Description of Milan

Milan is an Italian municipality of 1 372 810 inhabitants, capital of the Lombardy region, of homonymous metropolitan city, and the center of one of the most populous metropolitan areas in Europe.

Founded around 590 BC, perhaps with the name of Medhelan, near a sanctuary from a Celtic tribe belonging to the group of Insubri and belonging to the culture of Golasecca, it was conquered by the ancient Romans in 222 BC and later renamed them Mediolanum. With the passing of the centuries it increased its importance until becoming the capital of the Western Roman Empire, in whose period the edict of Milan was promulgated, which granted to all the citizens, therefore also to the Christians, the freedom to honor one's own deities.

At the forefront of the struggle against the Holy Roman Empire in the communal age, Milan became a lordship first and then raised to a ducal dignity at the end of the 14th century, remaining at the center of the political and cultural life of Renaissance Italy. At the beginning of the 16th century it lost its independence in favor of the Spanish Empire and then passed, almost two centuries later, under the Austrian crown: thanks to the Habsburg policies , Milan became one of the main centers of Italian enlightenment. Capital of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, after the Restoration it was one of the most active centers of the Risorgimento until it entered the Kingdom of Italy, the Savoy.

Main economic and financial center of the Italian peninsula , Milan led its industrial development, setting up the "Industrial Triangle" with Turin and Genoa, especially during the economic boom years when industrial and urban growth also involved the neighboring cities, creating the vast Milanese metropolitan area. In the cultural field, Milan is the main Italian publishing center and is at the top of the world music circuit thanks to the opera season of the Teatro alla Scala and its long opera tradition. It is also one of the main exhibition centers Europeans and industrial design , and is considered one of the world's fashion capitals.

Milan is famous for its wealth of historical and modern sights - the Duomo, one of the biggest and grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world, La Scala, one of the best established opera houses in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an ancient and glamorous arcaded shopping gallery, the Brera art gallery, with some of the finest artistic works in Europe, the Pirelli tower, a majestic example of 1960s modernist Italian architecture, the San Siro, a huge and famed stadium, or the Castello Sforzesco, a grand medieval castle. So, you have your fair share of old and new monuments. Plus, it contains one of the world's most famous paintings - Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.


When to visit

Milan, depending on how you want to tour the city, is a great place to visit pretty much all year round. Keep in mind most places, including tourist destinations and museums, are closed on Mondays.

In autumn, the weather is warm or cool, and in later months can be quite rainy and foggy. At this time of the year, the city's inhabitants are very busy with work, so, the only people you're likely to see wandering around are tourists. All the major venues and shops are opened, since it is the working part of the year.

In winter, the city can become cold (often below or around freezing point), and the weather is usually foggy and rainy if not snowy. However, the city, in the few weeks before Christmas, becomes delightful to visit - the main sights are all illuminated by stunning lights, a huge Christmas tree is set up in front of the Duomo, vendors and markets can be found everywhere, many shop and display windows are decorated and the streets become bustling with locals and tourists alike. However, the only downside is that it can become extremely crowded, noisy and busy.

In spring, the weather is similar to that of autumn. People go back to work, and the atmosphere becomes more quiet, yet serious unlike that of the winter. Parks become nice to visit, as trees blossom. The city is also quite nice to visit at Carnival, where people dress up and celebrate, and during Easter, where there are special services held in churches and some special events.

In summer, Milan can become extremely hot and humid, with the odd powerful rainstorm here and there. Whilst in July, apart from the weather, most shops remain open, in August, as many locals go off to take their summer holidays, many businesses and venues shut down (with the notice Chiuso per ferie, or shut down for vacation). The city may become quite empty with the odd tourist strolling around, and with several of the main sights shut down. Although it is not the best time for shopping and the weather's not at all times very pleasant, it is good if you want to enjoy the city to yourself when it's quiet, and maybe want to stroll around, sipping at the odd open bar or at an ice cream, or walking in a silent park.


How to orient yourself

Historic Center of Milan - The historic center of the city includes the most famous monuments of Milan, including the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the Teatro alla Scala.

South Milan — The best-known attraction of this area is the Navigli, a network of artificial canals that was built between the 12th and 19th centuries; they were once used for navigation to and from the Lombard countryside. The area is very rich in public places and is one of the most famous areas in which to experience the Milanese nightlife. The southern area of Milan is the most developing area of the city characterized by the presence of the Prada Foundation, which has created a new center of Milan for luxury fashion, with the headquarters of Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Moncler, Jil Sander, etc. The southern area is also the area of the Bocconi University District, characterized by the Porta Romana District by numerous restaurants among the most characteristic of the city, all to be discovered, and the Corvetto District of interest due to the presence of numerous hidden art galleries avant-garde painters and the Plastic disco once frequented by Andy Warhol, Schifano, Giorgio Armani, etc.

West Milan — This part of the city holds the city's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of the Last Supper. Other attractions in west Milan include a cemetery with monumental tombs and the old fairgrounds.

North Milan - Here are the two most important railway stations (Milano Centrale and Porta Garibaldi), as well as a series of skyscrapers intended for residential and business purposes.

Outskirts of Milan — Many outlying districts of Milan also have points of interest.

Milano Centrale station is the main station in Milan. The entrance is in piazza Duca d'Aosta. It is served by the M2 and M3 lines of the Milanese underground (green and yellow lines).

Porta Garibaldi station is also one of the main ones in the city. It is located north of the center and is served by the M2 and M5 lines of the Milanese underground (green and lilac lines), as well as nine S lines (six of these conveyed within the railway link).

The center hinges on Piazza Duomo, which is dominated by the facade of the largest Gothic cathedral in Italy and by the southern part of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. From the square you can reach (even on foot) many of Milan's attractions. The Teatro alla Scala, for example, is located 400 m further north, in via Filodrammatici. Continuing on via Alessandro Manzoni you come across via Monte Napoleone and then via della Spiga, the two most famous shopping streets in Milan. Corso Vittorio Emanuele instead connects Piazza Duomo to Piazza San Babila to the east of the cathedral. In the opposite direction, following via Dante, after about 800 m you arrive in piazza Castello, where the ancient Sforza fortification stands.

Other neighborhoods
Milan is administratively divided into 9 municipalities which are called:
District 1: Historic Center
District 2: Central Station - Gorla - Turro - Greco - Crescenzago
District 3: Venice - Città Studi - Lambrate
District 4: Vittoria - Forlanini
District 5: Vigentino - Chiaravalle - Gratosoglio
District 6: Barona - Lorenteggio
District 7: Baggio - De Angeli - San Siro
District 8: Fiera - Gallaratese - Quarto Oggiaro
District 9: Garibaldi Station - Niguarda

The numbering of the municipalities has its own logic: the municipality 1 is the central one, while the administrative subdivisions from 2 to 9 are increasingly peripheral municipalities starting from the north and proceeding clockwise. The guidelines are those of the great roads of Milan, which develop radially:
Town Hall 2: corso Buenos Aires - piazzale Loreto - viale Monza - Sesto San Giovanni - Monza - Brianza
Town Hall 3: piazzale Piola - via Pacini - Cassano d'Adda - Bergamo
Town Hall 4: Viale Forlanini - Linate Airport - Rivolta d'Adda - Treviglio - Brescia
Town Hall 5: corso Lodi - San Donato - Cremona - Lodi - Bologna
District 6: via Lorenteggio - Pavia- Vigevano - Casale Monferrato
Town Hall 7: via Novara - Novara - Turin
Town Hall 8: viale De Gasperi - Varese - Como
Town Hall 9: via Farini - Niguarda - Affori - Lecco

As mentioned, Milan is divided into numbered municipalities, but the traditional subdivision is that of the entrance gates to the ancient walls, which no longer exist. Excluding the historic center, the correspondence is as follows:
Porta Vittoria: town hall 2
Porta Venezia: town halls 2-3
Porta Nuova: town hall 3
Porta Romana: town hall 5
Porta Ticinese: town hall 5
Porta Genova: town hall 6
Porta Vercellina: town hall 7
Porta Sempione: town hall 8
Porta Garibaldi: town hall 9


Getting here

By plane
There are three airports in Milan: one is local, the other is the main one, and the third is in another city altogether. The vast majority of flights arrive at Malpensa Airport, which is so far from the city that it is not easy to find it on a map. Some airlines also fly to the old Linate airport, located right on the outskirts of Milan. There is also a third airport, Milan Bergamo, and it really belongs to the city of Bergamo, but (not unreasonably) is promoted by low-cost airlines as a convenient option for getting into Milan itself.

The story of Milan's three airports is even worse than that of Moscow's three, because there are airlines, such as Lufthansa, that fly to all three at the same time. From Moscow, Aeroflot flights arrive in Malpensa, and Pobeda flights arrive in Bergamo. If you have a choice, keep in mind that each of the airports has its own advantages. Linate is closer to the center, but flights there are usually more expensive. Malpensa is much further from the city, but it is connected with it by fast trains, so the journey to the center of Milan takes only 40 minutes. Finally, Bergamo airport is the farthest from Milan (count at least an hour), but if you're not in a hurry, the city of Bergamo itself deserves a visit too.

Malpensa Airport (IATA:MXP)   (55 km from the center of Milan, the nearest city is Busto Arsizio). The airport consists of two terminals, the main of which is terminal 1, and terminal 2 is used exclusively by EasyJet (for which Milan is the second hub after London). Both terminals have free Wi-Fi with limited traffic. A free bus runs between the terminals, every 7 minutes during the day, every half an hour at night; the trip takes 15 min. Luggage storage, if at all, then only in terminal 1 in the arrivals hall, € 5 / day (2014).

Terminal 1 is divided into three parts: 1A for flights within the Schengen area, 1B and 1C for all others.

Terminal 2 is an ordinary barn for low-cost airlines, the configuration (especially the station square) is a bit reminiscent of provincial Russian airports. Before security control, everything interesting is located in the arrivals area. Behind the control (already, respectively, in the departure zone) there are many cafes where prices are almost the same as in the city (a cup of espresso costs €1.10). After leaving the screening area, do not miss the inconspicuous staircase to the second floor: it leads to a quiet room overlooking the airfield, Burger King and Timecafe with hot food for €7-9 per serving.

How to get there: the Malpensa Express train runs to the airport, twice an hour from Cardona station (Milano Cardona, 40 min) and twice an hour from the central station (Milano Centrale, 1 hour). Trains depart from terminal 2 and stop at terminal 1 on the way. A one-way ticket costs €13, and you can get a round-trip ticket for €20. Tickets are sold at live ticket offices, convenient ticket machines and via the Internet. The nuance is that if you take a ticket in advance, you must choose a specific train. However, it is not necessary to travel by this particular train: the ticket is valid for 3 hours, starting from the indicated time. With a return ticket, the same story, but in addition you can (via the Internet) change the date and time of departure. Finally, tickets from the box office and the machine also have their own nuance - they need to be stamped, while tickets purchased via the Internet are not needed. Welcome to Italy!

Unlike trains, buses depart from terminal 1, stop at terminal 2 and go to the central station. The official travel time is 50 minutes, but may increase due to traffic jams. There are three carriers on this route (Malpensa Shuttle, Terravision, STIE), and each of them has a traffic interval of only 20 minutes, i.e. During the day, the buses run literally one after the other. The price is the same for everyone, €8 one way and €14 round trip, but be careful when buying: they will try to sell you a bus ticket already in the baggage claim hall (and EasyJet will do it in flight), but this ticket will be valid only on buses of one carrier.

A taxi to the city costs from €80.

Linate Airport (IATA:LIN)  (13 km from the center of Milan, on the eastern outskirts of the city). Only flights within the Schengen area, mainly Alitalia and Meridiana. The city bus 73 runs to the airport from the San Babila metro station, which is a 5-minute walk from the cathedral; 30 minutes on the road, regular city tickets are valid (drivers do not sell tickets, see Transport). The same half an hour goes the Air Bus express bus to the central station (runs every half an hour, ticket: €5).
Bergamo Airport (IATA:BGY). For the airport itself, see Bergamo. You can go to Milan through the city (bus 1 to the railway station, then the train) or by direct bus. Buses (Orio Shuttle, Autostradale, Terravision) run from Milan Central Station and are also a kind of low-cost: €5 one way. Buses of each company run 1-2 times per hour, an hour on the way (there are traffic jams). You can get a ticket online, sometimes saving one or two euros, or from the driver for the full price.

By train
Two of the three railway corridors that cross the Alps and link Italy with other European countries begin in Milan. Trains to Zurich run every 2 hours (3.5 hours on the way), several times a day there are direct TGVs from Paris (7 hours) via Lyon (5 hours). Within Italy, Milan is connected by high-speed trains to Venice (2.5 h), Florence (1 h 40 min), Rome (3 h) and even Naples (4.5 h). Night trains to Vienna (12h), Munich (12h) and Paris (11h), and in Italy to Naples and Bari. The Naples train passes through Rome, which is 8 hours away, which is suitable for those who like to spend the night on the road.

