Milan, the capital of Lombardy is Italy’s second largest city. Its urban spread is one of the largest in the European Union,
Milan is situated in the north-western region of the Po Valley. To its south lies the River Po, while to the north are situated the Alps Mountains, and the three great lakes, namely, Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Como. The Ticino River lies to the west of Milan while River Adda flows east of the city.
The city has three operational international airports, five major railway stations, a hugely efficient rapid transit metro network, and a dependable tram service.
The center of the city comprises of large residential areas and a busy financial neighborhood that comprises of a stock exchange, various banks and insurance syndicates, shopping complexes, schools, and universities. The concentric planning of the city center bears evidence of the influence of Navigli, an ancient network of interconnected canals which were once intensively navigated but are now mostly covered. Beyond the city lies a vast urbanized valley that stretches to the north including much habitation in a mammoth urban landscape.
Milan’s population is largely Catholic like the rest of the country. Protestants too make up a sizable community. Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim populace also inhabit the city.
The most used language here is Italian, followed by English, Chinese, French, and Dutch.
Milan has the highest per capita income in Italy. It has also earned the distinction of being the world’s 12th most expensive city.
|Facts about the City|
|Area||181.76 sq. km|
|Average Day Temperature||17.2°C|
|Average Night Temperature||7.8°C|
|Dialing Code||+39 2|
|Major Airports||Malpensa , Linate, Bergamo|
|Geographic Coordinates||45°28′N 09°11′E|
|Time Zone||Central European Time Zone|
The Making of Milan
Ancient Milan was founded by a group of Celtic people known as the Insubres. Later in 222 BC the Romans occupied the city and made it the capital of the Western Roman Empire. The city gradually grew in prominence and in the Middle Ages became a major commercial center. Several countries like France, Habsburg, Spain, and Austria have dominated Milan over the centuries. In 1535, the city came under Spanish regime and then in 1713, it became Austrian. Milan was declared capital of the Cisalpine Republic, when Napoleon Bonaparte attacked Italy in 1796. But later, under his reign, Napoleon proclaimed it as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1859 the city was annexed by Italy. During the early 1900s, Milan was at the forefront of rapid and widespread industrialization. World War II badly affected Milan because of the atrocities of Nazi occupation. Later however, it became a stronghold of the Italian Resistance.
How to get there
Milan is a major transportation hub of Italy and Europe, and is well connected to other major cities. Milan has a few main airports: Milan Malpensa, Linate, and the nearby Bergamo Orio al Serio. Malpensa is a large airport served by many of the European budget airlines, and is connected to downtown Milan via express trains and buses. Linate Airport is smaller but closer to downtown, with a service primarily to domestic destinations. Linate is accessible via local buses, an express bus, and a dedicated bus.
Aside from air travel, Milan's main train station, Milano Centrale, is connected by rail to cities across Italy, as well as Barcelona, Zurich, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, Munich, and other major European cities. There are also long-distance buses into Milan, which arrive at Lampugnano bus terminal.
When to visit
Milan is a great city to visit in the spring and especially the fall, while summer can be hot and crowded, and winter is quite cold in Milan, with fog, rain, and snow. However, the Christmas season is festive, with a large Christmas tree in the main square. Certainly, visitors to Milan should avoid August, which is when much of Italy shuts down and the locals leave for vacations. Also, museums and many other attractions and businesses are closed on Mondays in Milan. Of course, many visitors will come to Milan during Fashion Week, which takes place twice each year: once in February or March, and once in September or October.
Milan is a marvel to discover. The tourist can begin with The Duomo which stands at the center of the city and is perhaps its most magnificent piece of architecture. It comprises of 3,000 statutes, towering spires, gleaming stained glass windows and a fantastic roof, on which one can walk across. Another imposing structure is the Teatro alla Scala of Milan which can seat over 2,000 people at any given time. The theater has gained recognition as one of the leading opera and ballet theaters in the world.
