Milan (/mɪˈlæn/ or US /mɪˈlɑːn/; Italian: Milano [miˈlaːno] ( ); Lombard: Milan [miˈlãː]) is the second most populous city in Italy (with a population of 1.3 million) and the capital of Lombardy, while its urban area is the 5th largest in the EU and the most populous in Italy, with an estimated population of about 5,264,000. The massive suburban sprawl that followed the post-war boom of the 1950s–60s and the growth of a vast commuter belt, suggest that socioeconomic linkages have expanded well beyond the boundaries of its administrative limits and its agglomeration, creating a polycentric metropolitan area of 7-10 million people, stretching over the former provinces of Milan, Bergamo, Como, Lecco, Lodi, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Varese, Novara and Piacenza. It has been suggested that the Milan metropolitan region is part of the so-called Blue Banana, the area of Europe with the highest population and industrial density.
Milan was founded by the Insubres, a Celtic people. The city was later conquered by the Romans, eventually becoming the capital of the Western Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, Milan flourished as a commercial and banking center. In the course of centuries, it has been alternatively dominated by France, Habsburg Spain, and Austria, until 1859 when the city joined the rising Kingdom of Italy. During the early 1900s, Milan led the industrialization process of the young nation, being at the very center of the economic, social, and political debate. Badly affected by World War II, and after a harsh Nazi occupation, the city became the main centre of the Italian Resistance. In post-war years, the city enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, attracting large flows of workers from Southern Italy. During the last decades, Milan has seen a dramatic rise in the number of international immigrants, and in 2011 more than one sixth of its population is foreign born.
Milan is the main industrial, commercial, and financial centre of Italy and a leading global city. Its business district hosts the Borsa Italiana (Italy's main stock exchange) and the headquarters of the largest national banks and companies. The city is a major world fashion and design capital. Milan's museums, theatres and landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, the fifth largest cathedral in the world, and Santa Maria delle Grazie, decorated with Leonardo da Vinci paintings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attracts over 6 million annual visitors. It hosts numerous cultural institutions and universities, with 185,000 enrolled students in 2011, i.e. 11 percent of the national total. The city is also well known for several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, the largest of its kind in the world, and will host the 2015 Universal Exposition. Milan is home to two of the world's major football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano.
The etymology of Milan is very uncertain. While the modern name of the city is clearly derived from its Latin name Mediolanum, apparently from the Latin words medio, meaning "in the middle", and lanus, "plain", it has been suggested that its original roots could lie more deeply in the city's Celtic heritage. Indeed, the name "Mediolanum" is borne by about sixty Gallo-Roman sites all over France, such as Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum), as every Celtic community had its sacred assembly place of law and justice, usually placed at the midpoint of their territory. In addition, some scholars have suggested that the second element of the Latin name, lanum, could be identified with the Celtic root lan, signifying an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word 'llan', meaning a sanctuary or church) in which Celtic communities used to build shrines. Hence, Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a particular Celtic tribe.
Another theory links the origin of the name to the boar sow (the Scrofa semilanuta) an ancient emblem of the city, fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as "half-wool", explained in Latin and in French. The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar; therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool." Alciato credits Ambrose for his account.
Around 400 BC, the Celtic Insubres settled Milan and the surrounding region. In 222 BC, the Romans conquered the settlement, which was then renamed Mediolanum. After several centuries of Roman control, Milan was declared the capital of the Western Roman Empire by Emperor Diocletian in 286 AD. Diocletian chose to stay in the Eastern Roman Empire (capital Nicomedia) and his colleague Maximianus ruled the Western one. Immediately Maximian built several gigantic monuments, like a large circus 470 m × 85 m (1,542 ft × 279 ft), the Thermae Herculeae, a large complex of imperial palaces and several other services and buildings.
With the Edict of Milan of 313, Emperor Constantine I guaranteed freedom of religion for Christians. The city was besieged by the Visigoths in 402, so the imperial residence was moved to Ravenna. In 452, the Huns overran the city. In 539, the Ostrogoths conquered and destroyed Milan in the course of the Gothic War against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. In the summer of 569, the Lombards (from which the name of the Italian region Lombardy derives), a Teutonic tribe conquered Milan, overpowering the small Byzantine army left for its defence. Some Roman structures remained in use in Milan under Lombard rule. Milan surrendered to the Franks in 774 when Charlemagne, in an utterly novel decision, took the title "King of the Lombards" as well (before then the Germanic kingdoms had frequently conquered each other, but none had adopted the title of King of another people). The Iron Crown of Lombardy dates from this period. Subsequently Milan become part of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the Middle Ages, Milan prospered as a centre of trade due to its command of the rich plain of the Po and routes from Italy across the Alps. The war of conquest by Frederick I Barbarossa against the Lombard cities brought the destruction of much of Milan in 1162. After the founding of the Lombard League in 1167, Milan took the leading role in this alliance. The war between the German emperor and the Italian communes went on with mixed fortunes for years, ending with the Italian victory at the battle of Legnano. As a result of the independence that the Lombard cities gained in the Peace of Constance in 1183, Milan became a duchy. In 1208 Rambertino Buvalelli served a term as podestà of the city, in 1242 Luca Grimaldi, and in 1282 Luchetto Gattilusio. The position could be fraught with personal dangers in the violent political life of the medieval commune: in 1252 Milanese heretics assassinated the Church's Inquisitor, later known as Saint Peter Martyr, at a ford in the nearby contado; the killers bribed their way to freedom, and in the ensuing riot the podestà was very nearly lynched. In 1256 the archbishop and leading nobles were expelled from the city. In 1259 Martino della Torre was elected Capitano del Popolo by members of the guilds; he took the city by force, expelled his enemies, and ruled by dictatorial powers, paving streets, digging canals, successfully taxing the countryside. His policy, however, brought the Milanese treasury to collapse; the use of often reckless mercenary units further angered the population, granting an increasing support for the Della Torre's traditional enemies, the Visconti. It is worthy of note that the most important industries throughout the period were major armaments and wool production, a whole catalogue of activities and trades is given in Bonvesin della Riva's "de Magnalibus Urbis Mediolani".
