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—  Comune  —
Comune di Milano
A collage of Milan: The Teatro alla Scala to the top left, followed by the inside of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the exterior of the Duomo, the FieraMilano complex, the triumphal arch of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the inside of the Rho Fiera, a Dolce & Gabbana boutique in the fashionable Via della Spiga, and the Piazza del Duomo at Christmas time.

Coat of arms
Milan is located in Italy
Location of Milan in Italy
Coordinates: 45°27′51″N 09°11′25″E / 45.46417°N 9.19028°E / 45.46417; 9.19028Coordinates: 45°27′51″N 09°11′25″E / 45.46417°N 9.19028°E / 45.46417; 9.19028
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Milan (MI)
 - Mayor Letizia Moratti (PdL)
 - Total 183.77 km2 (71 sq mi)
Elevation 120 m (394 ft)
Population (30 April 2009)[1]
 - Total 1,301,394
 Density 7,081.6/km2 (18,341.4/sq mi)
 - Demonym Milanesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 20100, 20121-20162
Dialing code 02
Patron saint Ambrose
Saint day December 7
Website Official website

Milan (Italian: Milano, About this sound listen Italian pronunciation: [miˈla(ː)no]; Western Lombard: Milan, About this sound listen ) is a city in Italy and the capital of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1,300,000, while the urban area is the fifth largest in the European Union with an estimated population of 4,300,000.[2] The Milan metropolitan area, by far the largest in Italy, is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 7,400,000.[3]

The city was founded under the name of Mediolanum by the Insubres, a Celtic people. It was later captured by the Romans in 222 BC, and the city became very successful under the Roman Empire. Later Milan was ruled by the Visconti, the Sforza, the Spanish in the 1500s and the Austrians in the 1700s. In 1796, Milan was conquered by Napoleon I and he made it the capital of his Kingdom of Italy in 1805.[4][5] During the Romantic period, Milan was a major cultural centre in Europe, attracting several artists, composers and important literary figures. Later, during World War II, the city was badly affected by Allied bombings, and after German occupation in 1943, Milan became the main hub of the Italian resistance.[4] Despite this, Milan saw a post-war economic growth, attracting thousands of immigrants from Southern Italy and abroad.[4]

An international and cosmopolitan city, 13.9% of Milan's population is from abroad.[6] The city remains one of Europe's main transportational[7] and industrial hubs, and Milan is one of the EU's most important centres for business and finance, with its economy (see economy of Milan) being the world's 26th richest by purchasing power,[8] having a GDP of $115 billion. The Milan metropolitan area has Europe's 4th highest GDP: € 241.2 billion (US$ 312.3 billion) in 2004. Milan also has one of Italy's highest GDPs (per capita), about €35,137 (US$ 52,263), which is 161.6% of the EU average GDP per capita.[9] In addition to this, Milan is the world's 11th most expensive city for expatriate employees.[10] Milan has also been classified as being the 28th most powerful and influential city in the world.[11]

Milan is recognised as a world fashion and design capital, with a major global influence in commerce, industry, music, sport, literature, art and media, making it one of GaWC's major Alpha world cities.[12] The Lombard metropolis is especially famous for its fashion houses and shops (such as along Via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo (reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall). The city has a rich cultural heritage and legacy, and has a unique cuisine (it is home to numerous famous dishes, such as the Panettone Christmas cake and the risotto alla Milanese). The city has a particularly famous musical, particularly operatic, tradition, being the home of several important composers (such as Giuseppe Verdi) and theatres (such as the Teatro alla Scala). Milan is also well-known for containing several important museums, universities, academies, palaces, churches and libraries (such as the Academy of Brera and the Castello Sforzesco) and two renowned football teams: A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. This makes Milan one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, with over 1.914 million foreign arrivals to the city in 2008.[13] The city hosted the 1906 World Exposition and will host the 2015 Universal Exposition.[14]

Inhabitants of Milan are referred to as "Milanese" (Italian: Milanesi or informally Meneghini or Ambrosiani). The city is nicknamed by Milan´s inhabitants the "moral capital".[4]





The word Milan derives from the Latin name Mediolanum. This name is borne by a number of Gallo-Roman sites in France, such as Mediolanum Santonum (Saintes) and Mediolanum Aulercorum (Évreux) and appears to contain the Celtic element -lan, signifying an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word 'llan', meaning a sanctuary or church). Hence, Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a particular Celtic tribe.[5][15]

The origin of the name and of a boar as a symbol of the city are fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as "half-wool",[16] explained in Latin and in French. The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar;[17] therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool."[18] Alciato credits the most saintly and learned Ambrose for his account.[19]

The German name for the city is Mailand, while in the local Western Lombard dialect, the city's name is Milán.

Celtic and Roman times

Ruins of the Emperor's palace in Milan. Here Costantinus and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan.

Around 400 BC, the Celtic Insubres inhabited Milan and the surrounding region. In 222 BC, the Romans conquered this settlement, which imposed the name Mediolanum, even though the name used by the local people was Milàn, from the celtic Medhlan.[15] After several centuries of Roman control, Milan was declared the capital of the Western Roman Empire by Emperor Diocletian in 293 AD. Diocletian chose to stay in the Eastern Roman Empire (capital Nicomedia) and his colleague Maximianus the Western one. Immediately Maximian built several gigantic monuments, like a large circus 470 m × 85 m (1,540 ft × 280 ft), the Thermae Erculee, a large complex of imperial palaces and several other services and buildings.

In the Edict of Milan of 313, Emperor Constantine I guaranteed freedom of religion for Christians.[20] The city was besieged by the Visigoths in 402, and the imperial residence was moved to Ravenna. Fifty years later (in 452), the Huns overran the city. In 539, the Ostrogoths conquered and destroyed Milan in the course of the so-called Gothic War against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. In the summer of 569, the Longobards (from which the name of the Italian region Lombardy derives) conquered Milan, overpowering the small Byzantine army left for its defence. Some Roman structures remained in use in Milan under Lombard rule.[21] Milan surrendered to the Franks in 774 when Charlemagne, in an utterly novel decision, took the title "King of the Lombards" as well (before then the Germanic kingdoms had frequently conquered each other, but none had adopted the title of King of another people). The Iron Crown of Lombardy dates from this period. Subsequently Milan was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Middle Ages

The Biscione: the coat of arms of the House of Visconti, from the Archbishops’ palace in Piazza Duomo. The initals IO<HANNES> stand for archbishop Giovanni Visconti (1342-1354).

During the Middle Ages, Milan prospered as a centre of trade due to its command of the rich plain of the Po and routes from Italy across the Alps. The war of conquest by Frederick I Barbarossa against the Lombard cities brought the destruction of much of Milan in 1162. After the founding of the Lombard League in 1167, Milan took the leading role in this alliance. As a result of the independence that the Lombard cities gained in the Peace of Constance in 1183, Milan became a duchy. In 1208 Rambertino Buvalelli served a term as podestà of the city, in 1242 Luca Grimaldi, and in 1282 Luchetto Gattilusio. The position could be fraught with personal dangers in the violent political life of the medieval commune: in 1252 Milanese heretics assassinated the Church's Inquisitor, later known as Saint Peter Martyr, at a ford in the nearby contado [pictured right]; the killers bribed their way to freedom, and in the ensuing riot the podestà was very nearly lynched. In 1256 the archbishop and leading nobles were expelled from the city. In 1259 Martino della Torre was elected Capitano del Popolo by members of the guilds; he took the city by force, expelled his enemies, and ruled by dictatorial powers, paving streets, digging canals, successfully taxing the countryside.

