Public Art: Sforza Castle Fountain
Also Known As: Piazza Castello Fountain
Nicknames: Wedding Cake fountain, Cake of the Spouses (la turta di Spus), Fountain de Craxi
Description: A 40 meter in diameter marble fountain. The base looks like a wedding cake.
Date Unveiled: The fountain was originally unveiled in 1936 but was placed in storage from the 1960s until 1999. After restoration, the Piazza Castello Fountain was unveiled in March 2000.
Location: The Sforza Castle Fountain can be found directly in front of the Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco), Milan, Italy.
Background to Sforza Castle Fountain: The Sforza Castle Fountain is relatively new. It was built in 1936 by the Municipal Electrical Company. The reason? Mussolini was visiting Milan for a meet and greet with Abyssinian war veterans.
The fountain was a big hit with the locals and tourists. Not just because the castle made the perfect backdrop but because Milan had very few fountains. It became an instant tourist attraction.
In the 1960s the fountain was dismantled to make way for the construction of the Cairoli subway line. The fountain gathered dust in the municipal warehouses for over 40 years. It wasn’t until 1999 that the fountain saw the light of day. Following extensive restoration, it was unveiled in March 2000.
In 2013 student demonstrators smeared paint over the fountain.
In 2014 the Sforza Castle Fountain was given another makeover, including waterproofing, cleaning, and restoration of damaged marble. A new lighting system was also added which included 180 LED lights that can create lighting effects in the tanks.
Urban Legend: Many years after the fountain had been dismantled and placed in a council warehouse someone asked where the fountain had gone. The witty response was it had been stolen by Bettino Craxi and he had erected in his garden in Hammamet, Tunisia. Craxi was an Italian politician and Prime Minister of Italy. In 1992 he was accused of bribery and corruption and fled to Tunisia to avoid a 27-year jail sentence. As a result of his behaviour, he has become a symbol of corruption in Italy. The long-running joke in Milan (and Italy) was that if anything was stolen or went missing it must have been Bettino Craxi.