On 22 July 1262 Ottone Visconti was created archbishop of Milan by Pope Urban IV, against the Della Torre candidate, Raimondo della Torre, Bishop of Como. The latter thus started to publicize allegations of the Visconti's closeness to the heretic Cathars and charged them of high treason: the Visconti, who accused the Della Torre of the same crimes, were then banned from Milan and their properties confiscated. The ensuing civil war caused more damage to Milan's population and economy, lasting for more than a decade. Ottone Visconti unsuccessfully led a group of exiles against the city in 1263, but after years of escalating violence on all sides, finally, after the victory in the Battle of Desio (1277), he won the city for his family. The Visconti succeeded in ousting the della Torre forever, ruling the city and its possession until the 15th century.
Much of the prior history of Milan was the tale of the struggle between two political factions: the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Most of the time the Guelphs were successful in the city of Milan. However, the Visconti family were able to seize power (signoria) in Milan, based on their "Ghibelline" friendship with the German Emperors. In 1395, one of these emperors, Wenceslas (1378–1400), raised the Milanese to the dignity of a duchy. Also in 1395, Gian Galeazzo Visconti became duke of Milan. The Ghibelline Visconti family was to retain power in Milan for a century and a half from the early 14th century until the middle of the 15th century.
In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died without a male heir; following the end of the Visconti line, the Ambrosian Republic was enacted. The Ambrosian Republic took its name from St. Ambrose, popular patron saint of the city of Milan. Both the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions worked together to bring about the Ambrosian Republic in Milan. However, the Republic collapsed when in 1450, Milan was conquered by Francesco Sforza, of the House of Sforza, which made Milan one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.
Milan's last independent ruler, Lodovico il Moro, called French king Charles VIII into Italy in the expectation that France might be an ally in inter-Italian wars. The future king of France, Louis of Orléans, took part in the expedition and realized Italy was virtually defenceless. This prompted him to come back a few years later and claim the Duchy of Milan for himself, his grandmother having been a member of the ruling Visconti family. At that time, Milan was also defended by Swiss mercenaries. After the victory of Louis's successor François I over the Swiss at the Battle of Marignan, the duchy was promised to the French king François I. When the Spanish Habsburg Charles V defeated François I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, northern Italy, including Milan, passed to Habsburg Spain.
In 1556, Charles V abdicated in favour of his son Philip II and his brother Ferdinand I. Charles's Italian possessions, including Milan, passed to Philip II and remained with the Spanish line of Habsburgs, while Ferdinand's Austrian line of Habsburgs ruled the Holy Roman Empire. The Great Plague of Milan in 1629–31 killed an estimated 60,000 people out of a population of 130,000. This episode is considered one of the last outbreaks of the centuries-long pandemic of plague that began with the Black Death.
In 1700 the Spanish line of Habsburgs was extinguished with the death of Charles II. After his death, the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 with the occupation of all Spanish possessions by French troops backing the claim of the French Philippe of Anjou to the Spanish throne. In 1706, the French were defeated in Ramillies and Turin and were forced to yield northern Italy to the Austrian Habsburgs. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht formally confirmed Austrian sovereignty over most of Spain's Italian possessions including Lombardy and its capital, Milan.
Napoleon invaded Italy in 1796, and Milan was declared capital of the Cisalpine Republic. Later, he declared Milan capital of the Kingdom of Italy and was crowned in the Duomo. Once Napoleon's occupation ended, the Congress of Vienna returned Lombardy, and Milan, along with Veneto, to Austrian control in 1815. During this period, Milan became a centre of lyric opera. Here in the 1770s Mozart had premiered three operas at the Teatro Regio Ducal. Later La Scala became the reference theatre in the world, with its premières of Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi. Verdi himself is interred in the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, his present to Milan. In the 19th century other important theatres were La Cannobiana and the Teatro Carcano.
On 18 March 1848, the Milanese rebelled against Austrian rule, during the so-called "Five Days" (Italian: Le Cinque Giornate), and Field Marshal Radetzky was forced to withdraw from the city temporarily. The Kingdom of Sardinia stepped in to help the insurgents; a plebiscite held in Lombardy decided in favor of unification with Sardinia. However, after defeating the Sardinian forces at Custoza on 24 July, Radetzky was able to reassert Austrian control over Milan and northern Italy. A few years on, however, Italian nationalists again called for the removal of Austria and Italian unification. Sardinia and France formed an alliance and defeated Austria at the Battle of Solferino in 1859. Following this battle, Milan and the rest of Lombardy were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia, which soon gained control of most of Italy and in 1861 was rechristened as the Kingdom of Italy.
The political unification of Italy cemented Milan's commercial dominance over northern Italy. It also led to a flurry of railway construction that had started under Austrian partronage (Venice–Milan; Milan–Monza) that made Milan the rail hub of northern Italy. Thereafter with the opening of the Gotthard (1881) and Simplon (1906) railway tunnels, Milan became the major South European rail focus for business and passenger movements e.g. the Simplon Orient Express. Rapid industrialization and market expansion put Milan at the centre of Italy's leading industrial region, though in the 1890s Milan was shaken by the Bava-Beccaris massacre, a riot related to a high inflation rate. Meanwhile, as Milanese banks dominated Italy's financial sphere, the city became the country's leading financial centre.