His policy, however, brought the Milanese treasure to collapse; the use of often reckless mercenary units further angered the population, granting an increasing support for the Della Torre's traditional enemies, the Visconti.

On 22 July 1262 Ottone Visconti was created archbishop of Milan by Pope Urban IV, against the Della Torre candidate, Raimondo della Torre, Bishop of Como. The latter thus started to publicize a allegations of the Visconti's nearness to the heretic Cathars and charged them of high treason: the Visconti, who accused the Della Torre of the same crimes, were then banned from Milan and their properties confiscated. The civil war which ensued caused more damage to Milan's population and economy, lasting for more than a decade.

Ottone Visconti led a group of exiles unsuccessfully against the city in 1263, but after years of escalating violence on all sides, finally, after the victory in the Battle of Desio (1277), he won the city for his family. The Visconti succeeded in ousting the della Torre forever, ruling the city and its possession until the 15th century.

Much of the prior history of Milan was the tale of the struggle between two political factions—the Guephs and Ghibellines. Most of the time the Guelphs were successful in the city of Milan. However, the Visconti family was were able to seize power (signoria) in Milan, based on their "Ghibelline" friendship with the German Emperors.[22] In 1395, one of these emperors, Wenceslas (1378–1400), raised the Milanese to the dignity of a duchy.[23] Also in 1395, Gian Galeazzo Visconti became duke of Milan. The Ghibelline Visconti family was to retain power in Milan for a century and a half from the early fourteenth century until the middle of the fifteenth century.[24]

The Renaissance and the House of Sforza

The Castello Sforzesco, symbol of the power of the House of Sforza
Milan in the 17th century

In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died without a male heir; following the end of the Visconti line, the Ambrosian Republic was enacted. The Ambrosian Republic took its name from St. Ambrose, popular patron saint of the city of Milan.[25] Both the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions worked together to bring about the Ambrosian Republic in Milan. However, the Republic collapsed when in 1450, Milan was conquered by Francesco Sforza, of the House of Sforza, which made Milan one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.[15][25]

Periods of French, Spanish and Austrian domination

The French king Louis XII first laid claim to the duchy in 1492. At that time, Milan was defended by Swiss mercenaries. After the victory of Louis's successor Francis I over the Swiss at the Battle of Marignano, the duchy was promised to the French king Francis I. When the Habsburg Charles V defeated Francis I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, northern Italy, including Milan, passed to the House of Habsburg.[26]

In 1556, Charles V abdicated in favour of his son Philip II and his brother Ferdinand I. Charles's Italian possessions, including Milan, passed to Philip II and the Spanish line of Habsburgs, while Ferdinand's Austrian line of Habsburgs ruled the Holy Roman Empire. The Great Plague of Milan in 1629–31 killed an estimated 60,000 people out of a population of 130,000. This episode is considered one of the last outbreaks of the centuries-long pandemic of plague which began with the Black Death.[27]

In 1700 the Spanish line of Habsburgs was extinguished with the death of Charles II. After his death, the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 with the occupation of all Spanish possessions by French troops backing the claim of the French Philippe of Anjou to the Spanish throne. In 1706, the French were defeated in Ramillies and Turin and were forced to yield northern Italy to the Austrian Habsburgs. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht formally confirmed Austrian sovereignty over most of Spain's Italian possessions including Lombardy and its capital, Milan.

19th century

Milanese patriots fight Austrian troops during the Five Days.

Napoleon conquered Lombardy in 1796, and Milan was declared capital of the Cisalpine Republic. Later, he declared Milan capital of the Kingdom of Italy and was crowned in the Duomo. Once Napoleon's occupation ended, the Congress of Vienna returned Lombardy, and Milan, along with Veneto, to Austrian control in 1815.[28] During this period, Milan became a centre of lyric opera. Here in the 1770s Mozart had premiered three operas at the Teatro Regio Ducal. Later La Scala became the reference theatre in the world, with its premières of Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi. Verdi himself is interred in the "Casa di Riposo per Musicisti", his present to Milan. In the 19th century other important theatres were La Cannobiana and the Teatro Carcano.

Milan's central station as it was around 1864.

On March 18, 1848, the Milanese rebelled against Austrian rule, during the so-called "Five Days" (Italian: Le Cinque Giornate), and Field Marshal Radetzky was forced to withdraw from the city temporarily. However, after defeating Italian forces at Custoza on July 24, Radetzky was able to reassert Austrian control over Milan and northern Italy. However, Italian nationalists, championed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, called for the removal of Austria in the interest of Italian unification. Sardinia and France formed an alliance and defeated Austria at the Battle of Solferino in 1859.[29] Following this battle, Milan and the rest of Lombardy were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia, which soon gained control of most of Italy and in 1861 was rechristened as the Kingdom of Italy.

The political unification of Italy cemented Milan's commercial dominance over northern Italy. It also led to a flurry of railway construction that made Milan the rail hub of northern Italy. Rapid industrialization put Milan at the centre of Italy's leading industrial region, though in the 1890s Milan was shaken by the Bava-Beccaris massacre, a riot related to a high inflation rate. Meanwhile, as Milanese banks dominated Italy's financial sphere, the city became the country's leading financial centre. Milan's economic growth brought a rapid expansion in the city's area and population during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[5]

20th century

A view of the Main Hall during the World Exposition of 1906, held in Milan.
A map of the city of Milan in 1914.

In 1919, Benito Mussolini organized the Blackshirts, who formed the core of Italy's Fascist movement, in Milan and, in 1922, the March on Rome began from the city.

During the Second World War Milan suffered severe damage from British and American bombing. Even though Italy quit the war in 1943, the Germans occupied most of Northern Italy until 1945. Some of the worst Allied bombing of Milan was in 1944 and much of them focused around Milan's main railway station. In 1943, anti-German resistance in occupied Italy increased and there was much fighting in Milan.

As the war came to an end, the American 1st Armored Division advanced on Milan as part of the Po Valley Campaign. But even before they arrived, members of the Italian resistance movement rose up in open revolt in Milan and liberated the city. Nearby, Mussolini and several members of his Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana, or RSI) were captured by the resistance at Dongo and executed. On 29 April 1945, the bodies of the Fascists were taken to Milan and hanged unceremoniously upside-down at Piazzale Loreto, a major public square.

After the war the city was the site of a refugee camp for Jews fleeing from Austria. During the economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s a large wave of internal immigration, especially from Southern Italy, moved to Milan and the population peaked at 1,723,000 in 1971. During this period, Milan saw a re-construction of most of its destroyed buildings and factories, and was affected by a rapid post-war economic growth, called Il boom in Italy. The city saw the construction of several innovative and modernist buildings and skyscrapers, such as the Torre Velasca and the Pirelli Tower. Milan was, however, in the late-1960s until the late-1970s seriously affected by the Marxist/Leninist/Communist Italian group called Brigate Rosse, or Red Brigades, and the city was often filled with political manifestations and protests. As a matter of fact, on December 12, 1969, a bomb exploded in the National Agrarian Bank in the Piazza Fontana, killing seventeen and injuring eighty-eight people.

The population of Milan begun to shrink during the late 1970s, so in the last 30 years almost one third of the total city population moved to the outer belt of new suburbs and small cities that grew around Milan proper.[30] At the same time the city become to attract also increasing fluxes of foreign immigration. Emblematic of the new phenomenon is the quick and great extension of a Milanese Chinatown, a district in the area around Via Paolo Sarpi, Via Bramante, Via Messina and Via Rosmini, populated by Chinese immigrants from Zhejiang, one of today's most picturesque districts in the city. Milan is also home to one-third of all Filipinos in Italy, harbouring a sizeable and steadily growing population that numbers just over 33,000[31] with a birth rate averaging 1000 births a year.[32]

The Pirelli Tower under construction, symbol of the post-war Italian economic miracle
View of Piazza del Duomo, Milan in the early 20th century.