Another must-see in Milan is The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the most famous painting in the world. It covers a wall in the monastery situated beside the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In order to prevent depreciation of this famous painting, admission is strictly limited to 25 people every 15 minutes. If you are hoping to view this magnificent work of art, you must confirm your right to admission in advance. Tickets are often sold out months earlier, so it is advisable to buy them online before visiting the city using Tickitaly Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is another charming attraction of Milan. This 18th century glass and iron covered gallery houses numerous beautiful shops, restaurants and cafes. It is covered by a magnificent central dome. Below are emblems on the mosaic floor representing the cities of Milan, Rome, Florence, and Turin.
Castello Sforzesco,another major tourist attraction is a 14th century castle that has been renovated after numerous sieges of destruction and today serves as a museum. Inside one of the rooms in the Museum of Ancient Art, are ceiling frescoes painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
Destination Guide – More about the city
Milan-the Perfect Fashion Destination
Milan is modish. It certainly puts its most elegantly clad foot forward when it comes to fashion. All the biggest names in the world of couture Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana, have set up their headquarters in Milan. The Milan Fashion Week is a significant annual event. The traveler to Milan must visit the Golden Triangle, the name given to Milan’s famous shopping streets, which include Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via San’t Andrea, Via Gesù, and Via Borgospesso. Serious buying or window shopping, you won’t be disappointed in either. The city is without question, the fashion capital of the globe.
Silly about Soccer – that is Milan for you. The city is home to two of the most powerful football teams in the Italian league: Inter Milan and AC Milan. Both the teams play at the Giuseppe Meazza-San Siro Stadium. Both have had the credit of winning both the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.
Milan on Wheels
One of the first car racing circuits of the world, Monza Formula One, is close to the city of Milan. The capacity for the races is around 137,000 spectators. It has been operational since 1922 and hosts the Italian Grand Prix.
Meals in Milan
Milan has a strong provincial cuisine. Risotto is the main course of the city as compared to pasta in the other Italian cities.Milk, cream, and cheese are popular cooking ingredients. Soups are often drunk. Beef, veal, and sausages are eaten. Every day from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Milan celebrates Aperitivo, i.e., the time to eat finger food. Lounges, cafés, and bars usually offer buffet that includes food which can be eaten by hands. It is the best time in the day for people as they socialize and enjoy great food. Another must experience for any tourist.
Activities in Milan
There are a lot of activities to keep you busy in Milan. Some of them are:
- Winding down the canals: Navigli Lombardi organizes a tour including the ancient washhouses of vicolo dei Lavandai and San Cristoforo, the Scodellino bridge and the ancient Darsena port. Built in the 16th century, this port is located at the confluence of two canals linking Milan with the Ticino and Po rivers, and now welcomes the traveler to riverside shopping, drinking and dining.
- Relaxing at the spas, steam baths and open-air art deco pools. This is a recommended indulgence for a traveler desirous of savoring the joys of spa treatments.
- Spending a couple of hours at the San Siro Stadium. Even on non-match days the grounds and its museum which documents the history of soccer in the city will leave you enthralled.
- Joining a cooking class or signing up for a wine seminar. Pick up recipes and tips on Italian cooking in private homes from experienced teachers.
- Take a biking tour through the city. Experienced guides will help you discover its hidden treasures like charming boutiques, restaurants and bookstores.
- Catch a live event in the numerous music venues or watch a retrospective film in any of the open air theaters.
Best Season to Visit
Milan attracts visitors almost all round the year. However, the spring months are best avoided because of the rain though they are pleasant and comfortably cool. The winters though are not harsh but might seem cool for people from tropical climates. July, August, and September are the best months to visit Milan.
Middle range Hotels
Hotel Molisse 2
Via Cadibona 2
+39 02 546 8700
Via Vitruvio, 48, 20124 Milan, Italy
Phone:+39 02 669 2141
Hotel Fenice Milano
Corso Buenos Aires 2, P. Venezia, 20124 Milan
Hotel Amendola Fiera
Via Filippo Carcano 39
+39 02 4399 0098
Via Filippino Lippi, 50
+39 02 236 1208
Via Abbondio Sangiorgio, 16, 20145 Milan
Phone:+39 02 344705
Last Updated : September 15, 2014