Late modern and contemporary
In 1919, Fascist leader Benito Mussolini organized his Blackshirts in Milan, that rallied for the first time in Piazza San Sepolcro, a small square near Milan Cathedral. Subsequently, Mussolini led his March on Rome starting from the city. During the Second World War Milan suffered extensive damage from Allied bombings. When Italy surrendered in 1943, German forces occupied most of Northern Italy until 1945. As a result, antifascist resistance groups formed and started guerilla warfare against Nazi and Italian Social Republic's troops. As the war came to an end, the American 1st Armored Division advanced on Milan as part of the Po Valley Campaign. But before they arrived, members of the resistance seized control of the city and executed Mussolini along with several members of his collaborationist government. On 29 April 1945, the corpses of Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci and other Fascist leaders were infamously hanged in Piazzale Loreto, where a year before fifteen partisans had been executed.
During the post-war economic boom, a large wave of internal migration (especially from rural areas of Southern Italy), moved to the city, bringing the population from 1.3 million in 1951 to 1.7 million in 1967. During this period, Milan saw a quick reconstruction of most of its destroyed facilities, with the building of several innovative and modernist skyscrapers, such as the Torre Velasca and the Pirelli Tower, that soon became symbols of the boom. The economic prosperity was however overshadowed in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the so-called Years of Lead, when Milan witnessed an unprecedented wave of street violence, labour strikes and political terrorism. The apex of this period of turmoil occurred on 12 December 1969, when a bomb exploded at the National Agrarian Bank in Piazza Fontana, killing seventeen people and injuring eighty-eight.
In the 1980s, as several fashion firms based in the city became internationally successful (such as Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana), Milan became one of the world's fashion capitals. The city saw also a marked rise in international tourism, notably from America and Japan, while the stock exchange increased its market capitalization more than five-fold. This short-lived period of collective euphoria and the new international image of the city led the mass media to nickname the metropolis "Milano da bere", literally "Milan to drink". However, in the 1990s, Milan was badly affected by Tangentopoli, a large political scandal in which many local and national politicians and businessmen were tried for alleged corruption. The city was also affected by a severe financial crisis and a steady decline in textiles, automobile and steel production, that led to a deep reorganization of its economy.
In the early 21st century, Milan underwent a series of massive redevelopments, with the moving of its exhibition centre to a much larger site in the satellite town of Rho, and the construction of new business districts such as Porta Nuova and CityLife. Despite the decline in Milan's manufacturing production, the city has found alternative and successful sources of revenue, including publishing, finance, banking, fashion design, information technology, logistics, transport and tourism. The 2010 official announcement of Milan hosting Expo 2015 has brightened prospects for the city's future, with several new plans of regeneration and the planned construction of numerous futuristic structures. In addition, the city's decades-long population decline seems to have come to an end in recent years, with signs of recovery as it grew by seven percent since the last census.
Milan is located in the north-western section of the Po Valley, approximately half-way between the river Po to the south and the first reliefs of the Alps with the great lakes (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano) to the north, the Ticino river to the west and the Adda to the east. The municipal territory is entirely flat, the highest point being at 122 m (400.26 ft) above sea level. The administrative commune covers an area of about 181 square kilometres (70 sq mi), with a population, in 2013, of 1,324,169 and a population density of 7,315 inhabitants per square kilometre (18,950 /sq mi). A larger urban area, comprising parts of the provinces of Milan, Monza e Brianza, Como, Lecco and Varese is 1,891 square kilometres (730 sq mi) wide and has a population of 5,264,000 with a density of 2,783 inhabitants per square kilometre (7,210 /sq mi).
Modern Milan has a central area focused on residential and tertiary activities, with a financial district that hosts the stock exchange and the headquarters of banks and insurance companies, shopping centres and educational institutions. In the concentric layout of the city centre is still evident the influence of Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. Around the city proper, and beyond its railway and motorway rings, lies a vast urbanized valley that expands mainly to the north, engulfing many communes in a continuous urban landscape. The contiguous built-up area trespass by far the city limits, forming a vast urban agglomeration that stretches northeast and northwest to reach Varese, Como, Lecco and Bergamo.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Milan has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Milan's climate is similar to much of northern Italy's inland plains, where moderately hot summers and cold wet winters prevail. The Alps and Apennines mountains form a natural barrier that protects the city from the major circulations coming from northern Europe and the sea.
During winter, average temperatures can fall below freezing levels (−2 °C or 28 °F) and significant accumulations of snow can occur: the historic average of Milan's area is 21 centimetres (8 in) in the period between 1950 and 2007, with a record of 90 centimetres (35 in) in January, 1985. In the stereotypical image, the city is often shrouded in the heavy fog typical of cold seasons in the Po Basin, although the removal of rice paddies from the southern neighborhoods and the urban heat island effect have reduced this occurrence in recent decades, at least in the city centre. Occasionally, bursts of Foehn winds cause the temperatures to rise unexpectedly: on 22 January 2012 the daily high reached 16 °C (61 °F) while on 22 February 2012 it reached 21 °C (70 °F). The city receives on average seven days of snow per year. Air pollution levels rise significantly in wintertime when cold air clings to the soil, causing Milan to be one of Europe’s most polluted cities.
