino, mistress of the Duke Filippo Maria and mother of Bianca Maria. The Sforza, dukes of Milan and descendants of Bianca Maria, favored the castle of Abbiategrasso to enhance their Visconti origins.
After the Visconti-Sforza period, the castle progressively assumed again the role of a stronghold, especially during the years of the Italian Wars (1494-1559). In 1658 three towers were demolished and the fourth was cut off. In 1862 it was sold to the municipality, which in the following years obliterated the ramparts to make place to the new train station, at the same time taking care of some restorations.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.