In the 1980s, Milan's industry began to be extremely successful. As it became a major exporter of textiles and several clothing labels headquartered in the city began to become internationally renowned (such as Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana), Milan began to be recognized internationally as a major fashion capital, and the traditionally affordable and practical, yet stylish and chic attire produced by the city's stylists made it a serious global competitor, threatening Paris' century-long status as the world capital haute couture or high-fashion. The city also saw a rise in the number of internation tourists, notably from China, Japan or other Far-Eastern countries. This period of prosperity and the new international image of the city being a "capital of fashion" led many journalists to call the metropolis during the period "Milano da bere", literally "Milan to drink".[33]

In the 1990s, Milan was badly affected by Tangentopoli, a serious political scandal centered in the Palazzo delle Stelline complex, in which several politicians and businessmen were tried for alleged corruption. The city also underwent a financial crisis, and faced sluggish industrial growth, compared to that of the 1950s and 1980s. Despite this, Milan ripened its image as a fashion and design capital, with new labels such as Miu Miu setting up. By the late-1990s, Milan regained some slight industrial and economic stimulus to grow.

By the early 2000s, Milan's economy which had been stagnant in the early-1990s began to re-grow slightly again, yet this was short-lived and the city, despite having relieved itself from Tangentopoli's strain, fell into another economic recession and crisis. This period saw a rapid fall in Milan's industrial exports, and the Asian textile and clothing companies began to rival the still strong, yet declining Milanese fashion labels. However, Milan was able to maintain its strong economy, firstly by moving its Fiera (an exposition of products related to mainly industrial design) to a new establishment in Rho just outside the city,[34] and the announcement in 2008 of the city hosting the Expo 2015[35] has brightened prospects for the city's future, with several new plans of regeneration and the planned construction of numerous avant-garde structures. Despite Milan's industrial production is declining,[36] the city has found alternative and successful sources of revenue, including publishing, finance, banking, food production, IT technology, logistics, transport and tourism.[36] Overall, Milan's population seems to have stabilized in recent years, and there has been only a slight increase in the population of the city since 2001.[30]

Municipal Administration

The nine districts of Milan


Of nine boroughs into which Milan is divided, eight are governed by centre-right coalition (1-8) and one by centre-left coalition (9).

Administrative divisions

The city of Milan is subdivided into administrative zones, called Zona. Before 1999, the city had 21 Zone; in 1999 the administration decided to reduce the number of these zones from 21 to 9. Today, the Zona 1 is in the "historic centre", the zone within the perimeter of the Spanish-era city walls; the other eight cover the areas from the Zona 1 borders to the city limits.[37]



The district of Milan is located in the Padan Plain in the west-central area, inclusive among the rivers Ticino and Adda, among the river Po and the first reliefs of the Alps. It has a surface area of 181 km2 and is 122 metres above sea level.


Milan experiences a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa)[38] with some continental characteristics. This is typical of Northern Italy's inland plains, where hot, humid summers and cold, damp winters prevail, unlike the Mediterranean climate characteristic of the rest of Italy.[39]

Average temperatures in city center are -3 to 4 °C (
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{4}="def", in {{Convert|19|to|30|def|...}}. ) in July. Snowfalls are relatively common during winter, even if in the last 15–20 years they have decreased in frequency . The historic average of Milan's area is between 35 and 45 cm (16"/18"); single snowfalls over 30–50 cm in 1–3 days happen periodically, with a record of 80–100 cm during the famous snowfall of January 1985. Humidity is quite high during the whole year and annual precipitation averages about 1000 mm (40 in).[39] In the stereotypical image, the city is often shrouded in the fog characteristic of the Po Basin, although the removal of rice fields from the southern neighbourhoods, the urban heat island effect and the reduction of pollution levels have reduced this phenomenon in recent years, at least in the city centre.

Climate data for Milano
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.4
Average low °C (°F) -1.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 64.3
Avg. precipitation days 7.2 6.7 7.9 8.3 8.1 7.6 5.8 7.1 5.2 6.8 8.5 6.3 85.5
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[40] 26 January 2010

Architecture and main sights


The Romanesque façade to the ancient basilica of San Simpliciano

There are few remains of the ancient Roman colony that later became a capital of the Western Roman Empire. During the second half of the 4th century CE, Saint Ambrose, as bishop of Milan, had a strong influence on the layout of the city, redesigning the centre (although the cathedral and baptistery built at this time are now lost) and building the great basilicas at the city gates: Sant'Ambrogio, San Nazaro in Brolos, San Simpliciano and Sant'Eustorgio, which still stand, refurbished over the centuries, as some of the finest and most important churches in Milan.

A centrally planned architectural drawing from Leonardo’s period in Milan. (Paris Manuscript B)

The largest and most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy, the Milan Cathedral, is the fourth largest cathedral in the world[41] after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Cathedral of Seville and a new cathedral in the Ivory Coast.[41] Built between 1386 and 1577, it hosts the world's largest collection of marble statues with the widely visible golden Madonna statue on top of the spire, nicknamed by the people of Milan as Madunina (the little Madonna), that became one of the symbols of the city.

Milan Cathedral: The Madonna dell’Albero chapel, by Francesco Maria Ricchino (1614).

During the rule of the Sforza family, between the 14th and 15th centuries, the old Visconti fortress was enlarged and embellished to became the Castello Sforzesco: the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park stocked with game captured around the Seprio and Lake Como. Notable architects involved in the project included the Florentine Filarete, who was commissioned to build the high central entrance tower, and the military specialist Bartolomeo Gadio.[42] The political alliance between Francesco Sforza and the Florence of Cosimo de’ Medici bore architectural fruit, as Milanese building came under the influence of Brunelleschian models of Renaissance architecture. The first notable buildings to show this Tuscan influence were a palazzo built to house the Medici Bank (of which only the main entrance survives) and the centrally planned Portinari Chapel, attached to San Lorenzo and built for the first manager of the bank’s Milan branch. Filarete, while in Milan, was responsible for the great public hospital known as the Ospedale Maggiore, and also for an influential Treatise on Architecture, which included a plan for a star-shaped ideal city called Sforzinda in honour of Francesco Sforza and passionately argued for the centrally planned form. Leonardo da Vinci, who was in Milan from around 1482 until the fall of the city to the French in 1499, was commissioned in 1487 to design a tiburio, or crossing tower for the cathedral, although he was not chosen to build it.[43][44] However the enthusiasm he shared with Filarete for the centrally planned building gave rise in this period to numerous architectural drawings [pictured] which were influential in the work of Donato Bramante and others. Bramante’s work in the city, which included Santa Maria presso San Satiro (a reconstruction of a small ninth-century church), the beautiful luminous tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie and three cloisters for Sant’Ambrogio, drew also on his studies of the Early Christian architecture of Milan such as the Basilica of San Lorenzo.[45]

An eighteen-century engraving of Palazzo Litta, showing the new façade, completed in 1761.
A nineteenth-century depiction of the Teatro alla Scala, constructed in the 1770s.

The Counter-Reformation was also the period of Spanish domination and was marked by two powerful figures: Saint Charles Borromeo and his cousin, Cardinal Federico Borromeo. Not only did they impose themselves as moral guides to the people of Milan, but they also gave a great impulse to culture, with the creation of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, in a building designed by Francesco Maria Ricchino, and the nearby Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Many beautiful churches and Baroque mansions were built in the city during this period by the architects, Pellegrino Tibaldi, Galeazzo Alessi and Ricchino himself.[46]

The façade of the Neoclassical Palazzo Belgiojoso, constructed between 1772 and 1781, for the noble Milanese Belgiojoso family.