Summers can be quite sultry, when humidity levels are high and peak temperatures can reach 34 °C (93 °F). Usually this season enjoys clearer skies and more than 13 hours of daylight on average; when precipitations occur though, there is a higher likelihood of them being thunderstorms and hailstorms. Springs and autumns are well marked and generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F); these seasons are characterised by higher precipitation averages, especially in April and May. Relative humidity typically ranges between 45% (comfortable) and 95% (very humid) throughout the year, rarely dropping below 27% (dry) and reaching as high as 100% Wind is generally absent: over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 0 mph to 9 mph (calm to gentle breeze), rarely exceeding 18 mph (fresh breeze), except during summer thunderstorms when winds can blow strong. In the spring, gale-force windstorms may happen, generated either by Tramontane blowing from the Alps or by Bora-like winds from the north.
The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council (Consiglio Comunale), which is composed by 48 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee (Giunta Comunale), composed by 16 assessors, that is nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor. The current mayor of Milan is Giuliano Pisapia, a left-wing independent leading a progressive alliance composed by the Democrats, Left Ecology Freedom, the Greens and Federation of the Left.
The municipality of Milan is subdivided into nine administrative Borough Councils (Consigli di Zona), down from the former twenty districts before the 1999 administrative reform. Each Borough Council is governed by a Council (Consiglio) and a President, elected contextually to the city Mayor. The urban organization is governed by the Italian Constitution (art. 114), the Municipal Statute and several laws, notably the Legislative Decree 267/2000 or Unified Text on Local Administration (Testo Unico degli Enti Locali). The Borough Councils have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics (environment, construction, public health, local markets) and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition they are supplied with an autonomous funding in order to finance local activities.
Provincial and Regional government
Milan is the capital of the eponymous administrative province and of Lombardy, one of the twenty regions of Italy. While the Province of Milan has a population of 3,195,211, making it the second most populated province of Italy after Rome, Lombardy is by far the most populated region of Italy, with more than ten million inhabitants, almost one sixth of the national total. The seat of the regional government is Palazzo Lombardia that, standing at 161.3 metres (529 feet), is the second tallest building in Milan.
According to the last governmental dispositions concerning administrative reorganization, the urban area of Milan has been designated as one of the 15 Metropolitan municipalities (città metropolitane), new administrative bodies scheduled to become fully operative by 2014. The new Metro municipalities, giving large urban areas the administrative powers of a province, are conceived for improving the performance of local administrations and to slash local spending by better coordinating the municipalities in providing basic services (including transport, school and social programs) and environment protection. In this policy framework, the Mayor of Milan is designated to exercise the functions of Metropolitan mayor (Sindaco metropolitano), presieding over a Metropolitan Council formed by 16 mayors of municipalities within the Metro municipality.
There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony, notably the well-preserved Colonne di San Lorenzo. During the second half of the 4th century, Saint Ambrose, as bishop of Milan, had a strong influence on the layout of the city, reshaping the centre (although the cathedral and baptistery built in Roman times are now lost) and building the great basilicas at the city gates: Sant'Ambrogio, San Nazaro in Brolo, San Simpliciano and Sant'Eustorgio, which still stand, refurbished over the centuries, as some of the finest and most important churches in Milan. Milan's Cathedral, built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. The gilt bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, placed in 1774 on the highest pinnacle of the Duomo, soon became one of the most enduring symbols of Milan.
In the 15th century, when the Sforza ruled the city, an old Viscontean fortress was enlarged and embellished to become the Castello Sforzesco, the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park. Notable architects involved in the project included the Florentine Filarete, who was commissioned to build the high central entrance tower, and the military specialist Bartolomeo Gadio. The alliance between Francesco Sforza and Florence's Cosimo de' Medici bore to Milan Tuscan models of Renaissance architecture, apparent in the Ospedale Maggiore and Bramante's work in the city, which includes Santa Maria presso San Satiro (a reconstruction of a small 9th-century church), the tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie and three cloisters for Sant'Ambrogio. The Counter-Reformation in the 16th-17th century was also the period of Spanish domination and was marked by two powerful figures: Saint Charles Borromeo and his cousin, Cardinal Federico Borromeo. Not only did they impose themselves as moral guides to the people of Milan, but they also gave a great impulse to culture, with the creation of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, in a building designed by Francesco Maria Ricchino, and the nearby Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Many notable churches and Baroque mansions were built in the city during this period by the architects, Pellegrino Tibaldi, Galeazzo Alessi and Ricchino himself.
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria was responsible for the significant renovations carried out in Milan during the 18th century. This profound urban and artistic renewal included the establishment of Teatro alla Scala, inaugurated in 1778 and today one of the world's most famous opera houses, and the renovation of the Royal Palace. The late 1700s Palazzo Belgioioso by Giuseppe Piermarini and Royal Villa of Milan by Leopoldo Pollack, later the official residence of Austrian vice-roys, are often regarded among the best examples of Neoclassical architecture in Lombardy. The Napoleonic rule of the city in 1805-1814, having established Milan as the capital of a satellite Kingdom of Italy, took steps in order to reshape it accordingly to its new status, with the construction of large boulevards, new squares (Porta Ticinese by Luigi Cagnola and Foro Bonaparte by Giovanni Antonio Antolini) and cultural institutions (Art Gallery and the Academy of Fine Arts). The massive Arch of Peace, situated at the bottom of Corso Sempione, are often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the second half of the 19th century, Milan quickly became the main industrial center in of the new Italian nation, drawing inspiration from the great European capitals that were hubs of the second industrial revolution. The great Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, realized by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 to celebrate Vittorio Emanuele II, is a covered passage with a glass and cast iron roof, inspired by the Burlington Arcade in London. Another late 19th century eclectic monument in the city is the Cimitero Monumentale graveyard, built in a Neo-Romanesque style between 1863 and 1866.
