Milan (English: /mɪˈlæn/ or US: /mɪˈlɑːn/; Italian: Milano [miˈlaːno] (About this sound listen); Lombard: Milan [miˈlãː] (Milanese variant)) is the city capital of the Lombardy Region in Northern Italy and is the 2nd richest city in the European Union after Paris in 2016. It is the second most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper at 1,369,000, and the Metropolitan City of Milan at 3,219,000. Its geographical outskirt (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan), has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 in 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles), ranking 2nd in the European Union. The wider Milan metropolitan area, popular for Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that comprehends almost every province of Lombardy, the Piedmont province of Novara, and some parts of the province of Piacenza which counts an estimated total population of 8,123,020.
Milan is Italy's main industrial and financial capital and corporation hub home to thousands of the most important companies worldwide. In terms of GDP, it has the largest economy among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and has now become the wealthiest city among the economic rivalry "Four Motors for Europe." The city is the capital of the Lombardy Region which has an economy bigger than the U.S. state of Ohio in 2016.
Milano is currently a leading Alpha Global City, with strengths in the arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and companies. Its official stock index FTSE MIB is one of the world's most valued stocks that, for an example, has surpassed the United States' Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices by 300%.
The city has long been named Fashion Capital of the World and the World's Design capital, attributed for several multinational events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently the biggest in terms of revenue and capital growth. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students.
Milan's museums have one of the most expensive artifacts in the world. In terms of tourism and arts, some of its few record-breaking landmarks are in the city center, home to the world's first 7 star hotel Town House Galleria, biggest gothic cathedral Duomo, and one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world, La Scala. Landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle and Leonardo da Vinci paintings such as The Last Supper, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 11 million visitors and grows by 12.5% each year, which means that Milan welcomes the most cultural tourists in the world. (data referred to city proper). Milan has one of the highest numbers of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide in the world. The city hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. Milan hosts two of Europe's major football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, and one of Italy's major basketball teams, Olimpia Milano.
Milan has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), according to the Köppen climate classification, or a temperate oceanic climate (Do), according to the Trewartha climate classification. Milan's climate is similar to much of Northern Italy's inland plains, with hot, sultry summers and cold, foggy winters. However, the mean number of days with precipitation per year is one of the lowest in Europe. 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, daily average temperatures can fall below freezing (0 °C [32 °F]) and accumulations of snow can occur: the historic average of Milan's area is 25 centimetres (10 in) in the period between 1961 and 1990, with a record of 90 centimetres (35 in) in January 1985. In the suburbs the average can reach 36 centimetres (14 in). The city receives on average seven days of snow per year.
The city is often shrouded in heavy fog, although the removal of rice paddies from the southern neighbourhoods and the urban heat island effect have reduced this occurrence in recent decades. Occasionally, the 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). 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.
In summer, humidity levels are high and peak temperatures can reach temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). Usually this season enjoys clearer skies with an average of more than 13 hours of daylight: when precipitations occur though, there is a higher likelihood of them being thunderstorms and hailstorms. Springs and autumns are generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F); these seasons are characterised by higher rainfall, 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 to 14 km/h (0 to 9 mph) (calm to gentle breeze), rarely exceeding 29 km/h (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.
See also: List of buildings in Milan and Villas and palaces in Milan
Piazza Duomo with Milan Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
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.
The Filarete Tower of Sforza Castle
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.
the Arco della Pace.
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, is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the second half of the 19th century, Milan quickly became the main industrial centre 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, realised 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 Art Deco Centrale railway station, built in 1925–31
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-medieval style, evoking the architectural trends of the past. An important example of Art Deco, which blended such styles with Fascist architecture, is the huge Central railway station inaugurated in 1931.
The post–World War II period saw rapid reconstruction and fast economic growth, accompanied by a nearly two-fold 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 vast 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 international architects, and after whom they are named: the 202-metre (663-foot) Isozaki Tower – when completed, the tallest building in Italy, the twisted Hadid Tower, and the curved Libeskind Tower.
Parks and gardens
Sempione Park, with the Arch of Peace in the background
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 characterised 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.
Milan (English: /mɪˈlæn/ or US: /mɪˈlɑːn/; Italian: Milano [miˈlaːno]; Lombard: Milan [miˈlã] (Milanese variant)) is a city in Italy, capital of the Lombardy region, categorized as the largest and the most populous city in Italy, with the city proper at 1,369,000, and the Metropolitan City of Milan at 3,219,000. Its geographical outskirt (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan), has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 in 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles), ranking 2nd in the European Union after Paris. The wider Milan metropolitan area, popular for Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that comprehends almost every province of Lombardy, the Piedmont province of Novara, and some parts of the province of Piacenza and which counts an estimated total population of 8,123,020.