The Museum of Musical Instruments at the Castello Sforzesco
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Musical instruments Museum

Sforza Castle

General information

The exhibition sequence begins with two halls dedicated to a group of objects donated by the Monzino family (who owned a historic Milanese musical instrument factory), with exhibits that illustrate the essential phases in the construction of guitars and violins, including the tools of the trade. 

The visit continues in hall 36, with a series of European instruments organized into families, stringed, plucked and wind instruments, from the Renaissance to the 20th century. In addition, there is a small group of instruments from outside Europe, and more specifically from Africa, China, Japan and Australia.

In the same hall, a space has been dedicated to Milan’s Phonology Studio, donated to the museum by state broadcasting company RAI in 2008. This electronic equipment was operated by composers Luciano Berio and Bruno Maderna from 1955 on. They used it to perform the earliest audio experiments, leading to pioneering work on electronic music in Italy. A number of computer workstations enable visitors to listen to various pieces, and to consult documentation regarding the activities conducted in the Studio.

The lovely “Sala della Balla” (hall 37) presents many keyboard instruments, such as harpsichords, virginals, spinets, organs and pianos. The hall also contains the Trivulzio tapestries dedicated to the months. The collection was named after the nobleman who commissioned them. They were made in Vigevano from 1503 to 1509, to cartoons that were probably drawn by Bramantino. 

Don't miss

There is a double virginal dating to 1600, made by a member of the Ruckers family, who were the most famous keyboard instrument builders in Antwerp.

The 1662 Grancino viola is one of the very few Baroque stringed instruments to still have its original stem.

There is a superb ivory oboe made by Anciuti (1722), in perfect condition.

Two Viennese horns made in 1712 are the oldest pair of orchestral horns in the world.

Anecdotes and curiosities

The Museum includes a glass organ. This instrument was powered by a pedal, which caused a series of glass cups of different diameters to rotate. The performer touched them with dampened fingers in order to create the characteristic sound of vibrating glass.

The piano autographed inside by Giuseppe Verdi, and used by the maestro when he stayed at the Hotel et de Milan, is on display in the museum. Conferences and concerts are frequently organised for propagation purposes and occasionally some musical performances with rare instruments like the serpent (a mouthpiece instrument of the brass family), the hurdy-gurdy (an ancient stringed instrument) or the clavichord (stringed keyboard instrument in use from the Middle Ages until the 18th century) are held in the museum.

 

Useful details

ACCESSIBILITY OF THE CASTLE MUSEUMS

  • A wheelchair user can independently access the museum entrance and visit all the exhibition rooms. The toilet facilities - equipped in compliance with regulations for persons with physical disabilities - can also be independently accessed.
  • Halls 9, 10-15-23, 24 are not accessible for wheelchair visitors.
  • Audio guides are available: press number 5 on the tactile keypad.
  • Music workshops are organized for visitors with cognitive impairment (La voci della città). Reservations are required by phone and /or email.
  • Free entry for disabled visitors.
  • The museum is equipped with an audible fire alarm system.

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      • Ticket information

        € 5
        Reduced price: € 3
        This single ticket gives entry to all the Castello museums

        3 days ticket to the Civic Museums: € 12

        Free admission every first and third Tuesday of the month from 14:00 and every first Sunday of the month for the whole day

        Free admission: visitors up to the age of 18; high school students and accompanying teachers of school groups; tourist guides and tourist interpreters accompanying groups; disabled people and their carers; journalists; people with disabilities; scholars with special permission from the Museum management; officials of state and regional superintendencies; members of the ICOM.

        Admission with reduction: EU citizens between the ages of 18 and 25; University students and Fine Arts Academies; adults over 65 years

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