The name “Milan”¯ originates from the word “Mediolanum”¯ ”“ medio ”“ “in the middle”¯, and plano ”“ “plain”¯, i.d. in the middle of a plain.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy, the boisterous business metropolis in contrast to medievallyĀ majestic Rome, Florence, and Venice.
At first sight, this modern northern city sacrifices art and beauty to satisfy the requirements of modern style, fashion, and other demands of Ā the financial aristocracy. However, among the fashion shops, offices, business centers, and fancy restaurants, in Milan there are a lot of places for more sublime works such as the most extravagant Gothic cathedral in Europe.
As an important strategic and commercial center the city was subjected to raids of the barbarians for a long time. Despite the fierce resistance, in 536 Milan was captured by barbarian tribes. Restoration of Milan began only after the arrival of Lombards, who was replaced by troops of Charles the Great in 774. The seizure of power by Franks had rather religious nature, so the figure of the Archbishop was very important in Milan.
In 1152 during the Barbarossa invasion, the city was destroyed once more. After reconstruction it was ruled by seniors Torriani Visconti and dukes of Sforza from 1279 to 1555; in 1395 it became the capital of the duchy. Later Milan not once depended on foreign countries: Spain, France, and Austria, until in 1797 Napoleon made it the capital of the Transalpine Republic, and later in 1805 ”“ the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Then there was the period of Austrian ruling. In 1815-1859 Milan was the center of Lombardo – Venetian Kingdom, and in 1860 the city became a part of a united Italy.
Milan is the capital of fashion. In Milan during the year a great number of demonstrations of new fashion collections are held. Milan fashion shows rival similar fashion parades in Paris, London, and Rome. In central streets of Milan via Santo Spirito, via gesu and via Sant Andrea boutiques of all well-known brands and fashion houses are situated. The best and the most expensive shops are located in the street via Montenapoleone.
Milan is also a famous cultural center. Here priceless canvas of Leonardo da Vinci “The Last Supper”¯ is stored. Visiting Milan it is impossible to miss such masterpieces as the Duomo (Duomo di Milano), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and La Scala Theater. In Milan there is its own center, lively and pulsating place – Duomo Square, where several attractions are situated: the Cathedral, the monument to Vittorio Emmanuel, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II by Ercole Rosa is the center of Duomo Square and the place where tourists like to gather.
On the right of the Cathedral there is a yellow building of the Royal Palace, which was the building of the municipal government until 1138, and later it became the Visconti ducal palace. The palace was heavily damaged in 1943 during the bombing, but it was reconstructed and now there is a Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the Duomo Cathedral. No less than Duomo Cathedral interesting place – San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore (Corso Magenta), and the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio. It was built in the IV century but reconstructed in IX-XI centuries and now it is an excellent example of Lombard Romanesque style. It is also worth to pay attention to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie with a large dome by Donato Bramante (1492), which was built in the XV century. The church is also famous for the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci; Church of St. Lorenzo (Corso de Porta Ticinese) – early Christian church, which was rebuilt several times and saved the mosaic of the IV century.
For connoisseurs of art the excursions to the Pinacoteca di Š’rŠµrŠ° (“Brera Art Gallery”¯) – one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings, an outgrowth of the cultural program of the Brera Academy, which shares the site in the Palazzo Brera, Sforza Castle, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (gallery Ambroziana) would be interesting. Fans of speed and luxury cars likely will want to visit one of the most difficult trails of Formula One – Monza near Milan.
Milan is an attractive city not only for businessmen and culture-lovers: football fans would be interested in San Siro stadium; gourmets will be able to appreciate especial Milanese cuisine, especially panettone, typical bread of Milan, usually prepared for Christmas and New Year; night life attracts by the mass of entertainment to fit any tastes: concert halls and cinemas, discos and bars with live music, typical neighbourhoods, which are changed at night.
In addition to expensive clothing, shoes, and jewellery it is accepted to buy furniture in Milan. Even in the city center you can see a lot of shops selling designer cupboards, chairs, sofas, tables and chairs, lamps, and other necessary or absolutely unnecessary things. Due to the Milan Furniture Exhibition (early April), the city has become one of the world capitals of design.