There are three stations in the city and a number of transit stations connected with surface transport or metro lines:

Central Station (Milano Centrale)  (M2, M3 Centrale). Milano's main station serves all trains except Parisian TGVs, some passing high-speed trains and most suburban trains. In addition to its main transport function, it is an attraction of the same magnitude as the Milan Cathedral, so if you are here for the first time, take the time to inspect the building and its interiors - this is one of the most impressive stations not only in Italy, but in the whole world. From a practical point of view, the station is very everyday. At its different levels, from the entrance from the street to the exit to the platforms, there are dozens of cafes, mostly not cheap: the extra charge “for a table” is quite common here, although there are also ordinary proletarian establishments like McDonald’s where such tricks do not happen. Mostly sandwiches, sweets and drinks, but in the hall before going to the platforms you can also find a cafe with a more solid menu. At the station, free Wi-Fi with a rather tricky registration. Luggage storage is located in the hall at the main entrance: €6 for the first 5 hours and then hourly charge €0.90/h.
North Station (Cadorna) (Milano Nord Cadorna)  ( M1, M2  Cadorna). The terminus of the city's northwesterly trains and, more importantly, half of the trains heading to the airport. Unlike the central one, this station is quite democratic: it has stalls that sell inexpensive pastries and sandwiches for €2.50 apiece, and it would not even occur to employees of cafes overlooking the station square to set inflated prices for those who sit down at a table . A small grocery supermarket is located across the road from the station, obliquely to the right.
Porta Garibaldi (Milano Porta Garibaldi) ( M2, M5  Garibaldi Fs). The terminus of many suburban trains, Parisian TGVs, as well as a transit station, behind which trains go into a long tunnel, emerging to the surface either in the area of ​​the central station (this is how trains to the airport from Milano Centrale do), or at the eastern end of the city - they go according to this scheme high-speed trains from Turin towards Bologna and Rome.

Lambrate Station (Milano Lambrate)  (M2  Lambrate Fs). Intermediate stop for eastbound regional trains, closest station to Linate Airport.

If you are traveling on a regional train (the seat is not indicated on the ticket), be sure to mark the ticket before boarding the train. For this, there are yellow validator boxes on the platforms.


By car
The A52 north ring road, the A51 east ring road and the A50 west ring road make up the most extensive Italian ring road system around a city, for a total length of 74.4 km. There are a total of 45 junctions for each direction. By adding the urban section of the A4 that runs parallel to the northern ring road to the three ring roads, we obtain a system of urban highways that completely surrounds the municipality of Milan for 95.4 km. The entire system is spread over carriageways with 3 lanes plus an emergency lane for each direction, excluding the Northern Ring Road which has 2 lanes and an emergency lane. The system does not allow free full switching. In addition to the ring road system, the structure of the motorways and trunk roads is radial and substantially follows the historical guidelines. From the north-east and clockwise, the main routes are:

A4 motorway ("Serenissima motorway"): (direction Venice) Bergamo/Brescia/Venice/Trieste
Provincial road former SS 11 Padana Superiore SS11: Treviglio - Brescia.
Provincial road former SS 415 Paullese SS415: Cremona/Mantova/Ferrara
State road 9 Via Emilia SS11: Bologna/Rimini
A4 motorway ("Autostrada del Sole"): Bologna/Florence/Rome
Provincial road former SS 35 dei Giovi : Pavia/Genoa
A7 motorway ("Autostrada dei Fiori"): Genoa
A4 motorway ("Serenissima motorway"): (towards Turin) Turin/Frejus/Lyon
Lakes motorway A8/A9: Varese/Como/Chiasso/Basel/Frankfurt
State Road 36 of Lake Como and Spluga SS36, "new Valassina": Lecco/Sondrio/Tirano
It is possible to consult this site or this site to find out the prices of car hire at Milan Linate airport and Milan centre.

By bus
Milan does not have an organized system of bus terminals. Only recently have a few extra-urban lines been established at the Cascina Gobba (M2) and Bisceglie (M1) terminals. Other points are scattered around the city (in Piazza Castello being eliminated), or in correspondence with stations (Milano Centrale for services to Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio airports). Among the most important bus terminals are those of Milano Lampugnano (on the back of the homonymous underground station) and Milano Rogoredo (near the homonymous railway station), which act as the terminus for the main national and international bus lines (Milan bus timetables on "oraribus .com").

With Car Pooling
An innovative, economic and ecological way to reach Milan is certainly that of carpooling. On the Bepooler website it is possible to view all the passages to Milan starting from various Italian and European cities.



Milan's public transport belongs to the ATM operator. The site has all the timetables and route planner.

A single trip ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 90 minutes. You can buy a block of tickets for 10 trips for €13.80, a daily ticket for €4.50, a two-day ticket (€8.25) or a week ticket (€16.75). All these tickets are sold by ATM machines, usually installed in the lobbies of metro stations (there is an English interface, they accept bank cards). If it was not possible to agree with the machine, contact one of the ATM offices.

There are 4 metro lines in Milan:  ,  ,   and  . The missed line M4 began to be built almost simultaneously with the M5, and will open, if you're lucky, by 2022. The metro is relatively young, appeared in 1964 and is convenient to use, but rather utilitarian: all stations are similar to each other and featureless, only the color of the navigation panels, which matches the color of the line, distinguishes them. Usually ladders from platforms lead to underground passages, there are turnstiles at the entrances and exits. Another curious feature of the Milan metro is the bars located in the same underground passages.

The Milan metro has zonal billing. In the city center there are regular tickets for one and a half euros and travel cards. But if you have gone somewhere on the outskirts (for example, to Rho Ferra, Gessate or Assago), look carefully at the diagram: the red dotted line "Limit urbano" marks the stations for which you will have to pay extra in addition to the city tariff.

The Milan tram is a city landmark. In terms of the total length of the tram network, the city is confidently in the top ten, and in everyday life it tries to combine history with modernity and comfort. New low-floor trains work on the lines, but the old pre-war yellow cars work side by side with them, which rumble comfortably through the city streets.

Buses and urban trains (linee suburbane) also run in the city. On the diagram, the lines of city electric trains are indicated with the letter S at the beginning, in contrast to the metro lines.

Taxis in Milan are white cars with a number on the door. They take it to the counter. “Voting” on the street is not accepted; a car can be easily found at a taxi rank or called by phone. There are few parking lots in the center, but there are probably at stations and popular tourist places, for example, in the western part of the Cathedral Square - Piazza del Duomo.

tourist transport
There are several tourist buses and trams.

Zani Viaggi 2-story open-top bus, full-day ticket costs 24 euros, the ticket price includes an audio guide (available in Russian). Three different routes leave from Piazza Castello.



Much of Milan's artistic-architectural heritage is found in the historic centre, which owes its current appearance to numerous urban changes carried out between the Unification of Italy and the first post-war period.

The symbolic monument of the city is the metropolitan cathedral basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Duomo of Milan, located in the homonymous square, the center of the city's economic and cultural life. A short distance away is the eighteenth-century Teatro alla Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Connecting Piazza della Scala and Piazza del Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered passage with exposed iron and glass structures in an eclectic style.

Another symbolic monument of Milan is the Castello Sforzesco, originally conceived as an exclusively military structure, it was later redesigned as an elegant court for the lords of the city. Not far away are the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, considered the second most important church in the city, and the complex housing the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie with Leonardo's Last Supper, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another site of notable artistic interest is the Monumental Cemetery, which houses the tombs of the most illustrious citizens of Milan; of more modern construction you can find the Milano Centrale station, built in a style that combines the majesty of the fascist structures with Art Nouveau decorations, and the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, called La Scala del calcio. Of particular relevance is the Arco della Pace, a triumphal arch located at the beginning of Corso Sempione which represents one of the major neoclassical monuments of Milan.


Religious architecture

The Duomo of Milan is the main place of Catholic worship in the city of Milan and the cathedral of the archdiocese of the same name. Other buildings of value are the early Christian basilicas of Milan: the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, always considered the best example of Lombard Romanesque architecture, as well as one of the oldest monuments of Christian art, the basilica of San Lorenzo, a building center also known for the proximity of the homonymous columns, the basilica of San Nazaro in Brolo and the basilica of San Simpliciano, linked like the previous ones to the figure of Sant'Ambrogio.

The historic center of Milan also houses the church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, containing a cycle of frescoes by authors such as Bernardino Luini and Simone Peterzano such as to be defined as the Lombard Sistine Chapel, the church of Sant'Antonio Abate, rebuilt at the end of the 16th century according to the canons of the counter-reformation and home to works by Giulio Cesare Procaccini and Cerano and the baroque church of Sant'Alessandro, which overlooks one of the best-preserved squares in Milan prior to the post-war reconstruction interventions.

The church of San Giuseppe is considered the first genuinely Baroque building in the city, while the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro remains famous for the fake choir designed by Bramante using the trompe-l'œil technique; also worth mentioning are the church of San Marco and the basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, which houses the Portinari chapel, considered one of the masterpieces of the Lombard Renaissance. Famous throughout the world is the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, included with the Last Supper in the list of World Heritage Sites drawn up by UNESCO.

Outside the urban area there are two important monastic complexes: the Certosa di Garegnano with its important frescoes by Simone Peterzano and the Chiaravalle Abbey, one of the first examples of Gothic in Italy. Of great artistic importance is also the monumental cemetery with its famedio, very rich in funerary sculptures of various periods and styles.


Civil architectures

The center of Milan is full of villas and palaces, built above all in the 17th and 18th centuries as private residences of the city's leading families; the architectural styles represented in the city center are many, from the neo-gothic to the baroque to the eclectic up to the liberty and post-war rationalism. The history of Milanese civil buildings extends up to the present day, including the numerous modern architectures that characterize the most innovative areas of the city territory.

Milan has never had a center of civil power adequate to its importance: this fact is mainly due to the lack of a court within the city starting from the 16th century, when independence was lost. Among the public buildings, in fact, only the medieval Palazzo della Ragione (inserted in the Piazza Mercanti complex) and the subsequent Royal Palace, for centuries the representative seat of the city government, should be mentioned; after the construction of the Castello Sforzesco, evidently classified among the military architectures, Milan no longer gave birth to a building of public conception until 2010, when Palazzo Lombardia was inaugurated.

Private residences were of greater importance, among which Palazzo Marino (now the town hall), Palazzo Litta, Palazzo Belgioioso and Casa Frisia for the Late Liberty period should be mentioned. Entire neighborhoods, such as the one around via Monte Napoleone or Corso Venezia, are made up of noble palaces in the neoclassical style. Worthy of note, among the towers of Milan, are the Torre del Comune, which once marked the official opening and closing times of the activities and which is located on the Palazzo dei Giureconsulti, the Torre dei Gorani, which was part of the demolished Casa Gorani and the Tower of Wonders, which is instead incorporated into the House of Wonders.

Military architectures
The walls of Milan have evolved over the years with the city: from the first Roman nucleus, we pass to the medieval walls, ending with the last outer wall, better known as the "Spanish walls". Only ruins remain of the Roman walls; of the medieval walls remain very rare uncovered sections that survived the conversion into homes once the Spanish walls were built, at the time of their construction the most extensive in Europe, mostly demolished between the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century for traffic reasons.

In addition to some stretches of the ancient Spanish walls about a kilometer long in total, the only city gates of the medieval walls that have come down to us remain as reminders, namely the medieval Porta Nuova and the medieval Porta Ticinese. On the Spanish walls, however, the gates have been largely preserved: apart from the Mannerist Porta Romana, the remaining ones date back to the Austrian arrangement of the bastions in neoclassical style.

The most impressive military architecture is the Castello Sforzesco, a manor house converted in the Renaissance into an elegant court of the Dukes of Milan: the fortress was however among the largest of the time, so much so that the castle was never conquered in battle. Used exclusively as military barracks by foreign governments, it was restored and transformed at the end of the 19th century into a large museum complex, and adorned by the gardens of the square of the same name and by Parco Sempione. It was once managed by the Castellano of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. It stands on the same site as the Porta Giovia Castle, of which it represents an extension, and the Roman Castrum Portae Jovis.


Streets and squares

There are several streets and squares in Milan that have historical, architectural, social or commercial significance. Among the squares, the most important is piazza del Duomo (its real geometric and commercial center for over seven centuries), piazza degli Affari (known for the presence of the Italian stock exchange, seat of the national financial market, established here on 16 January 1808 ), piazza Gae Aulenti (located in the business center of Milan and symbol of contemporary Milan), piazza Cordusio (located where the court of the Longobard dukes once stood, the Curia Ducis, from which the name of the square derives), piazza Mercanti (created as of city life in the Middle Ages) and Piazza San Fedele (located within an important pedestrian area).

Other squares in Milan worthy of mention are piazza San Sepolcro (which in Roman times was the forum of the city, a crossroads between the cardo and the decumanus), piazza della Scala (connected to piazza del Duomo via the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where the theater of the same name and Palazzo Marino, the city's town hall), piazza Vetra (where the park of the Basilicas is located, which unites the basilica of San Lorenzo and the basilica of Sant'Eustorgio), piazza San Babila (which was for a long time the meeting point favored by the Milanese upper class, given its central position) and the Carrobbio (largo whose origins date back to Roman times).

As for the streets, noteworthy are via Manzoni (considered one of the most luxurious areas of the city, as well as one of the major shopping centers of world high fashion), via Brera (reputed to be one of the most characteristic of Milan, both for presence of the Pinacoteca di Brera building, both for some local historians who overlook this street), Viale Beatrice d'Este, Corso Buenos Aires (important commercial street with over 350 sales outlets of various types of goods that generate a total daily turnover among the highest in the world) and via Monte Napoleone (considered one of the most luxurious areas and one of the major shopping centers for prêt-à-porter).

