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

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 region in Italy. The city proper has about 1.3 million inhabitants (2004), but the population including the surrounding metropolitan area is about 4 million.

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, Paris, London and Rome, and design. Another famed product of the city is the traditional Christmas sweet cake called Panettone. Milan is also famous for the Alfa Romeo and its silk production.



It is presumed Milan was originally founded by the Celts of Northern Italy around 600 BC and was conquered around 222 BC by the Romans, 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 was briefly the capital of the Western Roman Empire. At that time Milan was the second largest city in Europe, with more than 300,000 inhabitants.

In the 11th century, after the Ostrogothic and Lombard periods, the city regained its importance 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 untouched by the epidemic, but it was deeply affected by the plagues of 1402 (50,000 deaths), 1542 (80,000), 1576 (17,000) and 1629 (70,000). 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 the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars saw the city annexed into the French satellite states of the Cisalpine Republic, which later became the Kingdom of Italy. After this period, Milan was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, under Austrian rule. Milan eventually became one of the main centers of Italian nationalism, claiming 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).

As a critical industrial center 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 destroyed. After the war the city was reconstructed and has again become an important financial and industrial centre of Italy. See also: Rulers of Milan.


Milan is a very diverse city, because it is the second largest city in Italy but it is probably the most industrial centre in the country. Many of the immigrants are from Asian and North African nations. A small percentage comes from Latin America. The city is 91% Italian, and the remaining groups include Egyptian, Filipino, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Albanian.


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.

Milan was included in a list of ten "Alpha world cities" by Peter J. Taylor and Robert E. Lang of the Brookings Institution in the economic report "'U.S. Cities in the 'World City Network'" (Key Findings, Full Report).

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
    Pirelli Tower, Milan
  • 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

Notable architecture

Image:IMG 8717.JPG
Castello Sforzesco

Culture & Art

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)
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 one of the most important centres 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 can be found one of the most famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper (it: "Cenacolo").

Milan is well known for is its enormous grafitti problem. It is internationally regarded as having one of the worst problems in Europe, mainly caused by the city's local youth. It is layered in many parts of the towns and has made its impact throughout the city. This is believed to be caused by Milan's anti-grafitti laws, which Milan residents largely regard as a joke.

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).

Subways, tramways, and buses

Milan's transportation system (M-S-R Lines)
Milan's transportation system (M-S-R Lines)
S Lines map.
S Lines map.

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 systems in the world, with more than 286 km of tracks and 20 lines connecting Greater Milan.

There are 93 bus lines covering over 1,070 km amongst them. The local transportation authority (ATM) transported more than 600 million passengers in 2003 .

National Railway

Milan is one of the most important railway hubs of Italy, and the 5 major stations of Milan are among Italy's busiest:

  • Milano Centrale (passenger station - the second italian station)
  • Milano P.ta Garibaldi (passenger station)
  • Milano Lambrate (passenger station)
  • Milano Rogoredo (passenger station)
  • Milano Greco (passenger station)
  • Milano San Cristoforo (passenger and cargo station)
  • Milano Porta Romana (passenger and cargo station)
  • Milano Certosa (passenger station)
  • Milano Smistamento/Scalo Farini (cargo-trains).

Three new stations for passenger service are under construction:

  • Milano Romolo
  • Milano Tibaldi
  • Milano/Rho Fiera

High speed train lines are under contruction all across Italy, and in the next 3 years new lines will be opened from Milan to Rome and Naples and from Milan to Torino. The stations for the TAV (Treni ad Alta Velocità - High Speed Trains) will be:

  • Milano Rogoredo (for the south)
  • Milano Certosa and Milano/Rho Fiera (for the West)

The line from Milan to Venice and then to Trieste is partially under construction. At the end of the work the station for the TAV from Milan to the East will be:

  • Milano Pioltello

Regional-Metropolitan Railway services

The Suburban Railway Service (called "S" Lines, a service similar to the French RER and German S-Bahn), composed of 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 and 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). All taxis are the same color: white. Prices are based on time elapsed and distance traveled.


Football is the most important sport in Italy, and Milan is home of 2 world-famous football teams: A.C. Milan and Internazionale. Milan is the only city in Europe where teams have won both the Champions European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Both teams play at Giuseppe Meazza - San Siro Stadium (85,700). Many of the strongest Italian players of Football were born in Milano or in the nerby Metropolitan Area: Valentino Mazzola, Renzo De Vecchi, Paolo Maldini, Giuseppe Meazza, Giacinto Facchetti, Gianni Rivera, Valentino Rossi, Luigi Riva, Gaetano Scirea, Giuseppe Bergomi, Walter Zenga, Antonio Cabrini, Roberto Donadoni, Gianluca Vialli, Silvio Piola, Virginio Rosetta, Giampiero Boniperti, Giuseppe Dossena, Gabriele Oriali, Giuseppe Signori, Ugo Locatelli, Giampiero Marini, Aristide Guarneri, Paolino Pulici, Marcello Lippi, Giovanni Trapattoni, Franco e Giuseppe Baresi, Luigi Cevenini, Virgilio e Giuseppe Fossati, Giovanni Ferrari...

  • The famous Monza Formula One circuit is located in the suburbs. It one of the world's oldest car racing circuits, and one of the most famous. The capacity for the F1 races is around 137,000 people.
  • Olimpia Milano is a successful European basketball team that have won 3 European Cups, a World Cup, 3 Winners' Cups, 2 Korac Cups and 25 National Championships. It is the most important Italian team and one of the top 5 in Europe. Olimpia play at Forum (capacity of 14,000 people).
  • The Amatory Rugby Club Milano have won 18 National Championships and are the most famous and important Rugby team of Italy.
  • Different ice hockey teams from Milan have won 30 National Championships between them. Today the Vipers Milano have won the last 4 national championships, the Alpenliga and several Coppa Italia, and are the leaders of that sport in Italy. They play at the Agora Stadium (capacity 4,500) during the regular season and at the Forum during the playoffs .
  • Every year in Milan is played the Bonfiglio Trophy of Tennis for Under 18. It is the most important youth tournament in the world, and is played at the Milan Tennis Club. The Central Court has a capacity of 8000 people. (In the past it has been won by Tacchini, Kodes, Panatta, Barazzutti, Moreno, Borg, Smid, Lendl, Forget, Curier, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Coira)

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


  • Autodromo Nazionale Monza - car and moto racing - 137,000
  • San Siro - only football - 85,700
  • Arena Civica - Athletic, Rugby, Football, 30,000
  • Brianteo - Athletic, 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
  • MazdaPalace - Basket, Volley - 13,500
  • Velodromo Vigorelli - Cycling, American Football - 12,000
  • PalaLido - Basket - 5,000
  • Agorà - Ice Hockey - 4,000
  • Nuovo Giuriati - Rugby - 4,000

Other stadiums and multiuse palaces are located in the Metropolitan Area. The biggest are the Monza Brianteo Stadium (18,000 seats), the PalaDesio (10,000) and the Geas Stadium (8,500).

Communication & media



  • 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

Famous residents

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister in 1994 and 2001-?

Sister cities

Milan has 14 sister cities:

See also

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Milano Photo Gallery

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