The tumultuous period of early 20th century brought several, radical innovations in Milanese architecture. Art Nouveau, also known as Liberty in Italy, is recognisable in Palazzo Castiglioni, built by architect Giuseppe Sommaruga between 1901 and 1904. Other remarkable examples include Hotel Corso and Berri-Meregalli house, the latter built in a traditional Milanese Art Nouveau style combined with elements of neo-Romanesque and Gothic revival architecture, regarded as one of the last such types of architecture in the city. A new, more eclectic form of architecture can be seen in buildings such as Castello Cova, built the 1910s in a distinctly neo-medioeval style, evoking the architectural trends of the past. An important example of Art Deco, which blended such styles with Fascist architecture, is the massive Central railway station inaugurated in 1931.
The post–World War II period saw rapid reconstruction and fast economic growth, accompanied by a nearly twofold increase in population. In the 1950s and 1960s, a strong demand for new residential and commercial areas drove to extreme urban expansion, that has produced some of the major milestones in the city's architectural history, including Gio Ponti's Pirelli Tower (1956–60), Velasca Tower (1956–58), and the creation of brand new residential satellite towns, as well as huge amounts of low quality public housings. In recent years, de-industrialization, urban decay and gentrification led to a massive urban renewal of former industrial areas, that have been transformed into modern residential and financial districts, notably Porta Nuova in downtown Milan and FieraMilano in the suburb of Rho. In addition, the old exhibition area is being completely reshaped according to the Citylife regeneration project, featuring residencial areas, museums, an urban park and three skyscrapers designed by top ratd international architects, from whom they are named after: the 202m Isozaki Tower (when completed, the tallest building in Italy), the twisted Hadid Tower and the curved Libeskind Tower.
Parks and gardens
The largest parks in the central area of Milan are Sempione Park, at the north-western edge, and Montanelli Gardens, situated northeast of the city. English-style Sempione Park, built in 1890, contains a Napoleonic Arena, the Milan City Aquarium, a steel lattice panoramic tower, an art exhibition centre, a Japanese garden and a public library. The Montanelli gardens, created in the 18th century, hosts the Natural History Museum of Milan and a planetarium. Slightly away from the city centre, heading east, Forlanini Park is characterized by a large pond and a few preserved shacks which remind of the area's agricultural past.
In addition, even though Milan is located in one of the most urbanised regions of Italy, it's surrounded by a belt of green areas and features numerous gardens even in its very centre. Since 1990, the farmlands and woodlands north (Parco Nord Milano) and south (Parco Agricolo Sud Milano) of the urban area have been protected as regional parks. West of the city, the Parco delle Cave (Sand pit park,) has been established on a neglected site where gravel and sand used to be extracted, featuring artificial lakes and woods.
With rapid industrialization in post-war years, the population of Milan peaked at 1,743,427 in 1973. Thereafter, during the following thirty years, almost one third of the population moved to the outer belt of new suburbs and satellite settlements that grew around the city proper. There were an estimated 1,324,169 official residents in the commune of Milan at the end of 2013. However, Milan's continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of its administrative commune and was home to 5,264,000 people in 2013, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 7 and 10 million depending on the definition used.
As of 2011, the Italian national institute of statistics Istat estimated that 236,855 foreign-born residents lived in Milan, representing almost 20% of the total resident population, a rapid increase from recent years levels. After World War II, Milan experienced two main distinct epochs of massive immigration: the first period, dating from the 1950s to the early 1970s, saw a large influx of immigrants from poorer and rural areas within Italy; the second period, starting from the late 1970s, has been characterized by the preponderance of foreign-born immigrants.
The early period coincided with the so-called Italian economic miracle of postwar years, an era of extraordinary growth based on rapid industrial expansion and massive public works, that brought to the city a large influx of over 400,000 people, mainly from rural and overpopulated Southern Italy. In the last three decades, the foreign born share of the population soared. Immigrants came mainly from Africa (in particular Egyptian, Maroccans, Senegalese, and Nigerian), and the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (notably Albania, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Moldova), in addition to a growing number of Asians (in particular Chinese, Sri Lankans and Filipinos) and Latin Americans (Mainly South Americans). At the beginning of the 1990s, Milan already had a population of foreign-born residents of approximately 58,000 (or 4% of the then population), that rose rapidly to over 117,000 by the end of the decade (about 9% of the total).
Decades of continuing massive immigration have made the city the most cosmopolitan and multi-cultural in Italy. Milan notably hosts the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy, with almost 21,000 people in 2011. Situated in the 9th district, and centered on Via Paolo Sarpi, an important commercial avenue, the Milanese Chinatown was originally established in the 1920s by immigrants from Wencheng County, in the Zhejiang province, and used to operate small textile and leather workshops. Milan has also a substantial English-speaking community (more than 3,000 American, British and Australian expatriates), and several English schools and language publications, such as Hello Milano, Where Milano and Easy Milano.
Milan's population, like that of Italy as a whole, is mostly Catholic. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan. The city is also home to sizeable Orthodox, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant communities.
Milan has its own historic Catholic rite known as the Ambrosian Rite (Italian: Rito ambrosiano). It varies slightly from the typical Catholic rite (the Roman, used in all other western regions), with some differences in the liturgy and mass celebrations, in the Canons are Easter and Lent, in the colour of liturgical vestments, peculiar use of incense, marriage form, office for the dead, baptism by immersion, and in the calendar (for example, the date for the beginning of lent is celebrated some days after the common date, so the carnival has different date). The season of Advent is of six weeks duration and starts on the Sunday after the feast of Saint Martin (11 November). The Ambrosian rite is also practiced in other surrounding locations in Lombardy, parts of Piedmont and in the Swiss canton of Ticino. The sounding of church bells uses a peculiar technique. Another important difference concerns the liturgical music. The Gregorian chant was completely unused in Milan and surrounding areas, because the official one was its own Ambrosian chant, definitively established by the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and earlier than the Gregorian. To preserve this music there has developed the unique schola cantorum, a college, and an Institute called PIAMS (Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of Sacred Music), in partnership with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music (PIMS) in Rome.
The construction of mosques has been banned, with the government stating that Muslims do not need houses of worship, since they can pray anywhere.
While Rome is Italy's political capital, Milan is the country's economic and financial heart. With a 2010 GDP estimated at €132.5 billion, the province of Milan generates approximately 9% of the national GDP; while the economy of the Lombardy region generates approximately 20% of the Italy's GDP (or an estimated €325 billion in 2010, roughly the size of Belgium).
The province of Milan is home to about 45% of businesses in the Lombardy region and more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including three Fortune 500 companies. Milan is home to a large number of media and advertising agencies, national newspapers and telecommunication companies, including both the public service broadcaster RAI and private television companies like Mediaset, Telecom Italia Media and Sky Italia. In addition, it has also seen a rapid increase in internet companies with both domestic and international companies such as Altervista, Google, Lycos, Virgilio and Yahoo! establishing their Italian operations in the city. Milan is a major world fashion centre, where the sector can count on 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets (with brands such as Armani, Versace and Valentino), while four weeks a year are dedicated to top shows and other fashion events. The city is also an important manufacturing centre, especially for the automotive industry, with companies such as Alfa Romeo and Pirelli having a significant presence in the city. Other important products made in Milan include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics.
Other key sectors in the city's economy are advanced research in health and biotechnologies, chemicals and engineering, banking and finance. Milan is the home to Italy's main banking groups (198 companies), including Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, Mediolanum and UniCredit and over forty foreign banks. The Associazione Bancaria Italiana representing the Italian banking system and Milan Stock Exchange (225 companies listed on the stock exchange) are both located in the city. The city can boast one of Europe's largest trade fair systems of over 1,600,000 m2 (17,222,257 sq ft) and about 4.5 million visitors flock to the around 75 major events every year from all over the world as well as to the high-tech conference centres. Tourism is an increasingly important part of the city's economy: in 2010, the city registered more than 2.3 million international arrivals, up 10% on the previous year.
Milan is presently undergoing a massive urban renewal. FieraMilano, the historical city trade fair operator, owned a fair ground known as "FieraMilanoCity", which was dismantled to be house for a major urban development, CityLife district. The new trade exhibition center, built in the north-western suburb of Rho and inaugurated in April 2005, makes FieraMilano one of the largest expo areas in the world. Along with CityLife, many other construction projects are under way to rehabilitate disused industrial areas. Several famous architects take part in the projects, such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Arata Isozaki, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas and Daniel Libeskind. Many of these projects are in preparation contextually to Expo 2015.
Museums and art galleries
Milan is home to many cultural institutions, museums and art galleries, that account for about a tenth of the national total of visitors and recepits. The Pinacoteca di Brera is one of Milan's most important art galleries. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian painting, including masterpieces such as the Brera Madonna by Piero della Francesca. The Castello Sforzesco hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions, especially statues, ancient arms and furnitures, as well as the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, with an art collection including Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna's Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript. The Castello complex also includes The Museum of Ancient Art, The Furniture Museum, The Museum of Musical Instruments and the Applied Arts Collection, The Egyptian and Prehistoric sections of the Archaeological Museum and the Achille Bertarelli Print Collection.
Milan's figurative art flourished in the Middle-Ages, and with the Visconti family being major patrons of the arts, the city became an important centre of Gothic art and architecture (Milan Cathedral being the city's most formidable work of Gothic architecture). Leonardo worked in Milan from 1482 until 1499. He was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The city was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, and hosted numerous formidable artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio and Francesco Hayez, which several important works are hosted in Brera Academy. The Museum of Risorgimento is specialized on the history of Italian unification Its collections include iconic paintings like Baldassare Verazzi's Episode from the Five Days and Francesco Hayez's 1840 Portrait of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. The Triennale is a design museum and events venue located in Palazzo dell'Arte, in Sempione Park. It hosts exhibitions and events highlighting contemporary Italian design, urban planning, architecture, music, and media arts, emphasizing the relationship between art and industry.
Milan in the 20th century was the epicenter of the Futurist artistic movement. Filippo Marinetti, the founder of Italian Futurism wrote in his 1909 "Futurist Manifesto" (in Italian, Manifesto Futuristico), that Milan was "grande...tradizionale e futurista" ("grand...traditional and futuristic", in English). Umberto Boccioni was also an important Futurism artist who worked in the city.Today, Milan remains a major international hub of modern and contemporary art, with numerous modern art galleries. The Modern Art Gallery, situated in the Royal Villa, hosts collections of Italian and European painting from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The Museo del Novecento, situated in the Palazzo dell'Arengario, is one of the most important art galleries in Italy about 20th-century art; of particular relevance are the sections dedicated to Futurism, Spatialism and Arte povera.
Milan is a major nation-wide and international centre of the performing arts, most notably opera. Milan hosts La Scala operahouse, considered one of the most prestigious operahouses in the world, and throughout history has hosted the premieres of numerous operas, such as Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi in 1842, La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini in 1904, Turandot by Giacomo Puccini in 1926, and more recently Teneke, by Fabio Vacchi in 2007. Other major theatres in Milan include the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Teatro Dal Verme, Teatro Lirico and formerly the Teatro Regio Ducal. The city also has a renowned symphony orchestra and musical conservatory, and has been, throughout history, a major centre for musical composition: numerous famous composers and musicians such as Gioseppe Caimo, Simon Boyleau, Hoste da Reggio, Verdi, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, Paolo Cherici and Alice Edun are or were from, or call or called Milan their home. The city has also formed numerous modern ensembles and bands, such as the Dynamis Ensemble, Stormy Six and the Camerata Mediolanense have been formed.