Other important streets in Milan are Corso Venezia (known as one of the most elegant streets in Milan and part of the fashion district), Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (among the most important streets in the city, where there are numerous shops, especially clothing, which make it one of the main shopping centers in the city), corso Como (an important pedestrian and commercial street in Milan), via Dante (another important commercial street opened at the end of the 19th century to directly connect piazza del Cordusio with the Castello Sforzesco) and the Verziere (ancient popular denomination of the area once used as a fruit and vegetable market and where a famous Mannerist-Baroque monument, the Colonna del Verziere, can still be found today).


Archaeological sites

The presence of archaeological sites that tell the story of Roman Milan is of great importance, especially considering the variety of remains that have come to light over the centuries. The tangible testimony of the Roman walls of Milan has reached Milan (built in two phases, one in the Republican era around 49 BC and a second after 291 in the Imperial era at the time of Emperor Maximian when Mediolanum became the capital of the Roman Empire of 'West), the Roman theater of Milan (built in the Augustan age between the end of the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century), the Roman forum of Milan (that is, the main square of the city center since the foundation of the Roman city in Republican era) and the Roman amphitheater of Milan, the third largest structure of this type in the whole empire after the Colosseum and the amphitheater of Capua.

Other Roman remains found in Milan are those of the Roman circus of Milan (which had various important functions during the period in which Mediolanum was the capital of the Western Roman Empire), of the Roman imperial palace of Milan (ancient structure built by the emperor Maximian after around 291 when Mediolanum became the imperial capital), the Erculean Baths (also erected between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 4th by the emperor Maximian), the Roman food warehouses in Milan (which date to the Flavian age and the late imperial era) and the imperial Mausoleum of San Vittore al Corpo (ancient Roman building with a circular plan dating back to the end of the 4th century which probably housed the tombs of the Valentinian family).

The remains of the Roman Porta Ticinese have also come down to us (to be precise, a section of one of the two towers that flanked the gate), as well as some domus and the Columns of San Lorenzo (these are sixteen columns, about 7 meters and a half, in marble, with Corinthian capitals supporting the entablature that come from Roman buildings dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century, probably a pagan temple located in the area of the current Piazza Santa Maria Beltrade, and which were transported to the current location to complete the basilica of San Lorenzo being erected), which are the best known Roman finds in Milan.

Also worthy of mention is the early Christian architecture of Milan thanks to the presence of the basilica of Sant'Eustorgio (which was probably founded in the 4th century and which preserves relics of the Magi), the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio (which today represents not only a monument of the early Christian and medieval era, but also a fundamental point in the history of Milan and of the Ambrosian Church), the basilica of San Nazaro in Brolo (which was built by Saint Ambrose in the 4th century), the basilica of San Simpliciano ( in whose convent there is also the large cloister), the basilica of San Lorenzo (rebuilt and modified several times in its external forms, almost completely preserving the primitive plan of the late antiquity) and the crypt of San Giovanni in Conca, i.e. the remains of the homonymous basilica dating back to the V-VI century which was demolished between 1948 and 1952.


Natural areas

There are three historic urban parks in the city: the Public Gardens (1784) today named after Indro Montanelli, the Sempione Park (1893) and the Ravizza Park (1902). Other medium-sized urban parks, of more recent construction, are the Parco delle Basiliche (1934), the Parco Solari (1935) (later named after Luigi Giussani), the Parco di Largo Marinai d'Italia (1969) (now named after Vittorio Formentano) and the Parco Biblioteca degli Alberi (2018).

Larger parks are located outside the built-up area: Parco Lambro, Parco Forlanini, Parco delle Cave, Boscoincittà and Parco di Trenno. Due to its particularity, "Monte Stella" is worth mentioning, obtained from the rubble of the buildings bombed in the Second World War.

In the northern area of the municipal area is the Parco Nord, which is supra-municipal in nature. A large part of the territory, to the east, south and west, is instead included in the South Milan agricultural park, a vast naturalistic and agricultural area that surrounds the city on three sides. Well-preserved remains of the Spanish walls can be seen along Viale Vittorio Veneto near Porta Venezia, where they have maintained their original appearance, that of a tree-lined "promenade".

To the east of the city, near Linate Airport, in the municipalities of Segrate and Peschiera Borromeo, is the Idroscalo di Milano, a vast artificial basin excavated in 1928-1930 for the ditching and take-off of seaplanes, and already converted in 1934 to an area for competitions and sporting activities and public bathing. Very popular in the summer months and featuring a vast green area, the Idroscalo is often referred to as "the sea of the Milanese". Throughout the year, the area is used for nautical sporting events, such as rowing, motor boating or water skiing.


Study opportunities

University studies
Milan hosts various independent universities plus an Academy of Fine Arts:

Luigi Bocconi Commercial University, via Sarfatti, 25, ☎ +39 02 58361. Prestigious university with a commercial and managerial orientation, with basic, specialization and post-graduate courses.
University of Milan, via Festa del Perdono, 7, ☎ +39 02 503111. Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery, Literature and Philosophy, Political Sciences, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Economics and Commerce, Languages.
IED (European Institute of Design), Via Pompeo Leoni, 3. The most important High School of Design and Fashion in Italy.
27 Politecnico di Milano, piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, ☎ +39 02 23991. Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design.
University of Milano-Bicocca, piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1, ☎ +39 02 64481. Faculty of Economics, Medicine and Surgery, Education Sciences, Statistical Sciences, Law, Psychology, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Sociology.
Brera Academy of Fine Arts, via Brera, 28, ☎ +39 02 86955220, fax: +39 02 86955281.
30 Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Largo A. Gemelli, 1, ☎ +39 02 72341. Economics, Law, Humanities and Philosophy, Banking, Financial and Insurance Sciences, Education Sciences, Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures, Political Sciences, Sociology.
IULM - University Institute of Modern Languages, via Carlo Bo, 1,, ☎ +39 02 891411, fax: +39 02 89141400. Interpreting and communication, Communication and management in the art and culture markets, Public relations and advertising, Science and communication technologies, Tourism sciences: management, cultures and territory.
Vita - Salute San Raffaele University, via Olgettina 60, ☎ +39 02 26431. Medicine, Philosophy, Communication, Psychology. edit
IED - European Institute of Design, via A. Sciesa, 4, ☎ +39 02 5796951, fax: +39 02 5510374. Short degree courses and Masters with a design and fashion orientation.


Language studies

Italian for foreigners
Basic, advanced and certification preparation courses:
Municipio 1 - via G. D'Annunzio 15, 20123 Milan, Tel: +39 025 810 3696 +39 028 940 5142 - Fax: +39 028 324 1889
Municipio 2 - via Beroldo 9, 20127 Milan, Tel: 022 822 226 - Fax: 022 682 0701
Municipio 4 - via Decorati al Valor Civile 10, 20138 Milan, Tel: +39 028 846 5585 +39 027 306 87 - Fax: +39 027 010 4239
Municipio 4 - via Mincio 21, 20139 Milan, Tel: +39 025 521 3370 +39 028 846 5586 - Fax: +39 025 695 138
Municipio 8 - via G. Quarenghi 12, 20151 Milan, Tel: +39 023 084 353 - +39 028 846 5588 - Fax: +39 023 084 952


Job opportunities

Even in a regional framework of substantial full employment (thanks also to the favorable economic situation) it is not easy to find work, especially temporary and unskilled, by virtue of the rigidity of the legislation in force. Seasonal jobs are possible compatibly with the status of EU citizen in the tourism and agricultural fields (this obviously not in the city) and in assistance to the elderly. However, there are numerous temporary employment agencies that you can contact.



Perhaps one of the symbols of Milan. There are shops in which to shop for all budgets and for all tastes. Near the areas mentioned below, which are the most famous, also look in the neighboring streets: there are often shops where it is worth shopping. Of course, as in all the most famous and prestigious historic centers, in some areas such as Corso Buenos Aires there are the most famous but less prestigious chains, while in Via Montenapoleone there are luxury boutiques.

1 Montenapoleone - Spiga area, via Montenapoleone and via Spiga. In the center (Municipio 1). The cradle of Italian fashion. Forget the prices, according to the saying if I have to ask the price, it means I can't afford it. All the big names have a shop in this area, and you can truly see perhaps the most beautiful things in the world. There are obviously no department stores, although Gucci has had a three-story megastore for a few years. M1 San Babila, M3 Montenapoleone.
2 Vercelli area, Corso Vercelli. A long street (Corso Vercelli) just outside the Bastioni (Municipio 7). Obviously it doesn't compete with Montenapoleone, but you can find things of excellent quality at prices commensurate with the value. M1 Conciliazione, M1 Pagano. Tram № 16.
3 Buenos Aires area, Corso Buenos Aires. An even longer route, also outside the Bastions. Similar characteristics to the Vercelli area, with more choice, even of lower quality, thanks to the greater space. In the area (via San Gregorio) there are clothing wholesalers. M1M2 Loreto, M1 Lima, M1 Porta Venezia, S Porta Venezia station
4 Corso di Porta Ticinese area, Corso di Porta Ticinese. Continuation of the very central Via Torino, which starts from Piazza Duomo. Corso di Porta Ticinese continues up to the square containing the homonymous gate, XXIV Maggio. Lots of small shops, from the most expensive to those with excellent value for money, perfect for female shopping, especially as a complement to Zara or H&M. Trams № 2, 3, 14; Bus № 94. A bit far away, M2 Porta Genova.
5 Paolo Sarpi area, via Paolo Sarpi. Medium and low quality, but great deals are made. Considered the Chinatown of Milan, and much talked about for a trade that is sometimes a little under the lines, it is still an area to visit, also because it has particular characteristics. Many multi-ethnic food shops surround the rampant "Trading Centers", traders in the most diverse merchandise. M2 Moskva (a bit far) Tram 12, 14, Bus 37, 43, 57. edit


How to have fun

Night clubs
Brasserie Bruxelles, viale Abruzzi, 33. At Buenos Aires and P.le Loreto.
Bar Magenta, via Carducci 13/corner of corso Magenta. Cadorna area
The Monkeys, via Ascanio Sforza, 49. Navigli area.
A list of all the clubs in Milan with comments and photos is available on various sites of the active Milanese nightlife, such as on the milanoindiscoteca site.

Alcatraz, via Valtellina, 25, ☎ +39 02 69016352.
Hollywood, corso Como, 14, ☎ +39 348 1082533.
Sio Café, via Libero Temolo, 1, ☎ +39 02 66 11 80 87.

Gay clubs
The Porta Venezia district is considered the most LGBT friendly area of the city. In fact, you can also find numerous gay-friendly clubs, especially along via Lecco. Viale Sammartini, behind the Milano Centrale station, is also considered the gay street of Milan. Here is a list of the most popular places:

1 Red Cafè, via Panfilo Castaldi, 29, ☎ +39 02 36798869. Every day from 8:00 to 2:00, except Friday and Saturday until 3:00. Small place with red lights. Modest prices. Reservation recommended.
2 LeccoMilano, via Lecco, 5, ☎ +39 02 91639877, Monday to Friday 12:00 to 3:00, daily 18:00 to 2:00. Cozy place to have an aperitif or have a drink. Tables both inside and out.
3 Mono Bar, via Lecco, 6, ☎ +39 339 4810264, Every day from 18.30 until 01.00, except Wednesday and Thursday (until 01.30) and Friday and Saturday (until 2.00). Monday closed. Very small but cozy place to have an aperitif. Reservation recommended.
4 Blanco, via Giovanni Battista Morgagni, 2, ☎ +39 02 2940 5284,

Parks and natural attractions
Near the San Siro stadium, Acquaticapark is popular especially in the summer season.

Within a radius of 80-90 km from Milan, there are numerous attractions to visit: ski resorts and spas, protected areas, natural and aquatic parks.


Where to eat

Among the characteristic dishes of Milanese cuisine, the following are worth mentioning:
Saffron Risotto ("Milanese Style")
Wiener schnitzel
Ossobuco alla Milanese
Milanese tripe (the "busecca")

Modest prices
Milan is full of restaurants of the most famous fast-food chains such as McDonald's or Burger King, starting from Piazza Duomo, but for those who prefer to avoid these chains it is also possible to eat at reasonable prices in other restaurants or pizzerias easily available in the municipal area . Standard but good quality cuisine, and typically Italian food (Pizza, pasta, risotto, bruschetta, etc.).

Average prices
In this category we also mention the Maghera - Ravizza area. Within 200 meters there are more than thirty restaurants (Italian, South American, Chinese, fusion, etc.) and pizzerias, as well as various take away shops (many pizzerias and restaurants also offer this service). the via RaVizza, for this reason, is called by the residents via RaPizza.

In Milan it is also possible to eat excellent pizza. The best areas for pizzerias are those near Via Margherita (at the end of Corso Vercelli), the Naviglio Grande and in the Brera district. The price of a pizza and a beer ranges from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of around €15, but sometimes pizzerias offer menus at convenient prices.

As for the northern area of the city, it is possible to find numerous small pizzerias in Viale Fulvio Testi, the northern continuation of Viale Zara. Among these we mention the Pizzeria Da Pino, where you have an excellent value for money.

Milan is also home to the oldest restaurant in Italy as well as the second in Europe: the Antica trattoria Bagutto located in the suburbs of Milan.

High prices
In Milan there are numerous starred restaurants, such as the Cracco restaurant, Sadler and Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, but dining on an old tram is certainly also suggestive.

