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This is about the Italian city of Milan. For other uses, see Milan (disambiguation).

Milan (Italian: Milano; Milanese dialect: Milán) is the main city in northern Italy, and is located in the plains of Lombardy, the most populated and developed of Italian regions. The city proper has about 1.3 million inhabitants (2004), but when including the surrounding metropolitan area the population of the conurbation totals more than 4.5 million, and the Commuting Basin (Greater Milan, more than 70 km large and 60 km wide) totals about 7.5 million (the fourth most populated European metropolitan area after London, Paris and the Ruhr area). Milan is the capital of Lombardy and the economic-financial capital of Italy.

Milan's name has for many centuries been recorded as Mailand, which is still the German name of the city today. It comes from the Celtic Mid-lan (meaning "in the middle of the plain") and was known as Mediolanum by the Romans.

Its province lies in the western part of Lombardy; it covers an area of 1,982 km2 and has a population of 3,707,210 (2001 census); in 1991, the population was 3,738,685. The province comprises 188 communes, ranging in population (2001) from Milan Municipality (1,256,211) to Nosate (638); the city of Milan has lost 113,084 inhabitants (8.3 percent), from 1991 to 2001. The current mayor of Milan is Gabriele Albertini.

The town is famous for fashion firms and shops (via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele on the Piazza Duomo, reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall. Milan is one of the world capitals of fashion, like New York City or Paris. Another famed product of the city is the traditional Christmas sweet cake called Panettone. Milan and Lombardy are candidates for the Summer Olympic Games of 2016.



It is presumed Milan was originally founded by the Celts of Northern Italy around 600 BC and was conquered by the Romans around 222 BC, who gave it the name of Mediolanum. In the 4th century A.D., at the time of the bishop Saint Ambrose and emperor Theodosius I, the city became for a short time the capital of the Western Roman Empire.

After the Ostrogothic and Lombard periods, the city re-gained its importance in the 11th century and led other Italian cities in gaining semi-independence from the Holy Roman Empire. During the Plague of 1349 Milan was one of the few places in Europe that was not touched by the epidemic. During the Renaissance Milan was ruled by dukes of the Visconti and Sforza families, who had artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante at their service. After trying to conquer the rest of northern Italy in the 15th century, Milan was conquered by France, and then by Spain, in the early 16th century.

In the 18th century Austria replaced Spain as Milan's overlord, but during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, which saw the city annexed into the French satellite states of the Cisalpine Republic, which later transformed into the Kingdom of Italy. After the end of the wars, Milan was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, under Austrian rule: the city became one of the main centers of Italian nationalism, reclaiming independence and the unification of Italy.

In 1859 (after the second of the Wars of Italian Independence) Austrian rule was ended by the Kingdom of Sardinia (which transformed into the kingdom of Italy in 1861).

Being a critical industrial centre of Italy, Milan was target of continuous carpet bombing during World War II. The city was bombed even after Pietro Badoglio surrendered to the allied forces in 1943. In fact Milan was part of Mussolini's puppet state Italian Social Republic and an important command centre of the German Army stationed in Italy. When war in Italy was finally over, April 25 1945, Milan was heavily damaged and entire neighborhoods like Precotto and Turro were radically destroyed. After the war the city was reconstructed and became again an important financial and industrial centre of Italy. See also: Rulers of Milan.


Milan is the centre of many financial businesses, and its hinterland is an avant-garde industrial area. Fiera Milano, the city's Exhibition Center and Trade Fair complex is one of the most important in the world. The new fairground, in the north-western suburb of Pero and Rho (opened in April 2005) is Europe's largest open construction project and makes Fiera Milano the largest trade fair complex in the world.

