Milan – Enjoy the Italian Capital of Fashion
Milan (Italian: Milano) is a modern Italian metropolis, located on the plains of Lombardy. Being home to some 1.2 million people, Milan is a key financial hub, with over 100 banks and one of the world's largest stockmarkets. However, for most of the world the city is known for being one of the most important capitals of design and fashion. Milan is a real paradise for shopping and nightlife, but it is also home to one of the best opera ensembles and the third largest church in Europe.
Clothes and accessories are up top 40% cheaper in Milan than in for instance London or New York. The most renowned shops are to be found in the shopping area (so-called Fashion Quadrangle between Duomo Square and San Babila Square – especially along via Montenapoleone, and in the perhaps oldest mall that exists – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Piazza Duomo. The Galleria itself is a pearl - a very sophisticated mix of neo-classical and neo-baroque, and shopping there is a genuine royal treat. Treat yourself as well to a relaxing cup of coffee at Caffè Zucca, next to the mall.
The Duomo counts as the world largest Gothic cathedrals and is the mayor attraction of the city.
The Church and Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci (book entrance in advance!).
Castello Sforzesco - 15th-century Renaissance castle, built by the Viscontis; Michelangelo’s unfinished “Pietà Rondanini”, frescos by (supposedly) da Vinci.
Museo Poldi Pezzoli – a private collection of art and decorative art (Botticelli, Tiepolo and others).
Getting here and getting around
Milan has two airports: Malpensa and Linate. There is very efficient transport to the city - trains, buses and of course taxis. Linate airport is situated only 7 km from the city so one can take a city bus from there.
Trains: Regular and fast trains serve all Italian cities, and some European ones, like for instance Paris or Vienna.
Milan is linked to the rest of the country by several highways.
The transport network within the city is managed by ATM. Metro (M) buses, trams, and suburban trains (S) - are well-organized. In addition there are radiobuses – an alternative to rather expensive taxi.
Time zone: UTC (GMT)+1. Daytime saving time (DST) is observed.
Currency: Euro (EUR, €).
Climate: Humid subtropical climate. Hot summers; cold, dump winters.
Over centuries Romans, Huns, Goths, Byzantines, Franks, Austrians and Spaniards have all fought over the city – for the economical wealth it would bring and for its prime real estate. Milan has been razed and rebuilt four times at least.
Visconti and Sforza families left the city their artistic legacy; Leonardo da Vinci was much treasured at the Sforzas court - he abandoned twice Florence for Milan.
From the times of Austrian rule, that lasted almost the whole 18th century, Milan has Teatro alla Scala, which opened in 1778 during the enlightened rule of Empress Maria Theresa.
During the era of industrialization steel, iron, and manufacturing plants sprouted around Milan. The crisis after the WWI produced strong socialist movement; Benito Mussolini, once a left wing journalist in Milan, gained later support as a head of the fascist movement. Several years later his body was hung upside down at Piazzale Loreto for public viewing.
After the WWII Milan assumed its modern shape. Migrants found jobs in Alfa Romeo, Breda and Pirelli factories. The Pirelli tower, Milan’s tallest building, was finished in 1959. The post-industrial era came and Milan first turned its attention to media and entertainment industries. In the 1980s the city became home for a series of big names within fashion industry: Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana…