Located within the walls of the fortified village, the Tower is the most significant testimony of Lecco as a military stronghold, first Visconti – Sforza then Spanish.
At the same time, it ranks among the stops on the Manzonian Itinerary, for the mention of this fortress in the first chapter of the Promessi Sposi.
The tower was part of the defensive walls of the village, built after the conquest of Lecco, by Matteo Visconti in 1296 and the stabilization of power at the top of the lordship of Milan after a long period of succession wars. In the early Middle Ages the “castle” of the city was located in the fortress of S. Stefano.
The new fort, with the large keep still preserved today, must have been rebuilt in 1336-1340, at the same time as the fortified bridge over the Adda by Azzone Visconti, lord of Milan, who thanks to his works, gave Lecco the appearance we now know.
The military complex was completely surrounded by water, which widened the moat inside a small harbor and was defended by several drawbridges. The tower was the subject of continuous maintenance in the 14th and 15th centuries and reinforced with new battlements and corbels.
With the arrival of the Spaniards, the castle was garrisoned by a hundred infantry and for the maintenance of the soldiers the rulers had imposed a tax of 50 golden scudi on the inhabitants of the community and of the “Land of Bores”.
In the seventeenth century, the actual castle occupied an area of about 1200 square meters. and gave on one side towards the present XX Settembre Square and on the other towards a fenced marina.
The garrison that was staying there included a commander, a lieutenant, twenty-six soldiers and a bomber. In 1782, within the reforms wanted by Emperor Joseph II, the military stronghold of Lecco was abolished, allowing the urban development of the center and the sale of the castle to private individuals.Today only the fourteenth-century tower of the Visconti – Sforza keep remains of this building.
On the ground floor the lodgings of the guard house and some stone cannon balls are still visible.
The first floor is instead used as a space for temporary exhibitions of the Lecco City Museum System.