Tram-restaurant "Atmosfera, piazza Castello. Fixed price 65,- EUR per person, a bit expensive. Departure at 20:00 from piazza Castello. ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) has created the tram-restaurant "Atmosfera". in the restaurant a 1928 class Car – see above the photo of one of these cars – you can then dine while taking a sightseeing tour of Milan.


Where stay

A dense concentration of hotels can be found in the area south of the central railway station. This is a rather degraded part of the city, where it is possible to meet suspicious individuals especially at night. On the other hand the hotels are clean and safe, moreover most of the streets are lighted and the subway station is not far away.

Accommodations in central areas of Milan tend to be more luxurious and therefore more expensive.

If you are arriving by car, you may want to consider staying in hotels further away, preferably near a Metro station.



Although Milan is not a violent city, nor does it have many criminal organizations, in recent times it has been the site of bloody murders by both the Milanese and the foreign population. Where there are criminal organizations, however, their illicit activities are mainly directed towards their own countrymen, rather than towards citizens and tourists. Like all big cities, even in Milan there are safer and less safe areas; hours of the day in which it is possible to move around without problems and others, especially in the evening and at night, in which it is better to avoid certain districts. In general, the central areas are safe, also thanks to the intense traffic, which almost never stops. There are, however, some areas of the extreme periphery that it would be better to avoid in the evening hours.

Milan looks like a metropolitan city, so it is always better to pay the utmost attention and never leave objects unattended. It is preferable not to show off jewels, and not to trust strangers: they could be scammers.
Useful numbers
Local Police, ☎ +39 02 020208.
Red Cross, ☎ +39 02 3883.
Continuous dental care, ☎ +39 02 865460, +39 02 863624. 00:00-24:00.
Milano Sicura (Centre for victims of violence and crime), ☎ 800 667733.
Pronto Pharmacy, ☎ 800 801185.


How to keep in touch

Main office in piazza Cordusio, 2, 20121 Milan (Municipio 1), plus around 100 other post offices in the various municipalities. All offices are postal and Bancoposta service. Hours are typically 08:00 - 14:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 - 12:00 (Saturday). The main office and approximately one office for each area operate extended hours on afternoons and Saturdays.

The area code for Milan is 02. As in all of Italy, the area code no longer exists, as it has been incorporated into the number: therefore, if you need to call a number in Milan from Milan, you must still dial 02 at the beginning.


Physical geography


Milan rests on carbonate cement ground of fluvial-glacial origin, common to the entire Po Valley. Its main feature is that it is easily karstified. This rock is covered by Quaternary fluvial sediments and is visible along the main watercourses that flow through it, forming rocky conglomerates which in Lombardy are known as "ceppi".

Milan occupies an area of 181.67 km² in the western part of Lombardy, located 25 km east of the Ticino River, 25 km west of the Adda River, 35 km north of the Po River and 50 km south of the lake of Como, along the so-called "band of resurgences", where there is an encounter, in the subsoil, between geological layers with different permeability, an aspect that allows deep waters to resurface on the surface.

The hydrography of Milan and the area of the neighboring municipalities is particularly complex, both for natural causes, given the conspicuous presence of rivers, streams and fountains, which form a veritable tangle of water, and for issues related to canalization and diversion of man-made watercourses, having their beginning during the Roman era, which led to the creation of numerous irrigation ditches, canals and artificial lakes. Since water is abundant and easily accessible, the ancient Romans never built aqueducts in Milan.

The most important waterways that affect modern Milan and its metropolitan area are the Lambro, Olona and Seveso rivers, the Bozzente, Garbogera, Lura, Merlata and Pudiga streams, the Martesana, Grande, Pavese, Bereguardo canals, of Paderno and Vettabbia, and the artificial watercourses Ticinello, Vetra, Redefossi, Cavo Ticinello and Lambro Meridionale. Two important artificial basins are also located in Milan: the Darsena di Porta Ticinese and the Idroscalo di Milano.

Among the noteworthy architectures connected to them, there are various navigation basins (including the Incoronata basin, the Viarenna basin, the Fallata basin and the conchetta), some water mills (including Molino Dorino and Mulino Vettabbia ) and the Gabelle bridge.



Milan is located to the west of the Po Valley basin and is characterized by a temperate humid climate with a significant annual temperature range (hot summer and cold winter), Cfa according to the Köppen climate classification.

Milan, like a large part of the Po Valley, suffers from poor ventilation which favors the stagnation of mists and pollutants, also due to the high population density. Milanese winters are therefore colder than those of coastal cities, without however reaching the extremes typical of central Europe thanks to the more southern latitude and the protection provided by the Alps. Summers, on the other hand, are hot and muggy.

Overall, rainfall in the Milan area is well distributed throughout the year, even if the winter season records relatively long periods without rainfall, with a minimum of about 40 mm in February. The shoulder seasons are rainy, especially mid-autumn and spring. Slightly more scarce rainfall in the southern suburbs and more in the north-eastern one.

Before the 1990s, winter snowfalls were frequent. Considering the period from the sixties to the nineties of the twentieth century, the "average snow" of the city of Milan (i.e. the total average annual centimeters of snow accumulation) is lower than that of some cities in the north-west and the Emilia (such as Piacenza, Parma, Bologna, Turin), but higher than other cities of the north-east (such as Udine, Verona, Venice), stopping at 25.2 cm per year in the city. The most abundant snowfall of the 20th century dates back to January 1985, with 90 cm of accumulation.

The thermal extremes of Milan from 1763 to today were -17.3 °C in 1855 and 39.8 °C in 2003 (the latter recorded at the Milan Brera meteorological station). The average temperature range on a sunny day is around 10-13 degrees. Humidity is statistically present throughout the year, especially in the winter months and during the night. The mists are favored by the clear sky, which allows for cooling by radiation, by the superficially humid soil, by the scarce ventilation of the western Po Valley and by particular winter baric configurations such as the high pressure regimes which in this period of the year tend to present themselves with a certain frequency.

Below is the table with the climatic averages and the absolute maximum and minimum values recorded in the thirty-year period 1971-2000 and published in the Italian Climate Atlas of the Air Force Meteorological Service relating to the aforementioned thirty-year period.


Origin of the name

The ancient name of Milan is attested as Mediolanum in the ancient Latin written sources and as Mediólanon in the Greek sources. There is also an epigraphic attestation of the name of Milan in the local Celtic language, present in a graffiti found on a stretch of the Roman walls of Milan, where Meśiolano can be read traced in a northern Etruscan alphabet (with o), as in the generality of Gallic inscriptions . The transcribed symbol ś is used here to represent an etymological /d/, as other uses of this symbol in Celtic show, besides the fact that this same runic ᛞ sign has precisely the value of /d/.

In Mediolanum, linguists traditionally recognize a compound term formed by the words medio and (p)lanum, or "in the middle of the plain" or "middle plain", with *planum becoming lanum with the drop of the p- at the beginning of the word, which is typical of the Celtic languages.

Some theories spread in non-specialist writings, which ignore the existence of a certain attestation of the Celtic name offered by the graffiti mentioned above, refer to a hypothetical Celtic toponym Medhelan, which would have the meaning of "in the middle of the plain", given its central position in the Po Valley, or "place between waterways" given the presence of the Olona, Lambro, Seveso rivers and the Nirone and Pudiga streams; other hypotheses identify the meaning of "central sanctuary" (with reference, for the second term of the compound, to lanon = "sanctuary") or that of "fertile land" (Celt. med = "fertile"; land or lan = "land ").

Despite a certain diffusion of this theory (moreover only in recent, mostly non-specialist Italian writings), the term Medhelan is the work of a subjective reconstruction and is not attested in any ancient, epigraphic or literary source. The sound dh, present in the reconstruction of the Indo-European represents an aspirated mean, and the average aspirates in Celtic have fallen into the averages, so it is not surprising to find the sound d in Mediolanum, while it is not clear what value dh would have in the *Medhelan reconstruction.

In Milanese dialect, the oldest name of which documented traces have come down is Miran.

There were dozens of Mediólanon throughout Celtic Europe, especially in France (like Montmélian), all sharing the same etymology.



Celtic era

Milan was founded around 590 BC, by a Celtic tribe belonging to the Insubri group and belonging to the Golasecca culture. The original name, handed down by Latin authors such as Mediolanum (Tacitus, Pliny the Elder) or Mediolanium (Titus Livy) and by Greek authors such as Μεδιόλανον (Polybius, Plutarch, Cassius Dione) or Μεδιολάνιον (Strabone), appears in an ancient Celtic graffiti in the form Meśiolano (where ś most likely renders the sound /d/). The Roman city was then in turn gradually superimposed and replaced by the medieval one. The urban center of Milan has therefore constantly grown like wildfire, until modern times, around the first Celtic nucleus.

According to the legendary tradition reported by Tito Livio and then taken up again in the Middle Ages by Bonvesin de la Riva, the foundation of Milan took place in the 6th century BC. in the place where a semi-woolly sow was found by the Celtic tribe led by Belloveso, who defeated the Etruscans, a population that until then had dominated the area, in the battle of the Ticino.

Based on the archaeological findings, the Celtic oppidum must have had the same location and extension as the Golasecca settlement, which was older, but urban defensive works have never come to light, probably built in wood and earth, an event that explains the attribution of the definition of "village" by Polybius and Strabone. The distribution map of the finds from the early Iron Age shows that the Golasecca settlement (5th century BC) occupied an area of about 12 hectares near the modern Piazza San Sepolcro.


Roman times

After being the most important city of the insubri Celts, Milan was conquered by the Romans in 222 BC. following a harsh siege by the consuls Gneo Cornelio Scipione Calvo and Marco Claudio Marcello. The conquest was opposed by the descent of Hannibal, to which the Celtic population allied. It was only in the early 2nd century BC. that the Insubres and the Boii definitively submitted to the Roman domination.

Due to its favorable rear position, Milan was of strategic importance for Caesar's campaigns during the conquest of Gaul. In the years from 58 BC. to 50 BC Milan became the most important center of Cisalpine Gaul and, in the wake of its economic development, in 49 BC. it was elevated by Cesare, within the framework of the Lex Roscia, to the status of municipium.

After Julius Caesar opened Britain to Roman trade and influence with soldiers from Mediolanum, the growth of military importance was accompanied by political recognition. At the time of the subdivision of the Roman Empire carried out by Diocletian in 286 Milan became, with Trier, the capital of the Western Roman Empire.

Constantine made an agreement in 313 in Milan with Licinius to allow all citizens, therefore also Christians, the freedom to honor their divinities thanks to the promulgation of the Edict of Milan (also called Edict of Constantine). Soon after, many basilicas began to be built. Here is what Ausonio tells of the Mediolanum of 380-390:

«In Mediolanum everything is worthy of admiration, there are great riches and there are numerous noble houses. The population is highly capable, eloquent and affable. The city has grown and is surrounded by a double circle of walls. There are the circus, where the people enjoy the shows, the theater with wedge-shaped steps, the temples, the fortress of the imperial palace, the mint, the district which takes its name from the Herculean baths. The colonnaded courtyards are adorned with marble statues, the walls are surrounded by a wall of fortified embankments. Its buildings are one more imposing than the other, as if they were rivals, and not even the comparison with Rome diminishes their greatness.
(Ausonius, Ordo urbium nobilium, VII.)


In the period of Bishop Ambrogio and Emperor Theodosius I, who declared Christianity the only religion of the empire with the Edict of Thessalonica, Milan was the most influential center of the Western Church (here Saint Augustine converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptized the following year).

The ancient Mediolanum was defended by a wall equipped with towers and by four fortifications, the Castrum Vetus, the Castrum Portae Novae, the Arx Romana and the Castrum Portae Jovis. The Roman walls of Milan and the related city gates were destroyed during the siege of Milan in 1162, by Federico Barbarossa, and were then replaced by the medieval walls of Milan.


Medieval era

Milan then followed the events of the decline of the Roman Empire. In 402 AD, after a long siege, the city managed to repel the Visigoths commanded by King Alaric: after these events, the emperor Honorius made the decision to move the seat of the capital of the empire from Milan to Ravenna. The disintegration of late ancient society and the consequent fall of the Western Roman Empire was counterbalanced by the first settlement in Milan of a Germanic people: that of the Heruli of Odoacer.

In 493, in this context, the Goths led by Theodoric defeated Odoacer, who had shortly before deposed the last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, putting an end to the history of Roman civilization in this part of Europe. However, the increasingly precarious political and military situation caused the city several wounds and Milan experienced its first destruction in 539: the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I (527-565), determined to reconquer the western imperial territories , attacked the Gothic king Theodatus by sending the generals Belisarius and Narses to Italy in command of his troops, starting what would become the long Gothic War.

In 539 Milan, due to disagreements between the two generals, found itself at the mercy of the Goths of Uraia who set it on fire, massacring the population. This event was responsible for the destruction of the marble and large buildings of Roman Milan, from civil buildings to pagan temples, up to the large and rich patrician villas, which were literally and systematically stripped and finally set on fire with the whole city. Milan was then reconquered (within 559) by Narses, and rebuilt by the latter. In the short Byzantine period it may have been elevated to the capital of the Italian diocese (Northern Italy), even if there is no certain documentary evidence of this fact.