Empress Maria Theresa of Austria was responsible for the significant renovations carried out in Milan during the 18th century. She instigated profound social and civil reforms, as well as the construction of many of the buildings that still today constitute the pride of the city, like the Teatro alla Scala, inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and today one of the world's most famous opera houses. The annexed Museo Teatrale alla Scala contains a collection of paintings, drafts, statues, costumes, and other documents regarding opera and La Scala's history. La Scala also hosts the Ballet School of the Teatro alla Scala. The Austrian sovereign also promoted culture in Milan through projects such as converting the ancient Jesuit College, in the district of Brera, into a scientific and cultural centre with a Library, an astronomic observatory and the botanical gardens, in which the Art Gallery and the Academy of Fine Arts are today placed side by side.

The domed crossing of the nineteenth-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milan was also widely affected by the Neoclassical movement in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, transforming its architectural style. Napoleon Bonaparte's rule of the city in the early 1800s produced several fine Neoclassical edifices and palaces, including the Villa Reale, or often called the Villa del Belgiojoso (not related to the Palazzo Begiojoso). It is situated on Via Palestro and near to the Giardini Pubblici and it was constructed by Leopoldo Pollak in 1790.[47] It housed the Bonaparte family, mainly Josephine Bonaparte, but also several others, such as Count Joseph Radetzky von Radetz and Eugène de Beauharnais.[47] It is often regarded as one of the best types of Neoclassical architecture in Milan and Lombardy and is surrounded by an English landscape garden. Today, it hosts the Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea (English: Gallery of Contemporary Art) and it is lavishly decorated inside with ornate classical columns, vast halls, marble statues and crystal chandeliers.[47] The Palazzo Belgiojoso was also a grand Napoleonic residence and one of the finest examples of Milanese Neoclassical architecture. There are also several other important Neoclassical monuments in the city include the Arco della Pace or the Arch of Peace, sometimes called the Arco Sempione (Sempione Arch) and is situated in Piazza Sempione right at the end of the Parco Sempione. It is often compared to a miniature version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The work on the arch began in 1806 under Napoleon I and it was designed by Luigi Cagnola. Just like with the Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's 1826 defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, halted the construction of the monumental arch, but Emperor Franz Josef (Francis Joseph) I of Austria ordered it to be completed, also as an honour to the Vienna Congress and peace treaty of 1815. It was completed by Francesco Peverelli on 10 September 1838.[47] Another noted Neoclassic building in the city is the Palazzo del Governo, constructed in 1817 by Piero Gilardoni.[47]

The Torre Velasca, a symbol of 1950s Milan, built by BBPR.

In the second half of the 19th century, Milan assumed the status of main industrial city of the peninsula and drew inspiration to the urbanization from other European capitals, center of those technological innovations that constituted the symbol of the second industrial revolution and, consequently, of the great social change that had been put in motion. The great Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered passage that connects Piazza del Duomo, Milan to the square opposite of La Scala, was built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 to celebrate Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy. The passage is covered over by an arching glass and cast iron roof, a popular design for 19th-century arcades, such as the Burlington Arcade, London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels and the Passazh in St Petersburg. Another late-19th century eclectic monument in the city is the Cimitero Monumentale (literally, "Monumental Cemetary or graveyard"), which is found in the Stazione district of the city and was built in a Neo-Romanesque style by several architects from 1863 to 1866.

The tumultuous period of the 20th century also brought several innovations in architecture. A form of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Fascist style is seen for the monumental city's Central Station (Stazione Centrale). The post-World War II period of reconstruction saw rapid economic growth that was accompanied by an increase in the population and the founding of new districts, but also for the strong drive for architectural renewal, has produced some of the milestones in the city’s architectural history including Gio Ponti’s Pirelli Tower (1955–59), the Velasca Tower (1958), the creation of new residential districts and, in recent years, the construction of the new exhibition centre in Rho and the urban renewal of once industrial areas, that have been transformed into modern residential districts and services, like the City Life business and residential center.

Parks and Gardens

The Parco Sempione, the city's main public park.
The Giardini Pubblici di Porta Venezia, laid out in the 1780s, are one of Milan's oldest remaining public parks.

Despite the fact that Milan has a very small amount of green space in comparison to cities of its size,[48] the city does boast a wide variety of parks and gardens. The first public parks were established 1857 and 1862, and were designed by Giuseppe Balzaretto. They were situated in a "green park district", found in the areas of Piazzale Oberdan (Porta Venezia), Corso Venezia, Via Palestro and Via Manin.[49] Most of them were landscaped in a Neo-classical style and represented traditional English gardens, often full of botanic richness.[49] The most important parks in Milan are: Parco Sempione (near to the Castello Sforzesco), Parco Forlani, Giardini Pubblici, Giardino della Villa Comunale, Giardini della Guastalla and Parco Lambro. Parco Sempione is a large public park, situated between the Castello Sforzesco and the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace), near Piazza Sempione. It was constructed by Emilio Alemagna, and contains a Napoleonic Arena, the Civico Acquario di Milano (Civic Aquarium of Milan), a tower, an art exhibition centre, some ponds and a library.[49] Then there is Parco Forlani, which, with a size of 235 hectares is the largest park in Milan,[49] and contains a hill and a pond. Giardini Pubblici is among Milan's oldest remaining public parks, founded on 29 November 1783, and completed around 1790.[50] It is landscaped in an English garden Neo-classical style, and contains a pond, the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano and the Villa Reale. Giardini della Guastalla is also one of the oldest gardens in Milan, and consists mainly of a decorated fish pond.

Milan also contains three important botanical gardens: the Orto Botanico Didattico Sperimentale dell'Università di Milano (a small botanical garden operated by the Istituto di Scienze Botaniche), the Orto Botanico di Brera (another botanical garden, founded in 1774 by Fulgenzio Witman, an abbot under the orders of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and restored in 1998 after several years of abandonment) and the Orto Botanico di Cascina Rosa.

On January 23, 2003 a Garden of the Righteous was established in Monte Stella to commemorate those who opposed genocides and crimes against humankind. It hosts trees dedicated to Moshe Bejski, Andrei Sakharov, the founders of the Gardens of the Righteous in Yerevan and Sarajevo Svetlana Broz and Pietro Kuciukian, and others. The decision to commemorate a "Righteous" person in this Garden is made every year by a commission of high-profile characters.


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 267,618
1871 290,514 8.6%
1881 354,041 21.9%
1901 538,478 52.1%
1911 701,401 30.3%
1921 818,148 16.6%
1931 960,660 17.4%
1936 1,115,768 16.1%
1951 1,274,154 14.2%
1961 1,582,421 24.2%
1971 1,732,000 9.5%
1981 1,604,773 −7.3%
1991 1,369,231 −14.7%
2001 1,256,211 −8.3%
2009 Est. 1,301,394 3.6%
Source: ISTAT 2001

The city proper has a population of 1,301,394 inhabitants as of April 2009. Since the population peak of 1971, the city proper has lost almost one third of its population, mostly due to suburban sprawl subsequent to the deindustrialization process of the last three decades. The urban area of Milan, largely coinciding with its administrative province, is the fifth largest in the E.U. with an estimated population of 4.3 million. The growth of many suburbs and satellite settlements around the city proper since the great economic boom of the 1950-60s have defined the extent and pattern of the metropolitan area, and commuting flows suggest that socioeconomic linkages have expanded well beyond the boundaries of the city and its province, creating a metropolitan area of 7.4 million population expanded all over the central section of Lombardy region.[51][52] It has been suggested that the Milan metropolitan area is part of the so-called Blue Banana, the area of Europe with the highest population and industrial density.[53]


Since the end of World War II, Milan has been host to two waves of mass immigration, the first from within Italy, the second from outside the peninsula. These two immigrations have corresponded with two different economic phases. The first immigration coincided with the economic miracle of 1950s and 1960s, a period of extraordinary growth based around classic industry and public works. The second immigration has taken place against the background of a vastly different economy, centered around services, small industry and post-industrial scenarios. The first concerned Italians, from the countryside, the mountains and the cities of the South, the East or the other provinces of Lombardy. The second concerns non-Italians, from a myriad of countries but above all from North Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. By the end of the 1990s Milan had a 10 per cent foreign immigrant population, the vast majority of whom worked in the low-level service sector (restaurant workers, cleaners, maids, domestic workers) or in factories.[54] As of January 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 181,393 foreign-born immigrants lived in Milan, representing 13.9% of the total population.[6]


Piazza Duca d'Aosta business district: the Pirelli Tower and the Milano Centrale railway station.

