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Soncino

Description

Soncino is a picturesque town in the province of Cremona, in the heart of the Lomard plain, on the right bank of the Oglio river which separates it from the neighboring province of Brescia. The place name is documented for the first time in 920 (Castri Soncini). The "castrum" was founded in the IV century by the Goths; it was annexed to Bergamo's territory during the Byzatine domination and, under the Lombards, it became a military stronghold. In 1118 the counts of Bergamo purchased the estate and the town became a bulwark against Milan and Brescia. With the Hungarian invasion (X century) Soncino started to be fortified. Buoso Dovara's lordship was one of the most prosperous periods of the town: the old fortress and the city walls were rebuilt, the Orzinuovi fortress was conquered and Ezzelino da Romano was captured. Due to its strategic position, Soncino was the object of conquest by the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice. In 1509 the town passed under the control of France, in 1536 to Spain and, finally, in 1707, to Austria.
Soncino's historical center is in typical Medieval style, with tower-houses, narrow streets and noble palaces with their beautiful entrance gates and courtyards.
Attractions:
- the town walls (about 2Km long) with defensive towers, built by Buoso Dovara and later expanded by Francesco Sforza. Some underground rooms - part of the town defensive system - have recently come to light.
- the Sforza Fortress, built by order of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza in 1473, was projected by the architect Bartolomeo Gadio and completed in just three years. It is an imposing military structure, with thick walls and a deep moat. The ravelin is located on the northern side. Under the Stampa lordship, the fortress was turned into a noble residence; in 1876 the last descendent of the Stampa family left the ruined fortress to the city and the architect Luca Beltrami restored it. Four towers with sloping base are at the four corners of the structure: the mastio, the cylindrical towers and two twin towers. The fortress is characterized by a typical Ghibelline swallow-tail battlements; it also has large underground rooms and a prison.
- the Town Hall and the Civic Tower. According to tradition, in 1259 Ezzelino da Romano was imprisoned in this palace, after the battle of Cassano.
- the Printers House (Casa degli Stampatori), which houses the Printing Museum; here the Hebrew Bible was printed.
- the Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta, dating bacK to the XI century, is one of the oldest church of the whole Cremona diocese. It was rebuilt and remodeled several times during the following centuries until the XIX century. The interior is in neo-Byzantine style; it still preserves valuable Romanesque style details, such as the rose window and the lions of the XIX century prothyrum.
- the Church of San Giacomo, built in the XII century, became an Augustinian monastery (during this period the heptagonal tower was built) and, later, a Dominican one (who realized the cloisters, the library and the pharmacy).
- the Church and Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in Renaissance style by the Carmelites. It has a nave with 10 side chapels. It is totally frescoed.
- the Church of San Pietro Martire, with a nave and 2 side chapels;
- the Church of San Pietro Apostolo, dating back to the XII century and rebuilt in the XVII century, has a nave covered with a barrel vault;
- the Church of the Saints Paolo and Caterina;
- Tinazzo park;
- Palazzo Azzanelli;
- Palazzo Covi;
- the mills, witnesses of the flourishing manufacturing industry and water wealth of the area.

Map

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