In the 6th century, with the descent of the Lombards into the Po Valley, Milan suffered looting and plundering, which lasted several decades, which was followed by a first impulse of rebirth. The capital of the Longobard dominion was the nearby Pavia, but Milan also held this function for a short time under the reign of Agilulfo and Teodolinda and their son Adaloaldo, from about 604 to about 626. The Lombard Kingdom ended in 774 with the conquest of Pavia by Charlemagne, who took the last king Desiderius and his wife prisoner, proclaimed himself Gratia Dei rex Francorum et Longobardorum and was then crowned in Rome by Leo III in 800 first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

The importance of Milan was confirmed as the seat of an imperial count and a bishop. With the deposition of Charles the Fat (887), the authority of the central government was lost and it was the counts and bishops who exercised local power: the city evolved into a free commune, gradually extending its influence over most of Lombardy (XI century). In particular, the establishment of the modern municipality of Milan took place in 1117: in that year the activity of the consuls of Milan was in fact attested for the first time. The increased importance and independence led to the inevitable clash with the Holy Roman Empire. Almost completely destroyed in April 1162 by Federico Barbarossa, it was reborn after the victory of the Lombard League in the battle of Legnano (29 May 1176).

In the meantime, as already mentioned, Milan had chosen to govern itself through consuls. However, also due to internal discord, between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century, it passed to the regime of the podestàs, who were summoned from other cities (Brescia, Lodi, Piacenza, Bologna, Como, Vercelli, Bergamo, Mantua, Genoa, Parma, Venice, Modena, Cremona, Pavia, Reggio Emilia, Forlì) in the hope that they would be impartial. The origins, therefore, covered a large part of northern Italy, while the furthest city from which a podestà was called in Milan appears to be Forlì.


Modern era

In the late Middle Ages Milan saw the struggle of the Della Torre (also called "Torriani") and Visconti families for possession of the city, with the dominance of the latter, which would then give way to the Sforza family only in the mid-15th century, at the dawn of the Renaissance.

The lordship of the Visconti, which became the Duchy of Milan in 1396, successfully pursued an expansionist policy, and the city became the capital of an extensive, powerful and rich state which also needed symbols to sanction its hegemonic role. Gian Galeazzo Visconti wanted a cathedral for his city that rivaled the largest in Europe: the Duomo of Milan, whose construction began in 1386.

The city's economy had been growing: in the 13th century Milan was one of the few European cities to have more than 100,000 inhabitants, craftsmanship was in full development, above all for the working of metals and fabrics, agriculture and livestock were flourishing and the intense traffic, also thanks to the construction of the Naviglio Grande, which favored trade and wisely irrigated the countryside.

To demonstrate pride in this growth, works such as the Sforza Castle (already existing in the Visconti era with the name of Porta Giovia Castle but readapted, enlarged and completed by the Sforzas) were carried out. The Porta Giovia Castle stood to the south in the same place as the Roman Castrum Portae Jovis) and the Ospedale Maggiore. The Sforzas also managed to attract personalities to Milan such as Leonardo da Vinci, who redesigned and improved the hydraulics of the canals and painted the Last Supper, and Bramante, who worked on the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro, on the basilica of Sant' Ambrogio and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie conditioning the development of the Lombard Renaissance.

In 1499 France advanced succession rights over the Duchy of Milan with Louis XII, who invaded the duchy driving out Ludovico il Moro. Charles V of Habsburg, as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, enthroned Francesco II Sforza who died without heirs in 1535, and then Charles V, with an imperial diploma, appointed his son Philip II of Spain duke.

The rights of the Spanish Empire over the Duchy of Milan were definitively recognized with the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559). The Spanish domination began with a long period of peace (1535-1620). Charles V issued the Constitutiones Mediolanensis Dominii, which left the duchy with ample government autonomy, with the only bond of loyalty to the sovereign, but created a harmful dualism with the royal offices which will never be completely overcome.

Charles V also had the estimate of the duchy drawn up, which should have allowed for better tax collection: in reality it caused resistance in the clergy and in the oligarchies who controlled the city and ducal government, who did not want to give up privileges and immunities. Thus began a fiscal tightening that would not cease until 1706.

The devastating plague of 1630 profoundly marked the city and its culture, so much so that it was later revived by Alessandro Manzoni, both in I promessi sposi and in Storia della colonna infame, a writing of high historical and social value, in which Manzoni proposes a profound reflection on the mistakes made by the judges, who abused their power, to arrive at a sentence of condemnation of two people as they are considered spreaders.

Few are the evident signs of Spanish domination left in Milan: the Spanish walls of Milan, demolished between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the baroque church of San Giuseppe, the Collegio Elvetico in via Senato and the Darsena di Porta Ticino, excavated by the Spanish governor Pedro Enríquez de Acevedo, Count of Fuentes.

The eighteenth century saw Milan pass from Spanish to Austrian domination, which continued until the Napoleonic era, except for a three-year parenthesis, between 1733 and 1736, during which the city was controlled by the Kingdom of Sardinia. It was a period of cultural flourishing which saw the work of intellectuals such as Pietro Verri, Cesare Beccaria and Paolo Frisi. Thanks to the Habsburg policies, Milan became one of the main centers of the Italian Enlightenment.

With the death of Charles II of Spain the great war for his succession spread. On 24 September 1706 Eugene of Savoy was at the gates of Milan and the Spanish governor, the prince of Vaudémont, hastily abandoned the city, leaving it at the mercy of the new Austrian domination. Governor Maximilian Charles of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort followed, who was remembered for having rebuilt the Teatro Regio Ducale, which was later destroyed by fire.

The Austrian Empire dominated Milan until 9 May 1796, the date on which the Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg-Este left the city due to the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte engaged in the Italian campaign. From 1796 to 1797 Milan was the capital of the Transpadana Republic, from 1797 to 1802 the seat of the government of the Cisalpine Republic, from 1802 to 1805 the capital of the Napoleonic Italian Republic and from 1805 to 1814 the seat of the government of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.

The arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte aroused a wave of enthusiasm in the Milanese who saw in him the possibility of realizing the new French revolutionary ideals long awaited during the conservative period of the Austrians. The French army entered Milan on 15 May and, after about a year of Jacobin-inspired riots, the establishment of the Cisalpine Republic followed in 1797. However, it did not have an easy life because, after Napoleon had left, Milan fell back into Jacobinism and was unable to offer any resistance to the return of the Austrians in 1799, who undertook a blind repression. After Napoleon's appointment as first consul, thanks to the victory in the battle of Marengo, the city became the capital of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.


From the Napoleonic era to the Second World War

After the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, with the Congress of Vienna (1815), Milan returned under Austrian rule, no longer as a duchy, but as the capital of the newborn Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom and this remained until 1859, when, following the Second War of independence, it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which later became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

After the annexation of Rome to the Italian State (1870) and its transformation into capital, for some time Milan was qualified with the title of Moral Capital; the definition is attributed by Ruggiero Bonghi as an author's word coined in the years in which he directed La Perseveranza, and experienced a certain diffusion in the wake of the success of the industrial fair of 1881. It alluded to the Milanese character of the time, thanks to which the industrialization of the city and the surrounding areas was completed.[

In 1883 the Centrale Santa Radegonda was inaugurated in Milan, the first power plant in Europe and second in the world after that of New York. The construction, led by Giuseppe Colombo, is commemorated on a column in the street of the same name by a plaque subsequently placed by Luigi Dadda.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries Milan experienced an extraordinary industrial and tertiary sector development which placed it at the center of Italy's economic affairs. It was the site of the Universal Exposition of 1906, which celebrated the opening of the Sempione Tunnel. The war effort during the First World War recorded a strong development of industry, not only heavy, with consequent difficulties in the subsequent post-war reconversion; this was combined with the disappointment for the many expectations of greater well-being and democracy generated, not only in Italy, by the propaganda for enlistment: first social tensions resulted in what historians call the red biennium, in reaction to which it found new life fascism.

At the beginning of the 20th century, due to its social composition, Milan was a city with a strong socialist connotation: Filippo Turati, who had founded the Milanese Socialist League there in 1889, was among the founders, in 1892, of the Italian Socialist Party. The organ of the party, the newspaper Avanti!, had its headquarters here from 1911 and Benito Mussolini was one of its directors (1913-1914). Socialists were the last two democratically elected mayors of Milan, Emilio Caldara in 1914 and Angelo Filippetti in 1920.

On 14 February 1916, in the midst of the First World War, Milan suffered the first aerial bombardment in its history; two war bombers, Etrich Taube model, of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Royal Air Force dropped numerous bombs in the areas of Porta Romana and Porta Vittoria, causing 16 deaths and about 40 wounded. The two bombers withdrew undisturbed to the Gardolo air base (in Trentino, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), from where they had departed.

The years immediately following the First World War were full of social tensions culminating in the already mentioned red two-year period with bloody clashes between anarchist, worker and communist movements and the nascent fascist movement of which Milan was the cradle, seeing its foundation on 23 March 1919 with the name of Movimento dei Fasci italiani di Combattimento in the Hall of the Industrial Alliance Club in Piazza San Sepolcro. On 12 April 1928 the city was shaken by the serious attack on Vittorio Emanuele III, in which 20 people were killed by the explosion of an explosive device while they were waiting to witness the passage of the King on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of the VIII edition of the Fiera Campionaria . In the two-year period 1929-30 the Cerchia dei Navigli was covered, thus radically changing the appearance of many urban landscapes of the city.

During the Second World War Milan experienced the heaviest air raids ever suffered by a large Italian city. In August 1943, Milan suffered several air raids in the space of one week, which destroyed a third of the built-up area and affected 50 percent of the buildings, leaving 150,000 people homeless. The planes dropped the bombs from very high altitudes, randomly hitting the buildings in the historic centre. The Teatro alla Scala, Palazzo Marino, la Rinascente, the Corriere della Sera headquarters, the factories of Pirelli, Alfa Romeo and Breda were heavily bombed while the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was unroofed. The Cathedral was spared despite the collapse of dozens of statues. Also affected were the Castello Sforzesco, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Royal Palace, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the Fatebenefratelli hospital.

The massacre of the 184 elementary school children of Gorla on 20 October 1944 was tragic. Seventeen planes of the 451st Bomb Group of the United States Air Force, having missed their target (the Breda establishments) because they were off course, dropped 170 bombs weighing two hundred kilos on the neighborhoods of Gorla, Pre-cooked and Turro. One of these hit the school stairs as children, teachers and staff tried to reach shelters: 614 people were killed that day.

On 29 April 1945 the bodies of 18 fascist leaders including Mussolini himself were exhibited in Piazzale Loreto. The hierarchs had been shot by a group of partisans commanded by Walter Audisio on the afternoon of 28 April. The crowd began to trample and hit the bodies, covering them with spit, and only thanks to the intervention of firefighters and some partisans were the corpses rescued from the wrath of the crowd and hung upside down on the canopy of the petrol station in the square.


From the second post-war period to the new millennium

Emblem city of the Resistance (April 25, national liberation day, commemorates the general partisan insurrection of April 25, 1945 which led to the liberation of Milan) was, after World War II, after the birth of the Italian Republic (1946), one of the engines of the industrial and cultural reconstruction of post-war Italy.

Some of the major clashes of the Italian Sixty-eight took place in Milan and here was the first episode of the so-called strategy of tension (December 12, 1969 with the massacre in Piazza Fontana). From the end of the eighties the city began to be remembered as "Milan to drink", a name deriving from an advertising slogan that became a symbol of an era in which it and the entire nation could enjoy widespread well-being.

In the last quarter of a century the city was at the center of Italian politics: with the rise to government of the Milanese ruling class of the Italian Socialist Party - led by Bettino Craxi - to the national government, then with the Tangentopoli scandal, then again with the he rise of the Milanese businessman Silvio Berlusconi to lead a centre-right coalition.

Today Milan is an important commercial and industrial centre, both within the European Union and internationally, as well as the major Italian hub for services and the tertiary sector, finance, fashion, publishing and industry. It is also the headquarters of the Italian Stock Exchange (in Piazza degli Affari), one of the most important financial centers in Europe, and is a great pole of attraction for the administrative headquarters of dozens of multinationals. Milan is one of the major university, publishing and television centers in Europe. It is also home to the Fiera di Milano, an exhibition center with the largest exhibition area in Europe.

After the official assignment by the Bureau international des Expositions on 31 March 2008, from 1 May to 31 October 2015 the city hosted Expo 2015, on the theme of food. The city of Milan is featured in the publications of the Globalization and World Cities Study Group of Loughborough University, where in 2004 it was classified as an incipient global city together with Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Madrid, Moscow and Toronto. In 2016 it won the European Award for Accessible Cities.



«1. The historic banner, awarded the gold medal of the Resistance, and depicting Saint Ambrose, bishop elected by the people, is the banner of Milan.
2. The coat of arms of the City of Milan is heraldically described as follows: argent (white) with a cross gules, topped with a turreted crown (a golden circle opened by eight pusterles), and surrounded on the sides in the lower part by green fronds of laurel and oak knotted with a tricolor ribbon.
3. The flag of the Municipality of Milan consists of a red cross on a white background.'
(Blazon of the banner, coat of arms and flag of Milan reported in the statute of the municipality)

The symbols of Milan are the coat of arms, the banner and the flag, as reported in the municipal statute.

The flag used by the modern city of Milan faithfully reproduces the one used by the Duchy of Milan from 1395 to 1797, i.e. a white banner with a red St. George's cross. Depending on the historical period and - in particular - on the reigning dynasty that dominated the city, various civic banners have followed one another (the so-called Vexillum civitas), which from time to time represented the noble family that governed the Milanese duchy, without prejudice to the conservation of the primitive white city flag with a red St. George's cross as the official state banner (the so-called Vexillum publicum).