Milan is one of the world's major financial and business centres, and with a 2004 GDP of € 241.2 billion (US$ 312.3 billion),[55] the Milan metropolitan area has the 4th highest GDPs in Europe: were it a country, it would rank as the twenty-eighth largest economy in the world, almost as large as the Austrian economy[56]

The Piazzale Cordusio, a busy commercial square in central Milan where several important buildings, such as the main post office, palace of the Credito Italiano and the headquarters of the mega-company Assicurazioni Generali are held. It is also the site of the old Milan Stock Exchange.

The city is the seat of the Italian Stock Exchange (the Borsa Italiana) and its hinterland is the largest industrial area in Italy. It was included in a list of ten "Alpha world cities" by Peter J. Taylor and Robert E. Lang of the Brookings Institution in the economic report "U.S. Cities in the 'World City Network'" (Key Findings, Full ReportPDF (940 KB)), along with Madrid, Seoul, Moscow, Brussels, Toronto, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur.

In the late 12th century the arts flourished and the making of armours was the most important industry. This period saw the beginning of those irrigation works which still render the Lombard plain a fertile garden. The development of the wool trade subsequently gave the first impetus to the production of silk.

As in Venice and Florence, the making of luxury goods was an industry of such importance that in the 16th century the city gave its name to the English word “milaner” or “millaner”, meaning fine wares like jewellery, cloth, hats and luxury apparel. By the 19th century, a later variant, “millinery”, had come to mean one who made or sold hats.

The industrial revolution in Northern Europe gave a new prominence to the north area of Milan. It sat on the trade route for goods coming over the Alps, and built mills powered by water from the many rivers and streams.

In the mid-19th century cheaper silk began to be imported from Asia and the pest phylloxera damaged silk and wine production. More land was subsequently given over to industrialisation. Textile production was followed by metal and mechanical and furniture manufacture.

Today Milan is a major centre for the production of textile and garments, automobiles (Alfa Romeo) , chemicals, industrial tools, heavy machinery, book and music publishing.

FieraMilano, the exhibition center, had a fair ground known as "FieraMilanoCity", which was dismantled, except for a few remarkable buildings (including the cycle sports stadium, built in the '20s), to be house for an urban development, CityLife, exploiting its vicinity to the city centre. The new fair ground, in the north-western suburb of Rho, which was opened in April 2005, makes the Fiera Milano the largest trade fair complex in the world.

Milan and the future

Expo 2015 logo

Milan is undergoing an urban re-design. Construction projects are under way to rehabilitate disused industrial areas on the periphery. The schemes include the addition to the Teatro alla Scala; the CityLife project in the old "fiera" site; the new quarter Santa Giulia; and the Porta Nuova project in the Garibaldi-Repubblica zone. Many famous architects participate, such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas and Daniel Libeskind. The tasks will change the skyline of Milan, which would no longer be dominated by the Duomo and the Pirelli Tower.

Milan will host Expo 2015 as a renewed city in the wake of this modernization.

International status

According to the Global City Power Index, Milan was ranked in 2008 as the 27th most powerful city in the world, and 28th in 2009 with a score of 203.5, coming after Beijing and Kuala Lumpur and surpassing Bangkok, Fukuoka, Taipei and Moscow.[11] In the different sectors of the study, Milan arrived worldwide 29th in economics, 30th in R&D, 18th in cultural activities, 18th in livability, 27th in environmental issues, and 15th in accessibility.[11]

The city also ranked highly in statistics of livability and specific person environment, being the 12th best place in Europe for managing, 13th for researching, 8th for both artistic and touristic opportunities, and the 11th top city in Europe for livability.[11]


A view of the Palazzo Beccaria in the picturesque Brera quarter, one of the most popular with tourists and visited attractions in Milan.
The interior of the Park Hyatt hotel in Milan, one of the city's most exclusive and luxurious.

Milan is one of EU's most important tourist destinations; with 1.902 million arrivals in 2007 and 1.914 million in 2008, it places itself 42nd and 52nd respectively, most visited city in the world.[13] According to a particular source, 56% of international visitors to Milan are from Europe, whilst 44% of the city's tourists are Italian, and 56% are from abroad.[48] The most important European Union markets are the United Kingdom (16%), Germany (9%) and France (6%).[48] According to the same study, most of the visitors who come from the USA to the city go on business matters, whilst Chinese and Japanese tourists mainly take up the leisure segment.[48] The city boasts several popular tourist attractions, such as the city's Duomo and Piazza, the Teatro alla Scala, the San Siro Stadium, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Castello Sforzesco, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Via Montenapoleone. Most tourists visit sights such as Milan Cathedral, the Castello Sforzesco and the Teatro alla Scala, however, other main sights such as the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, the Navigli and the Brera Academy and district are less visited and prove to be less popular.[48] The city also has numerous hotels, including the ultra-luxurious Town House Galleria, which is the world's first seven-star hotel, ranked officially by the Société Générale de Surveillance, and one of The Leading Hotels of the World.[57] Milan also contains several boutique or fashion hotels, including the new Armani World, which is planned to open in 2010. It is a huge hotel situated in the Via Manzoni (in the Via Montenapoleone fashion district), and is found in a 1930s building. It is planned to contain 95 rooms, and everything will be in an Armani-based theme.[58] Other notable hotels in the city include the historic Grand Hotel et de Milan (where Giuseppe Verdi died), the Hotel Four Seasons, or the station Grand Hotel Gallia in the Piazza Duca d'Aosta, to name but a few.

The average stay for a tourist in the city is of 3.43 nights, whilst foreigners stay for longer periods of time, 77% of which stay for a 2-5 night average.[48] Of the 75% of visitors which stay in hotels, 4-star ones are the most popular (47%), whilst 5-stars, or less than 3-stars represent 11% and 15% of the charts respectively.


Figurative art

Milan was major artistic centre thorughout the centuries. Numerous art institutes, academies and galleries (such as the Brera Academy and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana) exist in the city.

Milan's art flourished in the Middle-Ages, and with the Visconti family being major patrons of the arts, the city became an important centre of Gothic art and architecture (Milan Cathedral being the city's most formidable work of Gothic architecture).[59] Also, rule of the Sforza family, between the 14th and 15th century, was another period in which art and architecture flourished. The Sforza Castle became the seat of an elegant Renaissance court,[60] while great works, such as the Ospedale Maggiore, the public hospital designed by Filarete were built, and artists of the calibre of Leonardo da Vinci came to work in Milan, leaving works of inestimable value, such as the fresco of the Last Supper and the Codex Atlanticus. Bramante also came to Milan to work on the construction of some of the most beautiful churches in the city; in Santa Maria delle Grazie the beautiful luminous tribune is by Bramante, as is the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro.