Famous Businesses of Milan

Architecture & Places

Principal churches

  • Duomo (Milan cathedral)
  • Sant'Alessandro
  • Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio
  • Santa Maria delle Grazie (with Leonardo's "Last Supper")
  • San Babila
  • San Bernardino alle Ossa
  • Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio
  • Basilica di San Lorenzo
  • San Marco
  • Santuario di Santa Maria dei Miracoli
  • Santa Maria del Carmine
  • Basilica di San Nazaro Maggiore
  • Santa Maria presso San Satiro
  • San Sebastiano
  • San Simpliciano
  • Santo Stefano Maggiore

Famous monuments

  • Alessandro Manzoni in Piazza San Fedele
  • Colonne di San Lorenzo
  • Disc of Pomodoro
  • Fontana del Piermarini in Piazza Fontana
  • Mazzini's monument in Piazza della Repubblica
  • Monumento Cinque Giornate
  • Napoleone of Canova in Brera
  • Statua di Oldrado da Trasseno del Palazzo della Ragione
  • San Carlo Borromeo in Piazza Borromeo
  • Leonardo's monument in Piazza della Scala
  • Roman amphitheatre (scant remains)
  • Archi di Porta Nuova
  • Leonardo da Vinci's Horse Statue at Hippodrome
  • "The Needle and the Yarn" in Piazza Cadorna

Principal architectures

  • Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle)
  • Ca' Granda (University of Milan)
  • Palazzo della Ragione
  • Palazzo Reale
  • Teatro alla Scala
  • Central Station (the Italian biggest station)
  • Palazzo Serbelloni
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Velasca Tower
  • Pirelli Tower (seat of Lombardy Region and the highest italian skyscraper)
  • New Milan Fair Complex of M. Fuksas (in Rho-Pero)

Culture & Art

A in central Milan with a sign in Milanese, the local dialect, claiming to be 'the oldest greengrocer of Milan' (l'ortolán püŝee vêcc de Milan)
A greengrocer in central Milan with a sign in Milanese, the local dialect, claiming to be 'the oldest greengrocer of Milan' (l'ortolán püŝee vêcc de Milan)

Milan is the most important town in the world for Opera lirica, with its famous Teatro alla Scala (La Scala, theatre).

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana contains drawings and notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci among its vast holdings of books, manuscripts and drawings and is one of the main repositories of European culture. The city is also the home of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts .

In the church Santa Maria delle Grazie one of the most famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci The Last_Supper (Leonardo) ("Cenacolo") can be found.

Museums & Exhibitions

  • Pinacoteca di Brera
  • Pinacoteca Ambrosiana
  • Galleria d'Arte Moderna
  • Triennale di Milano
  • Castello Sforzesco
  • Museo Egizio
  • Museo Poldi Pezzoli
  • Museo della Preistoria e Protostoria
  • Museo d’Arte Antica
  • Palazzo Reale
  • Museo Teatro alla Scala
  • Padiglione di Arte Contemporanea
  • Museo di Storia Naturale
  • Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica "Leonardo da Vinci"
  • Galleria Vinciana
  • Museo Bagatti Valsecchi
  • Museo degli Strumenti Musicali
  • Museo delle Arti Decorative
  • Museo Archeologico
  • Museo di Milano
  • Museo di Storia Contemporanea
  • Museo del Risorgimento


  • Teatro alla Scala
  • Arcimboldi
  • Piccolo teatro
  • Teatro Lirico
  • Teatro Carcano
  • CRT - Teatro dell'Arte
  • Manzoni
  • Ventaglio Nazionale
  • Nuovo
  • Nuovo Piccolo Teatro
  • Piccolo Teatro di Milano
  • San Babila
  • Smeraldo
  • Ciak
  • Della 14a
  • Filodrammatici
  • Litta
  • Olmetto
  • Out Off
  • L'Elfo
  • Porta Romana
  • Franco Parenti
  • Teatro Studio
  • Verdi


  • Politecnico di Milano
  • Università Statale
  • Università Statale Milano-Bicocca
  • Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Università Bocconi
  • Scuola Superiore di Direzione Aziendale - Bocconi
  • Università I.U.L.M.
  • Università C.Cattaneo L.I.U.C.
  • Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
  • L.U.C. Beato Angelico
  • Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera
  • Conservatorio Superiore "G. Verdi" di Milano
  • Istituto Europeo di Design
  • I.S.E.F.



The city has a large international airport known as Malpensa International Airport (MXP), located in Varese, Italy and connected at the downtown with the railway service called "Malpensa Express" (from Cadorna Station). Milan has also the Linate Airport (LIN) within the city limits (for european-national traffic) and connected with BUS line 73 (from S. Babila). The small Orio al Serio Airport (BGY) in Bergamo is used only for charter, low-cost, and cargo traffic. Put together, the three airports make Milan the first hub for passengers, traffic and cargo in Italy and an important air travel node of Europe, with more than 32 million passengers a year.

