Italy Day 3: Sforzesco Museums

With one ticket, we got access to all of the museums in Castle Sforzesco, which ended up taking most of the day to wander through the ones we wanted.

Our favorite was by far the Musical Instrument Museum.  The not only had a lot of old instruments, but many that were either stylistically or tonally experimental.  That means there were many strange looking instruments, but they were a unique addition to the museum.

An intricately carved scroll on an old violin

This Giovanni Grancino viola has a fascinating history.  Since it's smaller than other violas of the time (1660s) it didn't get modified when the baroque instruments, which tuned an A to 415 hertz, were re-tooled in a sense to withstand the greater tension and pressure associated with transforming an A to 440 Hz.  So if you played an A on this instrument, it wouldn't sound like a modern A.  


A violin from 1778, basically as old at the United States!

A violino sordino with a very unique body shape.

Bassoons, near to my heart as I played this in middle school for a few years.

Some of the other museums were the Egyptian Museum, Ancient Art, China and Furniture, and a special exhibit all about Michelangelo.  The Egyptian Museum was a touch of a letdown because they didn’t have that many artifacts, but as opposed to the British Museum, which might actually have half of Egypt in its museum, it was nice to see a country that didn’t wander away with all of the Egyptian artifacts.

Despite the limited number of artifacts, they did have a mummy on display.

Very interesting Egyptian writing, which isn't exactly the hieroglyphics that are most commonly thought of.

China and Furniture was moderately interesting, but not really something we were very interested in, so we didn’t spend much time there.

Ornate chest in the Furniture museum

I'm not quite sure which museum this guy was in, but he was some kind of mechanical goblin.  Creepy.

The Ancient Art museum had many interesting pieces spread throughout the Castle rooms, and my favorite were some of the tapestries they had on display.  It’s fascinating to see how the different colors have faded or held up over time.  Yellows and reds were very faded and the blues and purples were still surprisingly vivid.

The Michelangelo exhibit was huge and filled with his sketches, sculptures, and architectural work.  Steve and I both liked the architectural portion of the exhibit the best.  I never realized how much work he did throughout his life and how much of it was never carried out.  He designed some beautiful buildings and facades, and we even stumbled upon one of the buildings he redesigned, but his plans were never carried to fruition.

One of Michelangelo's famous unfinished sculpture


Rondanini Pietà


One of the many buildings that he designed during his life.