The city was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, and hosted numerous formidable artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio. Caravaggio's Baroque masterpiece "Basket of Fruit", is held in Milan's Biblioteca Ambrosiana and his "Supper at Emmaus" is held in the Brera Academy.[59] Milan became a major European artistic centre during the Romantic period, when Milanese Romantic was influenced by the Austrians, who ruled Milan at the time. Probably the most notable of all Romantic works of art held in Milan is "The Kiss", by Francesco Hayez, which is held in the Brera Academy.[59]

Milan and the whole of Italy, was later, in the 20th century, influenced by Futurism. Filippo Marinetti, the founder of Italian Futurism wrote in his 1909 "Futurist Manifesto" (in Italian, Manifesto Futuristico), that Milan was "grande...tradizionale e futurista" ("grand...traditional and futuristic", in English). Umberto Boccioni was also an important Futuristic artist in the city.[59] Today, Milan remains a major international hub of modern and contemporary art, with numerous modern exhibitions.[59]


Due Foglie sofa by Giò Ponti.

Milan is one of the international capitals of industrial and modern design, and is regarded as one of the world's most influential cities in such fields.[61] The city is particularly well-known for its high-quality ancient and modern furniture and industrial goods. Milan hosts the FieraMilano, Europe's biggest, and one of the world's most prestigious furniture and design fairs.[61] Milan also hosts major design and architecture-related events and venues, such as the "Fuori Salone" and the "Salone del Mobile".

In the 1950s and 60s, being the main industrial centre of Italy and one of mainland Europe's most progressive and dynamic cities, Milan became, along with Turin, Italy's capital of post-war design and architecture. Skyscrapers, such as the Pirelli Tower and the Torre Velasca were constructed, and architects such as Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni, to name a few, either lived or worked in the city.[62]


In the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th, Milan was an important centre for intellectual discussion and literary creativity. The Enlightenment found here a fertile ground. Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria, with his famous Dei delitti e delle pene, and Count Pietro Verri, with the periodical Il Caffè were able to exert a considerable influence over the new middle-class culture, thanks also to an open-minded Austrian administration. In the first years of the nineteenth century, the ideals of the Romantic movement made their impact on the cultural life of the city and its major writers debated the primacy of Classical versus Romantic poetry. Here, too, Giuseppe Parini, and Ugo Foscolo published their most important works, and were admired by younger poets as masters of ethics, as well as of literary craftsmanship. Foscolo's poem Dei sepolcri was inspired by a Napoleonic law which—against the will of many of its inhabitants—was being extended to the city.

In the third decade of the 19th century, Alessandro Manzoni wrote his novel I Promessi Sposi, considered the manifesto of Italian Romanticism, which found in Milan its centre. The periodical Il Conciliatore published articles by Silvio Pellico, Giovanni Berchet, Ludovico di Breme, who were both Romantic in poetry and patriotic in politics.

After the Unification of Italy in 1861, Milan lost its political importance; nevertheless it retained a sort of central position in cultural debates. New ideas and movements from other countries of Europe were accepted and discussed: thus Realism and Naturalism gave birth to an Italian movement, Verismo. The greatest verista novelist, Giovanni Verga, was born in Sicily but wrote his most important books in Milan.

Music and Performing arts

The interior of the prestigious La Scala operahouse.

Milan is a major nation-wide and international centre of the performing arts, most notably opera. Milan hosts La Scala operahouse, considered one of the most prestigious operahouses in the world,[63] and throughout history has hosted the premieres of numerous operas, such as Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi in 1842, La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini in 1904, Turandot by Giacomo Puccini in 1926, and more recently Teneke, by Fabio Vacchi in 2007, to name but a few. Other major theatres in Milan include the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Teatro Dal Verme, Teatro Lirico (Milan) and the Teatro Regio Ducal. The city also has a renownded symphony orchestra and musical conservatory, and has been, throughout history, a major centre for musical composition: numerous famous composers and musicians such as Gioseppe Caimo, Simon Boyleau, Hoste da Reggio, Verdi, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, Paolo Cherici and Alice Edun are or were from, or call or called Milan their home. The city has also formed numerous modern ensembles and bands, such as the Dynamis Ensemble, Stormy Six and the Camerata Mediolanense have been formed.


Corso Venezia, one of the main "Milan Fashion Quadrilateral" streets.
Via Dante, another main Milanese shopping street which connects Piazzale Cordusio with the Castello Sforzesco.

Milan is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, along with New York, Paris, Rome and London (as a matter of fact, the Global Language Monitor which every year nominates the top fashion capitals of the world has declared that Milan was in 2008 the top economic and media global capital of fashion).[64] Most of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are currently headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also operate shops in Milan, including an Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store which has become a main consumer attraction. Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year, just like other international centres such as Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York. Milan's main upscale fashion district is the "quadrilatero della moda" (literally, "fashion quadrilateral"), where the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia) are held. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza del Duomo, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires are other important shopping streets and squares. Mario Prada, founder of Prada was even born here, helping to cultivate its position as a world fashion capital.


Milan is the base of operations for many local and nationwide communication services and businesses, such as newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations.



Radio stations


  • March 18-March 22: Commemoration of the 1848 revolution or the five Days of Milan.
  • April 25: Milan's liberation from German occupation during World War II.
  • December 7: Feast of Saint Ambrose (Festa di Sant'Ambrogio).
  • December 12: Commemoration of the Piazza Fontana bombings.


In addition to Italian, approximately a third of the population of western Lombardy can speak the Western Lombard language, also known as Insubric. In Milan, some natives of the city can speak the traditional Milanese language—that is to say the urban variety of Western Lombard, which is not to be confused with the Milanese-influenced regional variety of the Italian language.


The Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, one of the city's most important and oldest churches.

Milan's population, like that of Italy as a whole, is overwhelmingly Catholic. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan. Other religions practised include: Orthodox Churches,[65] Buddhism,[66] Judaism,[67] Islam[68][69] and Protestantism.[70][71]

Milan has its own historic Catholic rite known as the Ambrosian Rite (Italian: Rito ambrosiano). It varies slightly from the typical Catholic rite (the Roman, used in all other western regions), with some differences in the liturgy and mass celebrations, and in the calendar (for example, the date for the beginning of lent is celebrated some days after the common date, so the carnival has different date). The Ambrosian rite is also practised in other surrounding locations in Lombardy and in the Swiss canton of Ticino.

Another important difference concerns the liturgical music. The Gregorian chant was completely unused in Milan and surrounding areas, because the official one was its own Ambrosian chant, definitively established by the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and earlier than the Gregorian.[72] To preserve this music there has developed the unique schola cantorum, a college, and an Institute in partnership with the "Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of Sacred Music" (PIAMS) in Rome [2].


Several (especially Italian) films have been set in Milan, including "Calmi Cuori Appassionati"', "The International (film)", "La mala ordina", "Milano calibro 9", "Miracle in Milan", "La notte", and "Rocco and His Brothers".


Panettone, Milanese traditional Christmas cake

Like most cities in Italy, Milan and its surrounding area has its own regional cuisine, which, as it is typical for Lombard cuisines, uses more frequently rice than pasta, and features almost no tomato. Milanese cuisine includes "cotoletta alla milanese", a breaded veal (pork and turkey can be used) cutlet pan-fried in butter (which some claim to be of Austrian origin, as it is similar to Viennese "Wienerschnitzel", while others claim that the "Wienerschnitzel" derived from the "cotoletta alla milanese").

Cakes and pastries served in Milan's renowned Caffè Cova, a pasticceria in the Via Montenapoleone fashion district.

