La Strada Coperta della Ghirlanda

The Ghirlanda (garland) was name given to a ‘garland’, a ‘crown’ of strong walls built around il Castello Sforzesco (the Sforza Castle) for extra protection. Very little of the Ghirlanda has been left intact but its narrow strada coperta (‘covered’ road) still offers visitors the thrill of a very unusual walk down this secret, hidden road.

When you are on the bridge, you will see le mura del Castello (the castle walls) and opposite them a succession of small barred windows on the wall of the moat. There are more than one hundred of them. They surround the castle on three sides, and it is from these that your underground route will be illuminated. If you take a few steps forward, cross the bridge, you will find yourself exactly above the strada coperta. Under your feet, a criss-cross of rooms and corridors: a hidden world.

You can follow this enchanting, mysterious, dimly lit pathway, but not on your own: tours are guided and must be paid for. Experienced guides will explain why i rivellini, as they are known, were built as extra walls to offer protection around the doors against fire and enemies. You will learn about military engineering in the sixteenth century and of secret passages, real and legendary, that from the Castle wind their way toward the city. Don’t miss it on your next trip to Italy.The Castello is famous for its legends about ghosts. Some ghost ‘live’ in the Park nearby. Even the dungeons have their own ghost story. It tells of a dark human-like shadow inexplicably appearing in photos of the strada coperta taken by some tourists…..