Subways, tramways, and buses

Milan has 3 subway lines (M1 - red, M2 - green, M3 - yellow) and the system, called Milan Metro - "M", runs for more than 80 km. There is also a light metro-service called "Metrò S. Raffaele", that connects the S. Raffaele Hospital with the Cascina Gobba station (M2). Extensions of line 1, 2 and 3 are under construction, giving more than 15 km of track with 10 new stations. Line 5 is also under construction and will be finished in the first half of 2008. Line 4 (link with downtown and Linate Airport) and 6 are in planning stages.

Milan also has one of the most extensive tramway system in the world, with more than 286 Km of tracks and 20 lines connecting the Greater Milan.

There are 93 buses lines with more than 1.070 km. The local transportation autority (ATM) transported in the 2003 more than 600 million passengers.

National Railway

Milan is the most important railway-hub of Northern Italy. There are these stations:

  • Milano Centrale (passenger station - the second italian station)
  • Milano P.ta Garibaldi (passenger station)
  • Milano Lambrate (passenger station)
  • Milano Smistamento (cargo-trains).

Regional-Metropolitan Railway services

The Suburban Railway Service (called "S" Lines, a service similar to French RER and German S-Bahn), composed by 8 suburban lines (10 scheduled for 2008), connects the "Greater Milan" and other cities, like Como or Varese. The Regional Railway Service (called "R"), instead, links Milan with the rest of Lombardy and with the national railway system. The "Passante ferroviario" is an underground railway serving a couple of "S" lines, which is very much like another subway line (and is even marked as such on subway maps), except that it is connected to the FNME and Trenitalia suburban networks.


Milan has an efficient Taxi service, operated by private companies and licensed by the City of Milan (Comune di Milano). There is only one kind of taxis: white. Prices go up based on time elapsed and distance traveled.


The city is home of two world-famous football teams: A.C. Milan and Internazionale F.C. (located in Appiano Gentile-Como). The famous Monza Formula One circuit is located in the suburbs.

Olimpia Milano is a successful European basketball team that have won 3 European Cups, a World Cup, 3 Cup Winners' Cups, 2 Korac Cups and 25 National Championships.

The Amatory Rugby Club Milano have won 18 National Championships. Different ice hockey teams from Milan have won 29 National Championships between them.

Milan and Lombardy are candidate for the Summer Olympic Games of 2016 (Milan-Lombardy 2016).


  • Autodromo di Monza - car and moto racing - 137.000
  • San Siro - only football - 85.700
  • Arena Civica - Atlethic, Rugby, Football, 30.000
  • Brianteo - Atlethic, Football - 18.568
  • Ippodromo del Trotter - Horse Racing - 16.000
  • Ippodromo del Galoppo - Horse Racing - 15.000
  • Forum di Assago - Basket, Ice Hockey, Volley, Music - 13.000 to 16.000
  • Velodromo Vigorelli - Cycling, American Football - 12.000
  • MazdaPalace - Basket, Volley - 10.500
  • PalaLido - Basket - 5.000
  • Agorà - Ice Hockey - 4.000
  • Nuovo Giuriati - Rugby - 4.000

Communication & media


  • Corriere della Sera (daily)
  • Il Giorno (daily)
  • Il Giornale (daily)
  • Libero (daily)
  • Il Sole 24Ore (daily)
  • Milano Finanza (daily)
  • La Padania (daily)
  • La Gazzetta dello Sport (daily)
  • Metro (daily)


  • Panorama (weekly)
  • La Settimana Enigmistica (weekly)
  • TV Sorrisi & Canzoni (weekly)
  • Oggi (weekly)
  • Marie Claire (weekly)
  • AnnaBella (weekly)
  • Explora (monthly)
  • Focus (monthly)

TV and radio

  • Mediaset (National Hdq)
  • RAI (Milan Regional Hdq)
  • MTV (South-Europe Hdq)
  • Sky Italia (National Hdq)
  • Radio Deejay (National Hdq)
  • Radio 1o1
  • Radio 105
  • Radio 24

Sister cities

Milan has 14 sister cities:

Related articles

External links

Last updated: 08-11-2005 22:56:24
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