Other typical dishes are cassoeula (stewed pork rib chops and sausage with Savoy cabbage), ossobuco (stewed veal shank with a sauce called gremolata), risotto alla milanese (with saffron and beef marrow), busecca (stewed tripe with beans), and brasato (stewed beef or pork with wine and potatoes). Season-related pastries include chiacchiere (flat fritters dusted with sugar) and tortelli (fried spherical cookies) for Carnival, colomba (glazed cake shaped as a dove) for Easter, pane dei morti ("Deads' Day bread", cookies aromatized with cinnamon) for All Soul's Day and panettone for Christmas.

The salame milano, a salami with a very fine grain, is widespread throughout Italy. The best known Milanese cheese is gorgonzola from the namesake town nearby, although today the major gorgonzola producers operate in Piedmont.

On addition to a unique cuisine, Milan has several world-renowned restaurants and cafés. Most of the more rafined and upper-class restaurants are found in the historic centre, whilst the more traditional and popular ones are mainly located in the Brera and Navigli districts. Today, there is also a Nobu Japanese restaurant in Milan, which is located in Armani World in Via Manzoni and is regarded as being one of the trendiest restaurants in the city.[73] One of the city's chicest cafés or pasticcerie is the Caffè Cova, an ancient Milanese coffeehouse founded in 1817 near the Teatro alla Scala, which has also opened franchises in Hong Kong.[74] The Biffi Caffè and the Zucca in Galleria are also famous and historical ‘Caffès’ which are situated in Milan. Other restaurants in Milan include the Hotel Four Seasons restaurant, ‘La Briciola’, the Marino alla Scala and the Chandelier. Today, there is also a McDonald's fast-food restaurant in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and some new boutique-cafés, such as the Just Cavalli Café in Via della Spiga, owned by the luxury fashion goods brand Roberto Cavalli.


San Siro Stadium, one of Europe's largest stadiums

The city hosted, among other events, the FIFA World Cup in 1934 and 1990, the UEFA European Football Championship in 1980.

Football is the most popular sport in Italy, and Milan is home to two world-famous football teams: A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. The former is normally referred to as "Mìlan" (notice the stress on the first syllable, unlike the English and Milanese name of the city), the latter as "Inter". A match between these two teams is known as the Milan derby or the Derby della Madonnina (in honor of one of the main sights of the city, a statue of the Virgin Mary "Madonnina" on top of the Duomo di Milano).

Milan is the only city in Europe whose teams have won both the European Cup (now UEFA Champions League) and the Intercontinental Cup (now FIFA Club World Cup). With a combined nine Champions League titles, Milan is level with Madrid for the most number of titles won by a city. Both teams play at the UEFA 5-star rated, 85,700-seated Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, more commonly known as the San Siro. The San Siro is one of the biggest stadiums in the Serie A. Inter is the only team to spend its entire history in the Serie A while Milan has spent all except 2 seasons in top-flight.

Many famous Italian football players were born in Milan or in the province. Some famous Milan-born players include Valentino Mazzola, Paolo Maldini, Giuseppe Meazza, Gaetano Scirea, Giuseppe Bergomi, Walter Zenga, and Giovanni Trapattoni and many others.

Science and technology

The historic Brera Astronomical Observatory, founded in 1764.

Milan has for a long time been an important national and European scientific centre. As one of the early-industrialised Italian cities, modern science in the Milan developed in the late-1800s and the early-1900s, when the city became one of the so-called "laboratory cities", along with Brussels, London, Paris and other major economic and industrial centres on the continent.[76] Following serious competition from the neighbouring scientific atheneum of Pavia (where Albert Einstein spent some of his study years), Milan started to develop an advanced technological and scientific sector, and began to found numerous academies and institutions.[76] Milan will host an interesting project called "Milano, City of Science" (Milano, Città delle Scienze in Italian), which will be held in the International Exhibition of Sempione. Science-related events which also occurred in Milan was the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, held in the city on 13 September 1997 at the Science Fair in the Fondazione Stelline.[77] Probably the most important and ancient observatory in Milan is the Brera Astronomical Observatory, which was founded by the Jesuits in 1764, and was run by government eversince a law was passed in 1773.


The Politecnico di Milano main building
The velodrome of the Bocconi University.
The central building of University of Milan, built in the Renaissance as city hospital
The internal court of Brera Academy

Milan's higher education system comprises 39 university centres (44 faculties, 174,000 new students a year, equal to 10% of the entire Italian university population),[78] and has the largest number of university graduates and postgraduate students (34,000 and more than 5,000, respectively) in Italy.[79]

Educational institutions and universities

Founded on November 29, 1863, the Politecnico di Milano is the oldest university in Milan. Its most eminent professors over the years have included the mathematician Francesco Brioschi (its first Director), Luigi Cremona, and Giulio Natta (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963). The Politecnico di Milano is nowadays organised in 16 departments and a network of 9 Schools of Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design spread over 7 campuses over the Lombardy region with a central administration and management. The 9 schools are devoted to education whereas the 16 departments are devoted to research. The number of students enrolled in all campuses is approximately 40,000, which makes Politecnico di Milano the largest technical university in Italy.[80]

The University of Milan was founded on September 30, 1923 and it's a public teaching and research university, which - with 9 faculties, 58 departments, 48 institutes and a teaching staff of 2,500 professors. A leading institute in Italy and Europe for scientific productivity, the University of Milan is the largest university in the region, with approximately 65,000 enrolled students; it is also an important resource for the socio-economic context of which it is a part.[81]

The University of Milan Bicocca was instituted on June 10, 1998 to serve students from Northern Italy and take some pressure off the historical University of Milan which was getting over-crowded. It is set on an area, called Bicocca, in the northern part of Milan which was the kernel of its past industrial activity with a lot of the largest Italian factories in steel processing, chemical manufacturing, and electro-mechanics. In the faculty of science non-traditional degrees, from B.Sc. to Ph.D., in materials science, biotechnology and environmental science are coupled to the conventional ones in physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, computation and earth science. At the present the whole University hosts more than 30,000 students.[82]

The Luigi Bocconi Commercial University, established in 1902, has been ranked among the top 20 best business schools in the world by The Wall Street Journal international rankings, especially thanks to its M.B.A. program, which in 2007 placed it no. 17 in the world in terms of graduate recruitment preference by major multinational companies.[83] Forbes has ranked Bocconi no.1 worldwide in the specific category Value for Money.[84] In May 2008, Bocconi overtook several traditionally top global business schools in the Financial Times Executive education ranking, reaching no. 5 in Europe and no. 15 in the world.[85]

The Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, founded in 1921 by Father Agostino Gemelli, is currently the biggest Catholic university in the world with almost 42,000 enrolled students.[86]

The University of Languages and Communication of Milan, founded in 1968, is specialized in consumer and services research, business communication and ICT, tourism, fashion, cultural heritage and its exploitation, foreign languages for business, economics, marketing and distribution. The two campuses of Milan and Feltre have almost 10,000 enrolled students.[87]

The Saint Raphael University was fundamentally born as an off-spring of the research hospital structure St. Raphael Hospital, where students attend basic research laboratories in many research fields, including neurology, neurosurgery, diabetology, molecular biology, AIDS studies among others. It has expanded since then to include research fields in cognitive science and philosophy.[88]

The Tethys Research Institute, established in 1996, is a private non-profit organization specialised in cetacean research. Tethys has generated one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans and over 300 scientific contributions. Tethys owns photographic archives exceeding 200,000 cetacean images, that have resulted in the identification of over 1,300 individuals of seven Mediterranean species. This expertise has granted to Tethys a role as regional coordinator in the former EC-funded project “Europhlukes”.[89]

The Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, regarded as one of the world’s leading academic institutions, is a public academic institution dedicated to teach and research within the creative art, (painting, sculpting, graphics, photo, video etc.) and cultural historical disciplines. It is the academic institution with the highest rate of internationalization in Italy with about 3,500 students including over 850 foreigners from 49 nations. In 2005 the teaching of the academy has been classified by UNESCO as "A5".