Fashion and design
Milan is widely regarded as a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture. In the 1950s and 60s, as the main industrial centre of Italy and one of Europe's most dynamic cities, Milan became a world capital of design and architecture. There was such a revolutionary change that Milan’s fashion exports accounted for $726 million (U.S. currency) in 1952, and by 1955 that number grew to $2.5 billion. Modern skyscrapers, such as the Pirelli Tower and the Torre Velasca were built, and artists such as Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni gathered in the city. Today, Milan is still particularly well known for its high-quality furniture and interior design industry. The city is home to FieraMilano, Europe's largest permanent trade exhibition, and Salone Internazionale del Mobile, one of the most prestigious international furniture and design fairs.
Milan is also regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, along with New York City, Paris, and London. Milan is synonymous with the Italian prêt-à-porter industry, as many of the most famous Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also operate shops in Milan. Furthermore, the city hosts the Milan Fashion Week twice a year, one of the most important events in the international fashion system. Milan's main upscale fashion district, quadrilatero della moda, is home to the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia), in addition to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall.
Language and literature
In the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th, Milan was an important centre for intellectual discussion and literary creativity. The Enlightenment found here a fertile ground. Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria, with his famous Dei delitti e delle pene, and Count Pietro Verri, with the periodical Il Caffè were able to exert a considerable influence over the new middle-class culture, thanks also to an open-minded Austrian administration. In the first years of the 19th century, the ideals of the Romantic movement made their impact on the cultural life of the city and its major writers debated the primacy of Classical versus Romantic poetry. Here, too, Giuseppe Parini, and Ugo Foscolo published their most important works, and were admired by younger poets as masters of ethics, as well as of literary craftsmanship. Foscolo's poem Dei sepolcri was inspired by a Napoleonic law that—against the will of many of its inhabitants—was being extended to the city. In the third decade of the 19th century, Alessandro Manzoni wrote his novel I Promessi Sposi, considered the manifesto of Italian Romanticism, which found in Milan its centre, and Carlo Porta wrote his poems in Lombard Language. The periodical Il Conciliatore published articles by Silvio Pellico, Giovanni Berchet, Ludovico di Breme, who were both Romantic in poetry and patriotic in politics. After the Unification of Italy in 1861, Milan lost its political importance; nevertheless it retained a sort of central position in cultural debates. New ideas and movements from other countries of Europe were accepted and discussed: thus Realism and Naturalism gave birth to an Italian movement, Verismo. The greatest verista novelist, Giovanni Verga, was born in Sicily but wrote his most important books in Milan.
In addition to Italian, approximately 2 million people in the Milan metropolitan area can speak the Milanese dialect or one of its Western Lombard variations.
Like most cities in Italy, Milan has developed his own local culinary tradition, which, as it is typical for North Italian cuisines, uses more frequently rice than pasta, butter than vegetable oil and features almost no tomato or fish. Milanese traditional dishes includes cotoletta alla milanese, a breaded veal (pork and turkey can be used) cutlet pan-fried in butter (similar to Viennese "Wienerschnitzel"). Other typical dishes are cassoeula (stewed pork rib chops and sausage with Savoy cabbage), ossobuco (stewed veal shank with a sauce called gremolata), risotto alla milanese (with saffron and beef marrow), busecca (stewed tripe with beans), and brasato (stewed beef or pork with wine and potatoes). Season-related pastries include chiacchiere (flat fritters dusted with sugar) and tortelli (fried spherical cookies) for Carnival, colomba (glazed cake shaped as a dove) for Easter, pane dei morti ("Deads' Day bread", cookies aromatized with cinnamon) for All Souls' Day and panettone for Christmas. The salame Milano, a salami with a very fine grain, is widespread throughout Italy. Renown Milanese cheeses are gorgonzola (from the namesake village nearby), mascarpone, used in pastry-making, taleggio and quartirolo.
Milan is well known for its world-class restaurants and cafés, characterized by innovative cuisine and design. As of 2014, Milan has 157 Michelin-selected places, including three 2-Michelin-starred restaurants; these include Cracco, Sadler and il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. Many historical restaurants and bars are found in the historic centre, the Brera and Navigli districts. One of the city's oldest surviving cafés, Caffè Cova, was established in 1817. In total, Milan has 15 cafés, bars and restaurants registered among the Historical Places of Italy, continuously operating since at least 70 years.
Milan hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1934 and 1990, the UEFA European Football Championship in 1980 and most recently the 2003 World Rowing Championships, the 2009 World Boxing Championships, and some games of the FIVB World Championship in 2010 and the final games of the FIVB World Championship in 2014.
Milan is home to two world-famous Serie A football clubs: A.C. Milan and F.C Internazionale Milano. Milan is the only city in Europe that hosts two European Cup/Champions League winning teams (A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano). Both teams have also won the Intercontinental Cup (now FIFA Club World Cup). With a combined ten Champions League titles, Milan is tied with Madrid as one of the cities that have won more European Cups. They are the most successful clubs in the world of football in terms of international trophies. Both teams play at the UEFA 5-star rated Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, more commonly known as the San Siro, that is one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, with a seating capacity of over 80,000. The Meazza Stadium will host the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final. A third team, Brera Calcio F.C. plays in Seconda Categoria.