The coat of arms of Milan consists of a silver (white) Samnite shield on which a red cross of San Giorgio is superimposed. The whole is enclosed on the sides by a laurel and an oak branch, tied together by a tricolor ribbon. The shield, which is stamped by a gold or black turreted crown, symbol of the title of city, has been in use, in its modern form, since 19 March 1934, when the related concession decree was issued by the State. The red cross of San Giorgio on a white field as a symbol of the Milanese city was born in the Middle Ages: this subject, which was reported for the first time on the flag of Milan, was then the inspiration for the creation of the city's coat of arms.

The first banner of Milan was a tapestry made around 1565 by the embroiderers Scipione Delfinone and Camillo Pusterla based on a design by Giuseppe Arcimboldi and Giuseppe Meda. Restored about twenty times over the next three centuries, it is kept inside the Castello Sforzesco, in the Sala del Gonfalone. A copy of it, which is kept in Palazzo Marino, in the Sala dell'Alessi, is exhibited on the most important official occasions to represent the city of Milan. Both of the banners mentioned depict, in the centre, Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan and patron saint of the city.

Other symbols are the semi-woolly sow, an animal linked to the legend of the foundation of Milan, the "Madonnina", a golden statue of Mary placed on the highest spire of the Milan Cathedral, the biscione (el bisson in Milanese dialect), portrayed in the act of swallowing or protecting, depending on the interpretations, a child or a naked man surmounted by a golden crown, originally a symbol of the house of the Visconti, Lords and then Dukes of Milan between the XIII and XV centuries, and finally Meneghino, mask linked to the city after having supplanted the older and more traditional one of "Baltramm de Gaggian". The name "Milanese" is sometimes used, as an adjective, as a substitute for "Milanese" (see, for example, the well-known cultural institution Famiglia Meneghina).



The banner of Milan is decorated with two honors. Milan was the first, among the twenty-seven cities decorated with a gold medal as "deserving of the national Risorgimento", to be awarded this honor for the highly patriotic actions carried out by the city during the Risorgimento period (understood by the reigning House of Savoy, which granted this honor to Milan, like the period between 1848 and 1918).

The Lombard capital is also among the cities decorated for military valor for the war of liberation; in particular it was awarded the gold medal for military valor for the sacrifices suffered by its population and for its activity in the partisan resistance during the Second World War.

The reasons for the granting of the two honors are:
Medal to the meritorious cities of the national Risorgimento
«To remember the heroic actions carried out by the citizens of Milan in the five days of 1848. The popular insurrection in Milan flared up on 18 March 1848, with the news of the revolution in Vienna and the insurrection in Venice. On the 23rd the insurgents forced Marshal Radetzki to abandon the city and retreat towards Verona. About three hundred dead were counted among the insurgents.
— Rome, March 18, 1898

Gold medal for military valor - ribbon for ordinary uniform Gold medal for military valor
«In the epic "Cinque Giornate", rising up and driving out a powerfully armed army from its walls, he demonstrated the value against tyranny of the popular impetus supported by an unquenchable thirst for justice, freedom and independence. Present with its martyrs and heroes in Mazzini's conspiracies and in the battles of the first Risorgimento, in the years from 1943 to 1945, although mutilated and bloodied by war offenses, it opposed the ruthless enemy of all times, the pride and the impetus of an implacable partisan struggle, in which it lavished the blood of its best sons, and finally overwhelmed it in the victorious insurrection of April 25, 1945. A wonderful example of civic and warrior virtues that the Republic honors. March 18-22, 1848, February 6, 1853, September 9, 1943, April 25, 1945.»
— Rome, March 15, 1948



Languages and dialects

In the metropolitan city of Milan the Lombard language is relatively widespread in its Milanese dialectal variant, which extends to the northern part of the province of Pavia. The Milanese, also called Meneghino from the homonymous mask of the city of Milan, is commonly considered the most important variety of the Lombard language for tradition and literature, with the first historical attestations dating back to the XIII century by the hand of writers such as Pietro da Barsegapè and Bonvesin de la Riva. Over the centuries, the Milanese was also able to establish itself among the population as a language of culture; through poems, dictionaries, magazines and plays that became bearers of the numerous social needs of the city and its inhabitants. Among the authors who have contributed most to the Milanese literary panorama, it is worth mentioning the poets Carlo Porta, Delio Tessa and Franco Loi, the playwrights Carlo Bertolazzi and Edoardo Ferravilla and the writer Cletto Arrighi.

Milanese does not have legal recognition (Law No. 482 of 1999) and is not protected by the Italian Republic, while the Lombard language is unofficially recognized with Recommendation No. 928 of 7 October 1981 of the Council of Europe. A notable approximation of the dialect to Italian took place, above all during the 20th century, also due to the acquisition of lexicon from the national language (for example scòla compared to scoeura "school", etc.), a quite understandable phenomenon if it is thought that those who speak Milanese generally also speak Italian.



The first religious confession in Milan is the Catholic one. The liturgy differs from that typical of most of the Catholic world in that Milan follows its own rite, called the Ambrosian rite, deriving from the tradition that has become stratified in the Milanese liturgy. In ancient times there were various local rites, which were gradually abolished. The Ambrosian rite survived and settled down over the centuries both due to the importance of the Milanese see and because, at the moment of maximum uniformity of the liturgy, or at the time of the Council of Trent, a Milanese pope, Pius IV, reigned. Another reason for the conservation of the Ambrosian rite was the fact that the soul of the Council was Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop of Milan and nephew of Pius IV.

The second religious community is the Muslim one, which is found in mosques such as that of viale Jenner and that of Segrate (which meets in the Segrate Mosque), which however is located in the territory of the municipality of Milan, even if in its extreme point . For some time in Milan there have been buildings of worship for Protestants, such as the Waldensian Church in via Francesco Sforza, the Evangelical Church of the Assemblies of God in via delle Forze Armate, the Orthodox Church, such as the Romanian one in via De Amicis and the Orthodox church of via Giulini, which belongs to the patriarchate of Moscow and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Milan is also home to the second largest Italian Jewish community by number of faithful, at least 7,000, second only to the Jewish community of Rome. The most important Armenian community in Italy also heads to Milan, present both with the Armenian-Catholic church and with the Armenian apostolic church. The Scientology community has also been present since 1978, with a main office in Milan's Town Hall 9 in viale Fulvio Testi.


Traditions and folklore

Among the Milanese traditions, the Ambrosian Carnival is worthy of mention, an annual event of a historical and religious nature whose events involve the city of Milan, the entire archdiocese of Milan and the territories of some of the nearby dioceses during which the protagonists are, among others , the Milanese masks of Meneghino and della Cecca.

Another annual event is the delivery of the golden Ambrogino, the unofficial name with which the honors conferred by the municipality of Milan are commonly called, whose name is inspired by Sant'Ambrogio, patron saint of the city. Also worthy of note are the Sforza Games, a playful conference organized in collaboration with the municipality of Milan which began in 1999.


The gold Ambrogino medal

As far as commercial events are concerned, the Sinigallia fair, a historic flea market that takes place every Saturday near the Darsena di Porta Ticinese, and the Oh Bej! Oh Bej!, an ancient market typical of the Christmas period which is generally held from 7 December, the day of Sant'Ambrogio, until the following Sunday. Also noteworthy is the Tredesin de Mars, a traditional Milanese festival born to commemorate the announcement of Christianity to the city by Saint Barnabas.


Institutions, organizations and associations

The oldest Milanese hospital serving the entire city of which documented traces remain is the Brolo hospital. Founded in 1158, four years before the surrender to Federico Barbarossa, it functioned for over three centuries. After 1456, it ceded its primary role to the Ca' Granda which became, through the incorporation of other charitable works, bequests and donations, one of the most important institutions in Milan. The ancient name "Ca' Granda" is still carried by the Niguarda hospital, whose full name is Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital, and by the Milan Polyclinic, whose full name is Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico.

The health system of Milan, like that of the whole of Italy, no longer depends on the local authority but is the responsibility of the region, which acts on the territory through the local health authorities. The official website of the Lombardy region registers 31 hospitals in Milan, including public and affiliated, specialist or general, which fully cover the pathologies envisaged by the national protocols. Patients from other regions often resort to them. Lombard healthcare is among the "virtuous" ones, that is, which do not have a budget deficit. Among the hospitals, there are several that belong to the category of hospitalization and treatment institutes of a scientific nature, the so-called IRCCS. Among the specialist hospitals, we recall the Carlo Besta National Neurological Institute, the IRCCS Foundation of the National Cancer Institute, the European Institute of Oncology, the Gaetano Pini Orthopedic Institute and the Monzino Cardiological Centre, while among the general hospitals the most important are the Maggiore Hospital of Milan, the Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital, the Fatebenefratelli and Ophthalmic Hospital and the San Raffaele University Scientific Institute.

Alongside the charitable care of the sick, Milanese philanthropy has taken charge, over time, of founding and supporting institutions that have since become historic and familiar in the social panorama of the city for assistance to the elderly and orphans: the Baggina, the Martinitt orphanage and the Orphanage of the Stars. A characteristic of the three initiatives was the fact that the beneficiaries should, within their possibilities, practice or learn a trade in order to maintain or create personal dignity. This theme is linked to the numerous initiatives for literacy and for the teaching of arts and crafts which will find a large following among the protagonists of the industrialization of the city, which took place in the 19th century. An important philanthropic role is also played by the Cariplo Foundation.

Among the scientific institutions based in Milan we can mention the Lombard Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Brera Astronomical Observatory and the Brera Botanical Garden, FAST-Federation of Italian scientific and technical associations. Milan is home to numerous development cooperation organizations that have legal or operational offices in the city and operate internationally.


Life quality

In 2019, for the second consecutive year, Milan ranked first in the ranking drawn up by Il Sole 24 Ore which measures the quality of life in Italian cities. The factors that have allowed the conquest of this primacy are the constant demographic increase, whose increase has continued uninterruptedly since 2012, the lifestyle increasingly attentive to ecological issues, a very broad cultural offer, the interventions focused on the development of the city suburbs and extensive and deep-rooted entrepreneurial activity, which generates jobs and wealth. The only indicator detrimental to the quality of life in Milan is safety, due to the high number of crimes reported.




As in all large cities, in Milan there is a large number of schools, both public and private, which allow very specific or personalized educational programs for those with needs or financial possibilities.

In 2021 there were over 900 schools of all levels, including: over 500 institutes between infancy and primary schools, 125 first degree secondary schools and over 250 second degree secondary schools. Some of these boast centuries of history, such as the "Cesare Beccaria" classical high school, originally started in 1603 in Piazza Missori by the Barnabite Fathers, and the "Giuseppe Parini" classical high school, heir to the "Regio Ginnasio di Brera" established in 1774 by Maria Teresa of Austria in the Brera area.

It is possible to attend schools in English, French (Liceo "Stendhal") and German (Scuola Germanica di Milano). At the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, compulsory schooling can be combined with a ballet school.

Milan's higher education system comprises 39 university centers (44 faculties, 174 000 new students per year, equal to 10% of the entire Italian university population), and has the largest number of graduate and postgraduate students (respectively, 34,000 and more than 5,000) in Italy. Milan is the first city in Italy for the offer of faculties. A consortium of universities (excluding the Academies and the Conservatory) gave rise in 2003 to the creation of a "college of excellence": the Collegio di Milano.

Four Milanese universities are present in the QS World University Rankings: the University of Milan, the Polytechnic of Milan, the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and the "Luigi Bocconi" commercial university, which guarantee academic excellence recognized throughout the world by employers. According to a survey by the municipality carried out in 2012, Milan is also the destination for 40% of Italian graduates abroad who return to Italy.

The city also hosts the prestigious "Giuseppe Verdi" Conservatory of Music, founded in 1807.

The library tradition of Milan is reflected in its three historic libraries, the Ambrosian Library, the National Braidense Library and the Trivulziana Library, which preserves Leonardo da Vinci's Trivulziano Code. The Ambrosiana, founded in 1607 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, was also the first library in Italy to be opened and made accessible to the public; it preserves a remarkable heritage of illuminated codes and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus. The Braidense, commissioned in 1770 by Maria Theresa of Austria, was designed to balance the large number of manuscripts in the Ambrosiana with a large number of printed books. In 1890 the central municipal library of Milan was established, the main seat of the city's library system which is divided into twenty-four lending and reading points uniformly distributed throughout the municipal area.

Among the university libraries we should mention the Leonardo Campus Library of the Milan Polytechnic, to date the most important scientific library in Italy, and that of the University, particularly rich and articulated especially as regards the faculties of law, political science and literature and philosophy, containing about 500,000 volumes. Of great interest for the history of music and theater is the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory Library, established in 1807 by Napoleon Bonaparte, which became the State musical archive during the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom with the obligation to provide copies of all published musical works.



The Royal Palace of Milan, together with the Palazzo della Ragione and the Rotonda della Besana, is the main venue for temporary exhibitions. The Castello Sforzesco is instead home to permanent museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Art (with Leonardo da Vinci's Sala delle Asse), the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Furniture Museum, the Applied Arts collection and an art gallery which collects over 200 paintings of Italian painting from the XIII to the XVIII century. Recently established is the Museo del Novecento, which is housed inside the Palazzo dell'Arengario and the adjacent Palazzo Reale and which exhibits works of modern art created during the 20th century, while those of the 19th century are housed in the neoclassical Villa Reale, formerly Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte, a building example of great elegance, designed by Leopoldo Pollack. The Milan Triennale, home to modern art exhibitions, forms the city's exhibition venues for this type of art with the Milan Contemporary Art Pavilion. Then there are the House Museums of Milan, a museum circuit that brings together four historic Milanese buildings: the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, the Boschi Di Stefano House-Museum, the Villa Necchi Campiglio and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum.

