Europe / Italy

Milan

Milan is one of Italy's most fashionable cities and one of the richest cities in Europe but it also holds several historic and artistic attractions, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Last Supper painting, and the famous La Scala Opera House. Travelers to Milan will find a fast-paced, glamorous city with a thriving cultural scene and a top city for shopping.

Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza (created in 2004 splitting the northern part from the province of Milan itself), is one of Europe's largest with an estimated population of over 4 million spread over 1,980 km2 (764.48 sq mi), with a consequent population density of more than 2,000 inhabitants/km². The growth of many suburbs and satellite settlements around the city proper following the great economic boom of the 1950s–60s and massive commuting flows suggest that socioeconomic linkages have expanded well beyond the boundaries of the city proper and its agglomeration, creating a metropolitan area of 7.4 million population expanded all over the central section of Lombardy region. It has been suggested that the Milan metropolitan area is part of the so-called Blue Banana, the area of Europe with the highest population and industrial density.

The city was founded by the Insubres, a Celtic people. Milan was later captured by the Romans in 222 BC, and later was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 286 until 402 AD. Milan became one of the most prosperous Italian cities during the High Middle Ages, playing a primary role in the Lombard League. Later Milan became the capital city of the Duchy of Milan, being ruled by the Visconti, the Sforza, the Spanish and the Austrians. In 1796, Milan was conquered by the French troops of Napoleon I, who made it the capital of the puppet state of the Kingdom of Italy in 1805. Later Milan became the capital city of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, which was part of the Austrian Empire. In 1859 the city was unified with the Kingdom of Sardinia, which later became the Kingdom of Italy. During the Romantic period, Milan was a major cultural centre in Europe, attracting several artists, composers and important literary figures. Later, during World War II, the city was badly affected by Allied bombings, and after German occupation in 1943, Milan became the main hub of the Italian resistance. Despite this, Milan saw a post-war economic growth, attracting thousands of immigrants from Southern Italy and abroad.

Over the years, Milan has had an increase in the number of international inhabitants, and 15.2% of Milan's population is foreign born. The city remains one of Europe's main transportation and industrial hubs, and Milan is the EU's 10th most important centre for business and finance (2009) with its economy being the world's 26th richest by purchasing power. Milan ranks highly in both national and international rankings in terms of GDP per capita, average income rates, cost of living, and quality of life. Its economic environment has made it, according to several studies, the world's 20th and Europe's 10th top business and financial centre, having been highly successful in terms of city branding.

Milan is recognised as a world fashion and design capital, and it has thus been ranked by GaWC as an Alpha world city in 2010, as well as the 42nd most important global city. An important centre of the international arts and musical scene, the city holds several renowned institutions, theatres and museums, as well as important monuments, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Santa Maria delle Grazie); the metropolis also hosts several important 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. The city is also home to two renowned football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. Euromonitor International ranked Milan as the world's 63rd most visited city in 2009, with 1.894 million arrivals.

Inhabitants of Milan are referred to as "Milanese" (Italian: Milanesi or informally Meneghini or Ambrosiani). Milan, for its pivotal economic role and its fervent political and cultural activity that often anticipates national trends, it is often nicknamed as the "moral capital of Italy".

Milan has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) without any influence from the seaside. The Climatic Classification is "zone E, 2259 GR/G"– similar to much of Northern Italy's inland plains, where sultry summers and very cold, wet winters prevail.[not in citation given] The minimum temperature record is -17.6 and the highest is 39.

Average temperatures in city center are 3 °C (37 °F) in January with -2 °C (28 °F) for the minimum and 25 °C (77 °F) in July with average maximum of 30 °C (86 °F). During winter, accumulating snowfall can occur and is not as rare as in central and southern parts of Italy. The historic average of Milan's area is of 21 centimetres (8 in) during the period between 1950 and 2007, with a record of 70 centimetres (28 in) during the snowfall of January 1985. Humidity is quite high during the whole year and annual precipitation averages about 1,000 millimetres (39 in).[not in citation given] The ventilation is poor throughout the year and this increases the rate of pollution.

In the stereotypical image, the city is often shrouded in the heavy fog characteristic of cold seasons in the Po Basin, although the removal of rice paddies from the southern neighborhoods, the urban heat island effect and the reduction of pollution from factories have reduced this phenomenon in recent years, at least in the city centre, although pollution is still very high. Wind is generally absent. In spring, though, gale-force windstorms can happen, generated either by Tramontana blowing from the Alps or by Bora-like winds from northeast.

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