There are currently four professional Lega Basket clubs in Milan: Olimpia Milano, Pallacanestro Milano 1958, Società Canottieri Milano and A.S.S.I. Milano. Olimpia Milano won 25 Italian Championships as well as 3 European Champions Cups. The team play at the Mediolanum Forum, with a capacity of 12,000. Milan is also home to Italy's oldest American football team: Rhinos Milano, that won 4 Italian Super Bowls. The team play at the Velodromo Vigorelli, with a capacity of 8,000. The world famous Monza Formula One circuit is located near the city, inside a suburban park. It is one of the world's oldest car racing circuits. The capacity for the F1 races is currently of over 113,000. It has hosted an F1 race nearly every year since the first year of competition, with the exception of 1980.
Milan is home to some of Italy's most prominent educational institutions. Milan's higher education system includes 7 universities, 48 faculties and 142 departments, with 185,000 university students in 2011 (approximately 11 percent of the national total) and the largest number of university graduates and postgraduate students (34,000 and more than 5,000, respectively) in Italy.
Founded in 1863, the Politecnico di Milano is the oldest university in Milan. The Politecnico is organized in 16 departments and a network of 9 Schools of engineering, architecture and industrial design spread over 7 campuses in the Lombardy region. The number of students enrolled in all campuses is approximately 38,000, which makes Politecnico the largest technical university in Italy. The University of Milan, founded in 1923, is the largest public teaching and research university in the city, with 9 faculties, 58 departments, 48 institutes and a teaching staff of 2,500 professors. A leading institute in Italy and Europe in scientific publication, the University of Milan is the sixth largest university in Italy, with approximately 60,000 enrolled students.
Other prominent universities in Milan include: the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, a private institute founded in 1921 and located in the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, famous for its law and economics teaching, currently the largest Catholic university in the world with 42,000 enrolled students; the Bocconi University, a private management and finance school established in 1902, ranking as the seventh best business school in Europe; the University of Milan Bicocca, a multidisciplinary public university with more than 30,000 enrolled students; the IULM University of Milan, specializing in marketing, information and communications technology, tourism and fashion; the Università Vita Salute San Raffaele, linked to the San Raffaele hospital, is home to research laboratories in neurology, neurosurgery, diabetology, molecular biology, AIDS studies and cognitive science.
Milan is also well known for its fine arts and music schools. The Milan Academy of Fine Arts (Brera Academy) is a public academic institution founded in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria; the New Academy of Fine Arts is the largest private art and design university in Italy; the European Institute of Design is a private university specialized in fashion, industrial and interior design, audio/visual design including photography, advertising and marketing and business communication; the Marangoni Institute, is a fashion institute with campuses in Milan, London, and Paris; the Domus Academy is a private postgraduate institution of design, fashion, architecture, interior design and management; the Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of Sacred Music, a college of music founded in 1931 by the blessed cardinal A.I. Schuster, archbishop of Milan, and raised according to the rules by the Holy See in 1940, is - similarly to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, which is consociated with - an Institute "ad instar facultatis" and is authorized to confer university qualifications with canonical validity and the Milan Conservatory, a college of music established in 1807, currently Italy's largest with more than 1,700 students and 240 music teachers.
Milan is one of southern Europe's key transport nodes and one of Italy's most important railway hubs. Its five major railway stations, among which the Milan Central station, are among Italy's busiest. Since the end of 2009, two high speed train lines link Milan to Rome, Naples and Turin, considerably shortening travel times with other major cities in Italy.
The Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) operates within the metropolitan area, managing a public transport network consisting of an underground rapid transit network and tram, trolley-bus and bus lines. Overall the network covers nearly 1,400 km (870 mi) reaching 86 municipalities. Besides public transport, ATM manages the interchange parking lots and other transportation services including bike sharing and car sharing systems.
Milan Metro is the rapid transit system serving the city, with 4 lines and a total length of more than 90 km (56 mi). The recently opened M5 line is undergoing further expansion and an initial leg of the M4 line is set to be open in time for Expo 2015. The Milan suburban railway service comprises 10 lines and connects the metropolitan area with the city centre through the Milan Passerby underground railway. Commonly referred to as "Il Passante", it has a train running every 6 minutes (and in the city functions as a subway line with full transferability to the Milan Metro).
The city tram network consists of approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) of track and 17 lines. Bus lines cover over 1,070 km (665 mi). Milan has also taxi services operated by private companies and licensed by the City council of Milan. The city is also a key node for the national road network, being served by all the major highways of Northern Italy.
Milan is served by three international airports. Malpensa International Airport, the second busiest in Italy (about 19 million passengers in 2010), is 45 km (28 mi) from central Milan and connected to the city by the "Malpensa Express" railway service. Linate Airport, which lies within the city limits, is mainly used for domestic and short-haul international flights, and served over 9 million passengers in 2010. The airport of Orio al Serio, near the city of Bergamo, serves the low-cost traffic of Milan (8 million passengers in 2010). Milano Bresso, operated by Aero Club Milano, is a general aviation airport.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Milan has fifteen official sister cities as reported on the city's website. The date column indicates the year in which the relationship was established. São Paulo was Milan's first sister city.
The partnership with the city of St. Petersburg, Russia, that started in 1967, was suspended in 2012 (a decision taken by the city of Milan), because of the prohibition of the Russian government on "homosexual propaganda".
Other forms of cooperation, partnership and city friendship
Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits
Outline of Italy
City of Milan
City of Milan—official Virtual Tour website
ATM—Milan's Transportation Company
Rete Metropolitana di Milano (Italian)
Milan travel guide from Wikivoyage
Milano on The Campanile Project