The archaeological heritage from prehistory to the Roman age is mainly exhibited at the Civic Archaeological Museum of Milan near the remains of the ancient Roman circus, as well as at the Antiquarium in the amphitheater park, while the Diocesan Museum and the the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.

Among the museums of a scientific nature we can mention the National Museum of Science and Technology, also famous for the permanent exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci and for the Enrico Toti submarine, and the Civic Museum of Natural History of Milan, the largest museum natural history and one of the most important naturalistic museums in Europe. There are also the Milan Planetarium, the Brera Astronomical Observatory and the Milan Civic Aquarium.

The city hosts the AIAP Graphic Project Documentation Center, founded in 1945 to conserve and enhance the materials of graphic design and visual communication and is also configured as a professional research centre. It houses more than 70,000 artifacts made available to both scholars and traveling exhibitions.



Milan was, together with Rome and Turin, one of the main centers for the introduction of television in Italy; in the early thirties the first Italian television experiments were presented in the Lombard capital, while in the following decade daily experimental broadcasts began to be distributed.

With the beginning of regular programming in 1954, the Rai production center in Corso Sempione will gain importance, while the entire electronics and radio and television industry of the nation will have its own Milanese brands such as Magneti Marelli, CGE, llocchio Bacchini and Mivar as its great centre. The first years of Italian television therefore saw Milan as the most important center on a national level; its dominance was only affected starting from the second half of the 1970s, with the introduction of color television.

Later in Milan the three most important private television stations were created, Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, which allowed the city to maintain a prominent figure as a production center that is still present today. Milan is the headquarters of the most important television groups and private channels in Italy: Mediaset, Sky Italia, Discovery Italia, ViacomCBS Networks Italia and Dazn and hosts the Rai Production Center in Milan, where some of the most important TV broadcasts are made of state. Furthermore, in the city there are many Production Centers where television programs and commercials are made, including the EMG studios in Via Deruta 20 and Cologno Monzese, UMC in Via Belli 14 and the futuristic Milano City Studios.

The television stations located in the Milan region employ 25% of national employees in the sector, which is a national record.



Many important national radio stations are based in the city such as: Radio 24, R101, Radio 105, Radio Deejay, Virgin Radio, Radio Italia, RTL 102.5, Radio Monte Carlo, Radio Italia, Radio RAI (with radio studios located in Corso Sempione) and the operational headquarters of Radio Dimensione Suono. There are also the studios of some local/regional broadcasters including: Discoradio, Radio Popolare, Radio Lombardia, Radio Reporter, Radio Millennium and RMC 2

The most important record labels are based in Milan, including: Universal Music Italy, Warner Music Italy and Sony Music Italy.



Milan has provided important contributions to the development of art history and has given birth to some modern art movements.

The Milanese Gothic was a city artistic experience between the second half of the XIII century and the first half of the XV century which was initially introduced in the Milan area by the Cistercian monks. It was the main artistic language of the vast patronage and self-celebratory program of the Visconti, lords of Milan, whose dominion over the city is usually associated with the Milanese Gothic period. Also noteworthy is the art of the second half of the sixteenth century in Milan, which developed, in Milan, as elsewhere, on several strands and styles that can be summarized in mannerism, counter-reformation art and classicism. These currents divided the city's art scene often undergoing mutual contamination.

Thanks to the work of cardinals Borromeo and its importance in the Italian dominions, first Spanish and then Austrian, in a period between the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, Milan experienced a lively artistic season during which it assumed the role of center propulsive force of the Lombard Baroque, of which the Milanese Baroque was the dominant current. Also noteworthy was the Milanese neoclassical season, which was among the most important in Italy and Europe. It lasted from the end of the reign of Maria Theresa of Austria, and continued throughout the subsequent Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and during the Restoration: in this period Milan was the protagonist of a strong cultural and economic renaissance, in which Neoclassicism was the artistic style dominant and the greatest expression.

Important for the history of art was also the Milanese liberty, or the experience of the aforementioned style that spread in Milan between the early twentieth century and the outbreak of the First World War. In the Lombard capital, the Liberty style found, thanks to the close link with the rampant industrial bourgeoisie of the time, fertile ground for a rapid development that saw it range from the influences of the French floral art nouveau to the German Jugendstil and eclecticism.

Milan was the cradle of some modern art movements In February 1910 the painters Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and Luigi Russolo signed the Manifesto of Futurist Painters in Milan and in April of the same year the Technical Manifesto of futurist painting, which contributed, together with other manifestos signed in other Italian cities, to founding the artistic movement of Futurism. Milan was also the birthplace of the artistic movement called Novecento, which was born in the city at the end of 1922 thanks to Mario Sironi, Achille Funi, Leonardo Dudreville, Anselmo Bucci, Emilio Malerba, Pietro Marussig and Ubaldo Oppi.



In Milan there are numerous halls and about three hundred shows are staged every year. The city has had the advantage of hosting internationally renowned theatrical figures: the director Giorgio Strehler (after whom the Strehler Theater, i.e. the largest hall of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, is named), the actor-author Dario Fo, Nobel Prize for literature in 1997, and the theater director and author Carmelo Bene.

Milanese theaters are scattered throughout the city. Brera, the nightlife district par excellence, hosts three, other rooms are located along busy courses or hidden alleys, well-known squares and off-centre streets.

The opera body of Milan is the Teatro alla Scala, which is one of the most famous theaters in the world and which is known for being the "temple of opera". The Teatro alla Scala takes its name from the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, later demolished, which in turn derived its name from its founder, Regina della Scala, of the Scaligeri dynasty of Verona. The other hall suitable for opera is the new Teatro degli Arcimboldi, which takes its name from the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, a noble villa built in the second half of the 15th century as a country residence for the Arcimboldi family.

Among the prose theatres, the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, founded immediately after the war by Paolo Grassi and Giorgio Strehler, is the oldest stable theater in Italy. Other important halls are the Franco Parenti Theater, founded by Franco Parenti, the Carcano Theater, directed for many years by Gabriele Lavia, the Elfo Puccini Theater, which launched Gabriele Salvatores. The Teatro Manzoni, the Teatro Nuovo and the Teatro San Babila are dedicated to light theatre.

The presence of prestigious cabaret venues such as the Zelig also deserves a special mention, which then gave birth to the homonymous successful television program. Another noteworthy place was the Derby, which was active between the sixties and seventies and which became known above all for the numerous emerging artists who trod the scene, who later became popular personalities in the world of music, entertainment and of Italian cinema.



The Milano Film Festival has been organized since 1996, a film festival in which feature films and short films of international origin are invited. The festival is held in September in various halls and open spaces of the city. Furthermore, in 2000, the MIFF, the Milan International Film Festival, was founded, which is held in May and which is dedicated to independent films of international scope. The winners of the MIFF Awards are awarded the Leonardo's Horse.

The MIX Milano Festival of gay-lesbian cinema and queer culture has been held since 1986, a film festival with an LGBTI+ theme, generally scheduled in the months of July and June in conjunction with the city's Pride. Guest of the city is also the Festival of African, Asian and Latin American cinema in Milan, which takes place in the spring; originally dedicated only to African cinema, over time it has also opened the competition to Asian cinema and South American cinema.

Among the other festivals, the one organized by the Cineteca Italiana of Milan, Italian cinema seen from Milan, focuses entirely on Italian cinema and young emerging national authors. The festival traditionally takes place in February at the Spazio Oberdan and the new Interactive Cinema Museum (MIC) in the old Manifattura Tabacchi.

In the city of Milan, 113 films were shot wholly or partially in 2011, 130 in 2012, 180 in 2013, 210 in 2014 and 230 in 2015.



The Milanese opera tradition, imported from Venice and always supported by the city, began in the Spanish court at the time of the Salone Margherita, so called in honor of Margaret of Austria-Styria, and exalted by the presence of the Regio Ducal Theater and later of the Teatro alla Scala: this has placed Milan at the top of the world music circuit.

Milan is home to some symphony orchestras, including the Filarmonica della Scala, the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra, which performs in the Milan Auditorium, and the Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra, which is based in the Dal Verme Theater.

In 2007 the first edition of the Milano Jazzin' Festival (MJF) took place, a summer musical event dedicated to jazz, with concerts by internationally renowned artists, continuing a tradition that since the sixties and seventies had seen the birth and then closing of clubs such as the Jazz Power and the Capolinea. The event takes place in the Arena Civica and is accompanied by other public events mainly in the Sempione Park area. From the Global City Report 2012, Milan appears to be the first city in Europe for musical creativity.

Worthy of note is the Milanese song, i.e. the popular music originating in Milan that is sung in the Milanese dialect. According to the most authoritative music historians, the Milanese popular song can be extrapolated to distinguish it from the Lombard one only, with exceptions, in the 20th century, coinciding with the first songs of the prolific couple of authors formed by Alfredo Bracchi and Giovanni D'Anzi . In the 20th century the authors who used the Milanese dialect in various capacities to write their songs were, among others, Enzo Jannacci, Giorgio Gaber, Nanni Svampa and Dario Fo, winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1997.



The most famous dish of Milanese cuisine is the yellow saffron risotto in its many variations: Gianni Brera tells of a cook capable of preparing twenty-four different types.

Very varied due to the contributions of the surrounding countryside, the traditions of the surrounding area and also due to the various foreign dominations that have followed one another over the centuries, Milanese cuisine today preserves some traditional dishes, sometimes "revisited" to reduce the caloric load, once very robust . It is, in general, for prolonged cooking over a light flame.

Among the dishes we remember the Milanese minestrone, the busecca, the Cassœula, the Milanese cutlet, the Milanese mixed fry, the mondeghili, the Milanese Ossobuco, the rustin negàa, the Milanese tripe, the aspic, the barbajada , the nervetti salad and the Milano salami. A type of bread originally from Milan is the michetta.

Among the desserts, in addition to the panatton (panettone), worthy of note are the carsenza, the charlotte alla Milanese, the Easter dove (which has spread throughout Italy), the pan dei morti, the pan meino, the Venetian and the carsenza , sweet of the Christmas festivities that is traditionally consumed on New Year's Day.

The abundant use of butter, cream and mascarpone in the kitchen didn't sit well with Ugo Foscolo, who ironically renamed Milan as "Paneropoli", from pànera, "cream, cream" in Milanese.

Worthy of note is the Antica trattoria Bagutto, the oldest restaurant in Italy and the second in Europe, after the Stiftskeller St. Peter in Salzburg.



Since 1920 the Milan Fair has been organized in the Lombard capital, considered one of the most modern and important exhibition centers in Europe. The Milan Fair consists of the two exhibition centers of Fieramilano (located in an area on the border between the municipalities of Rho and Pero) and Fieramilanocity (located in the Portello district of the municipality of Milan). Covering a total area of 753,000 m², it is the largest exhibition center in Europe.

On Monday, March 31, 2008 in Paris, Milan was assigned the organization of Expo 2015 by the delegates of the International Exhibition Office. In the final vote, Milan beat the other candidate city, Turkish Izmir, by 86 votes to 65, after Smyrna seemed to have prevailed in an initial vote marred by technical problems. The universal exposition then took place from 1 May to 31 October 2015.

The theme selected for Expo 2015 was "Feeding the planet, energy for life"[196] and intended to include everything related to nutrition, from nutrition education to the serious lack of food that afflicts many areas of the world , to issues related to GMOs.

Milan was already the site of the 1906 International Exposition, also known as the Sempione International Exposition, with the theme "transport". The theme chosen was that of transport to celebrate the Sempione tunnel, which had been inaugurated in February 1905, from which the Exposition took its name and inspiration.

On 24 June 2019, at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne in Switzerland, the city of Milan was proclaimed the winner of the XXV Winter Olympic Games which will be held together with Cortina d'Ampezzo and other Lombard cities in the period from 6 to 22 February of 2026. This is the fourth edition of the Olympic Games to be held in Italy (the third of the winter ones) after Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956, Rome 1960 and Turin 2006.

Other important events organized in Milan are the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the Fuori Salone, the Milan Fashion Week, the International Tourism Exchange, Micam, EICMA, Bookcity and Artigiano in Fiera.


Anthropogenic geography

Urban planning

The urban planning of Milan originates from the substantial changes to the historic urban layout decided by the first general municipal regulatory plan of the city, approved in 1884 and known as the Beruto Plan, with which the urban center was centered on Piazza del Duomo, creating a further ring road, now known as the outer ring road.

In this regard, Cesare Beruto, drafter of the aforementioned regulatory plan, wrote:

«The plan of our city is very similar to the section of a tree: the extensions and concentric layers are very well noticeable: it is a very rational plan that has an example in nature»
(Cesare Beruto)

Since the first decade of the 2000s, the city has been undergoing a profound renewal from an architectural and urban point of view, with the implementation of numerous projects which aim, on the one hand, to redevelop entire areas and large neighborhoods (such as the Bicocca Project), and on the other to project his image in Europe and in the world (Fieramilano, Progetto CityLife and Progetto Porta Nuova), also thanks to important international competitions in which architects such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, César Pelli, Massimiliano Fuksas, Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and Ieoh Ming Pei.