The New Academy of Fine Arts of Milan, founded in 1980, is a private academy that offers Bachelor and Master of Arts Degree Programs, Academic Master Programs, Diploma Program and Semester Abroad Programs held in English that are accredited by the US University System in the fields of Visual Arts, Graphic Design, Design, Fashion, Media Design and Theatre Design. Over 1,000 students coming from all over Italy and 40 different countries are currently studying at the academy.[90]

The European Institute of Design is a private university specialized in fashion, industrial and interior design, audio/visual design including photography, advertising and marketing and business communication. The school was founded in 1966 today enrolls over 8,000 students.

The Marangoni Institute is a fashion institute with campuses in Milan, London, and Paris. Founded in 1935, it prepares highly skilled professionals for the fashion and design industries.

The Milan Conservatory is a college of music which was established by a royal decree of 1807, when the city was the capital of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. It opened the following year with premisses in the cloisters of the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Passione. There were initially 18 boarders, including students of both sexes. With more than 1,700 students, over 240 teachers and 20 majors, it is Italy's largest university of music.[91]

Cultural institutions, art galleries and museums

The city of Milan contains several cultural institutions, museums and galleries, some of which are highly important at an international level.[92]

The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is a not-for-profit historic house museum in the Montenapoleone district [93] of the city's centre. The Italian Renaissance art and decorative arts collections of the barons Bagatti Valsecchi are displayed in their home, as they wished them to be. Hence, visitors may view not only particular pieces of art, but also the house's authentic ambiances, expressive of late 19th century aristocratic Milanese taste. It contains paintings such as the Christ in Majesty, Virgin, Christ Child and Saints, Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, aka Giampietrino, 1540s (painter inspired by Leonardo da Vinci).

The Pinacoteca di Brera is one of Milan's most important art galleries. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings, an outgrowth of the cultural program of the Brera Academy, which shares the site in the Brera Academy. It contains masterpieces such as the Brera Madonna by Piero della Francesca.

The Castello Sforzesco is Milan's castle, and now hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions. The best known of the current civic museums is the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, with an art collection which includes Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna's Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript. The Castello complex also includes The Museum of Ancient Art, The Furniture Museum, The Museum of Musical Instruments and the Applied Arts Collection, The Egyptian and Prehistoric sections of the Archaeological Museum and the Achille Bertarelli Print Collection.

The Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano (Natural History Museum of Milan) was founded in 1838 when Giuseppe de Cristoforis (1803–1837) donated his collections to the city. Its first director was Giorgio Jan (1791–1866).

The Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci" is a national museum about science and technology in Milan, and is dedicated to Italian painter and scientist Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Museo Poldi Pezzoli is another of the city's most important and prestigious museums. The museum was originated in the 19th century as private collection of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and his mother, Rosa Trivulzio, of the family of the condottiero Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, and has a particularly broad collection of Northern Italian and (for Italy) Netherlandish/Flemish artists.

The Museo Teatrale alla Scala is a theatrical museum and library attached to the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Although it has a particular focus on the history of opera and of that opera house, its scope extends to Italian theatrical history in general, and includes displays relating, for example, to the Commedia dell’Arte and to the famous stage actress Eleonora Duse.

The Museum of the Risorgimento (Museo del Risorgimento) is a museum in Milan on the history of Italian unification from 1796 (Napoleon's first Italian campaign) and 1870 (Rome's annexation into the Kingdom of Italy) and on Milan's part in it (particularly the Five Days of Milan). It is housed in the 18th century Palazzo Moriggia. Its collections include Baldassare Verazzi's Episode from the Five Days and Francesco Hayez's 1840 Portrait of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria.

La Triennale di Milano is a design museum and events venue located inside the Palace of Art building, part of Parco Sempione, the park grounds adjacent to Castello Sforzesco. It hosts exhibitions and events which highlight contemporary Italian design, urban planning, architecture, music, and media arts, emphasizing the relationship between art and industry.


Milano Centrale train station main entrance

After Bologna, Milan is the second railway hub of Italy, and the five major stations of Milan, amongst which the Milan Central station, are among Italy's busiest. The first railroad built in Milan, the Milan and Monza Rail Road was opened for service on August 17, 1840.

Since December 13, 2009 two High speed train lines link Milan to Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples and Salerno in one direction, and to Turin in another.

The Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) operates within the metropolitan area, managing a public transport network consisting of three metropolitan railway lines and tram, trolley-bus and bus lines. The ATM tramway fleet includes several Peter Witt cars, originally built in 1928 and still working. Overall the network covers nearly 1,400 km reaching 86 municipalities. Besides public transport, ATM manages the interchange parking lots and the on-street parking spaces in the historical centre and in the commercial zones using the SostaMilano parking card system.

Milan has three subway lines in a system called Milan Metro, with a network size of more than 80 km. It comprises three lines; the red line which runs northeast and west, the green line running northeast and southwest, and the yellow line running north and south.

Map of the Milan Metro Network. The blue line represent the Passante urban track of the Suburban Railways.
One of Milan's trams crossing Piazza Fontana.

The Suburban Railway Service Lines, composed of ten suburban lines connects the Milan agglomeration to the metropolitan area. More lines were scheduled for 2008, but as of January 2009, none have been completed. The Regional Railway Service, on the other hand, links Milan with the rest of Lombardy and the national railway system. The city tram network consists of approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) of track and 19 lines.[94] Bus lines cover over 1,070 km.

Milan has a taxi service operated by private companies and licensed by the City of Milan (Comune di Milano). All taxis are the same color, white. Prices are based on a set fare at the beginning and an additional fare based on time elapsed and distance traveled. The number of licences is kept low by lobbying of present taxi drivers. Finding a taxi may be difficult in rush hours or rainy days, and almost impossible during public transportation strikes, which occur often.

The city of Milan is served by three international airports. The Malpensa International Airport, the second biggest airport in Italy, is about 50 km from central Milan and connected to downtown with the "Malpensa Express" railway service. It handled over 23.8 million passengers in 2007. The Linate Airport, which is near the city limits, is mainly used for domestic and short-haul international flights, with over 9 million passengers in 2007. The airport of Orio al Serio, near to the city of Bergamo, serves the low-cost traffic of Milan (almost 6 million passengers in 2007).

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Milan is twinned with:[95]

Other forms of cooperation, partnership and city friendship

See also



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  • The later Roman empire (Jones), Blackwell and Mott, Oxford
  • Milano romana / Mario Mirabella Roberti (Rusconi publisher) 1984
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  • Milano tra l'eta repubblicana e l'eta augustea: atti del Convegno di studi, 26-27 marzo 1999, Milano
  • Milano capitale dell'impero romano: 286-402 d.c. – (Milano) : Silvana, (1990). – 533 p.: ill. ; 28 cm.
  • Milano capitale dell'Impero romano: 286-402 d.c. - album storico archeologico. – Milano: Cariplo: ET, 1991. – 111 p.: ill.; 47 cm. (Pubbl. in occasione della Mostra tenuta a Milano nel) 1990.
  • Torri, Monica (23 January 2007). Milan & The Lakes. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley). ISBN 9780756624439. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  • Welch, Evelyn S (1995). Art and authority in Renaissance Milan. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut. ISBN 9780300063516. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 


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External links


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