In 2012 the Unicredit Tower was completed, which was built as part of the Porta Nuova Project within the Headquarters. With its 231 m at the tip of the spire, it is the tallest skyscraper in Italy.

historical subdivisions
In ancient times Milan was divided into six sestieri and thirty districts, subdivisions dating back at least to the Middle Ages which disappeared in the 19th century. They extended limitedly to the borders of the modern historical centre, which is delimited by the Cerchia dei Navigli, or by the layout of the medieval walls of Milan, of which the Cerchia originally constituted the defensive moat.

The sestieri took their name from the main gates that opened onto the city walls built in the Middle Ages. Each sestiere was then in turn divided into five districts. Both the sestieri and the districts of Milan had coats of arms. The banners of the sestieri, on which the relative coat of arms was shown, were carried in warfare by the municipal troops of Milan together with the banner of the city.

Although the municipal statute does not provide localities with the official status of "fraction", there are small localities in Milan that maintain their rural features: these are identified by ISTAT, according to which the municipal territory includes the localities of Belgioioso, Cascina Malandra, Chiaravalle, Cascina Chiesa Rossa, Figino, Ronchetto delle Rane, Cantalupa, Cascina Cascinetta, Cascina Selvanesco, Vaiano Valle and Cascine Guascona and Cascine Guasconcina.

Today in Milan about a hundred farmhouses have survived,] fifty-nine of which are part of the municipal property such as, for example, Cascina Torchiera or Cascina Monterobbio. The other owners are the Ospedale Maggiore, the Aler (ex Istituto Autonomo Case Popolari), the curia or large buildings: eighteen are in ruins, the others have found use as libraries, leisure areas, reception centers (for the elderly, disabled or drug addicts) or residential centres. Thirteen, however, in the heart of the urban area, are still run by tenant farmers, according to Milanese custom, as active farms.

Among these we mention: Cascina Campi in Trenno, Cascina Paradiso in Muggiano (horses and forage), Cascina Gaggioli in via Selvanesco, Mulino della Pace Barona, Cascina Battivacco alla Barona (rice), Cascina Basmetto alla Barona (rice ), the Campazzo farmhouse (milk) and the Nosedo farmhouse (milk and dairy products). Also south of the Barona are the seventeenth-century San Marco and San Marchetto farmhouses.



During its history, Milan has often anticipated the trends of the economy of the peninsula: robust agriculture and widespread craftsmanship with intense commercial exchanges since the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, exploitation of water resources and development of communications in the proto-industrial period and diffusion boost of manufacturing activities, even the heaviest, during industrialization, with particular attention to banking and financial activities.

Since the second half of the last century it has anticipated the process of outsourcing of the national economy by focusing on the increasingly marked prevalence of an advanced service sector in various directions, from the traditional to the innovative: finance, national and international trade, corporate management, publishing, industrial design, advertising, entertainment, scientific research, biotechnology, information technology, academic activities, fashion, design, publishing, marketing companies and television media.

Milan, home of the Italian Stock Exchange, fifth in Europe and ninth in the world, is the main financial center and the most important economic pole of the country with a per capita income of around €46,000. The total gross domestic product generated by the city of Milan stands at 39 billion euros. For 2022 Assolombarda has estimated a GDP increase of 4.8% for the city of Milan, higher than the national and Lombard average (+3.9%). In practice, Milan alone generates 5% of Italy's entire GDP, recording a per capita GDP of €50,000 above the European average of €30,000.



In the rankings of the most visited cities in the world in 2018, Milan is confirmed in fifth place in Europe for the number of tourists from abroad. According to Mastercard's Global Destination Cities ranking relating to the presence of tourists and workers, Milan stands at around 9.1 million presences, as the 16th most visited city in the world, 5th in Europe and 2nd in Italy after Rome. According to a ranking based instead on international tourists, Milan, worldwide, stands at the 24th position following Rome at the 14th.

Its attraction is given by its being an important economic center of publishing, research, fashion and design and by its architectural and artistic heritage that mixes with modernity: monuments, churches, historic buildings, skyscrapers, shopping, fashion and events of various kinds contribute to the international vocation of the metropolis. Milan is also located about 50 km from the great Lombard lakes (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano), whose scenic beauty enjoys worldwide renown.

Historically, the great names of Italian romantic music and literature (including Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Parini, Alessandro Manzoni, Giuseppe Verdi, etc.) used to stay on the lakes during their stay in Milan, often guests in the villas of Milanese nobles, thus contributing to the development of cultural tourism which, starting from the eighteenth century, linked the big city to the nearby natural beauties.



The first form of local government in Milan dates back to Roman times when, in 49 BC, the ancient Mediolanum was elevated by Caesar, within the framework of the Lex Roscia, to the status of municipium. The establishment of the modern municipality of Milan, on the other hand, took place in the municipal era, in 1117: in that year, in fact, the activity of the consuls of Milan and of a podestà was attested for the first time; the latter office was also maintained during the period of the lordship of the Visconti and then of the Sforza.

The mayor remained at the head of the municipal administration of Milan until 1860, i.e. until the year following the annexation of Lombardy to the Kingdom of Sardinia, an event which heralded the unification of Italy (1861). Law No. 3702 of 23 October 1859 (the Rattazzi law) of the Savoy government extended the Piedmontese legislation to Lombardy, which then became the Italian one. The mayor, who at the time was appointed by the government, was placed at the head of the municipal administration. In particular, the mayor was appointed by the Ministry of the Interior at the suggestion of the prefect.

An important change took place in 1889: the royal decree n°5921 of 10 February ("Consolidated text of the municipal and provincial law") introduced the election of the mayor by the municipal council for the provincial capital municipalities and for those with more than 10,000 inhabitants, including Milan. From 1926 to 1945, during the fascist era, with the promulgation of two of the so-called very fascist laws, namely the law n° 237 of 4 February 1926 ("Institution of the Podestà and the Municipal Consulta in municipalities with a population not exceeding 5000 inhabitants") and of the royal legislative decree n°1910 of 3 September 1926 ("Extension of the mayor's order to all the municipalities of the kingdom"), the democratic bodies of the municipalities were suppressed and all the functions previously performed by the mayor, the municipal council and by the municipal council they were transferred to the podestà, who was appointed by the government by royal decree. The podestà was assisted by a municipal consulta, which was instead nominated by the prefect.

With the Liberation (1945), on the basis of the lieutenant legislative decree No. 111 of 4 April 1944 ("Transitional regulations for the administration of municipalities and provinces"), the office of mayor was re-established, temporarily entrusting the appointment to the Liberation Committee National (CLN). Subsequently, thanks to the legislative decree n°1 of 7 January 1946 ("Reconstitution of the municipal administrations on an elective basis"), the mayor returned to being elected by the municipal council: the latter was in fact restored by the same provision together with the municipal council .

With the law n°81 of 25 March 1993 ("Direct election of the mayor, of the president of the province, of the municipal council and of the provincial council") the direct election of the mayor by the citizens was introduced. At the same time, with this provision, another important aspect of the municipal administration was modified: the appointment of the junta. Previously it was elected by the city council, while since 25 March 1993 it has been directly appointed by the mayor.

As regards the duration of the mandate, from 1859 to the promulgation of the laws of 1889 and 1896, the mayor remained in office for three years, renewable. After the approval of the legislative texts of 1889 and 1896, on the occasion of which his election by the municipal council was decreed, the mayor's mandate was extended to four years. The podestà of the Fascist era, on the other hand, remained in office for five years with the possibility of removal by the prefect or of reconfirmation beyond the pre-established five years. From 1945, with the reintroduction of the office of mayor and his election by the city council, the term of four years was restored. The latter, in 1993, was confirmed at four years and then extended in 2000, with legislative decree No. 267 of 18 August ("Consolidated text of laws on the organization of local authorities"), to five years.

As for the municipal offices, the first town hall of Milan was the Broletto Vecchio, the municipal seat until 1251, then expanded and transformed into the Royal Palace. Then followed the Palazzo della Ragione (called Broletto Nuovo) in Piazza Mercanti, the municipal seat from 1251 to 1786. Subsequently Palazzo Carmagnola (called Broletto Nuovissimo) in via Broletto became the town hall of Milan, the municipal seat from 1786 to 1861, when the municipal offices they were transferred to Palazzo Marino, where they are still located.

As of 2020, there are 122 foreign consulates in Milan, making it the European city with the most consulates and even overtaking New York for the number of consulates. Also in Milan is located, in the Palazzo delle Stelline, one of the two headquarters of the representation in Italy of the European Commission and one of the two information offices for Italy of the European Parliament.


Municipalities aggregated in Milan

At the time of the foundation of its inhabited center Milan probably had an extension of 12 hectares, which became 60 hectares (0.6 km²) during the Roman Republican era and 100 hectares (1 km²) in the imperial era, when Mediolanum became the capital of Western Roman Empire. In the Lombard period the city exceeded 200 hectares (2 km²), while throughout the Middle Ages, a large part of the inhabited center remained enclosed within the Cerchia dei Navigli, where the ancient walls of 1156 stood, with a total area of the city equal to of 2.97 km². At the time, the district of the city was 8.32 km².

From 1560 to 1873 the city coincided with the area inside the Spanish walls of Milan. The municipality thus had an area of 9.67 km², while with the annexation of the municipality of Corpi Santi in 1873, Milan increased its surface area by 66.35 km², thus reaching an extension of 76.02 km²: with the municipalities and related annexed fractions between 1918 and 1923 Milan absorbed another 105.75 km², thus reaching the current surface area of 181.76 km².

At the time of Spanish domination, there were 48 communities in the territory of today's city of Milan: they were authorities formed by generally accepted practice, with geographical and jurisdictional boundaries that were not always well defined, and with frequent overlapping of competences. It was the Empress Maria Theresa of Habsburg who put the matter in order in 1757: 41 municipalities were born, later defined as "census holders", subject to uniform tax regulations and with written legislation which unequivocally established their powers.

In 1841, the emperor Ferdinand of Habsburg, evaluating the tax revenues of some small municipalities in the province of Milan of the Lombardo-Veneto Kingdom as unsatisfactory, merged them with larger neighboring localities, thus decreasing to thirty-two municipalities. With the unification of Italy, the Lanza law was enacted, aimed at a further rationalization of the territory delegated to the government: around 1869, therefore, fourteen municipalities were born, later defined as "administrative", regulated by Italian legislation and no longer inherited from the pre- unitary.

Already under the Kingdom of Italy of Napoleon Bonaparte a wide-ranging administrative reform was enacted which, anticipating the times by over a century, had expanded Milan on an area comparable to the current one. This experiment, later repealed on the return of the Austrians, involved thirty-six "census" municipalities. Compared to today's Milan, the Napoleonic one was more expanded to the south-east and less to the north-west (the nine "census" municipalities that were not part of Napoleonic Milan but which belong to today's Milan are Bruzzano, Baggio, Assiano, Muggiano, Vialba , Roserio, Cassina Triulza, Figino and Quinto Romano). The four localities involved in the Napoleonic project, but which today are not part of the municipality of Milan, are Grancino (current municipality of Buccinasco), Linate (Peschiera Borromeo), Poasco (San Donato Milanese) and Redecesio (Segrate).

Finally, it was fascism in 1923, with minor interventions just before and after, that gave the Milanese capital its current configuration.



The best-known football teams are Inter Milan and Milan, the only two European football teams from the same city to have won the European Cup/Champions League. Milan hosted some World Cup matches in 1934 and 1990 (including the opening match), and the 1980 European Championships, as well as four European Cup/Champions League finals (in 1965, 1970, 2001, 2016), four UEFA Cup/Europa League finals (1991, 1994, 1995 and 1997) and four Intercontinental Cup finals when the double final formula was envisaged (1963, 1964, 1965 and 1969). The city was awarded the title of European Capital of Sport for 2009.

The facilities for practicing sport (gyms, playing and training fields, multi-purpose sports centres) are distributed throughout the entire city, with a natural limitation in the historical centre.

Thanks to the nomination received on 24 June 2019 in Lausanne, Milan, in a shared nomination with the city of Cortina d'Ampezzo, will host the XXV Winter Olympic Games in 2026, the fourth edition of the Olympic Games to be held in Italy (the third of the winter ) after Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956, Rome 1960 and Turin 2006.

Major sports clubs
The main sports clubs in Milan are:
Milan (football)
Inter (soccer)
Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano (basketball)
Urania Basket Milan (basketball)
Rhinos Milano (American football)
Seamen Milan (American football)
Powervolley Milan (volleyball)
Milano Bears Hockey Club (ice hockey)
A.S. Rugby Milan (rugby)
Hockey Club Milano 24 (in-line hockey)
Sport facilities

The most important sports facilities in Milan are:
Arena Civica (athletics, rugby union and football)
Saini Sports Center (American football, baseball, synchronized swimming and water polo)
San Siro gallop racecourse (horse racing)
Lido di Milano (tennis, futsal, skating, minigolf and swimming)
PalaLido (basketball and volleyball)
Cozzi swimming pool (water sports)
Roman swimming pool (water sports)
Sferisterio in via Palermo (various sports)
Ice stadium Agorà (ice hockey)
Giuseppe Meazza Stadium (football)
Maspes-Vigorelli Velodrome (American football, cycling and field hockey)