Home of Italy's stock exchange, an industrial powerhouse and the internationally accepted arbiter of taste in fashion and design, Milan is a seething metropolis. At times it can seem brash and soulless but beneath the veneer is a serious sense of history and place. The grand Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, lies at the geographical heart of this one-time Imperial Roman capital, and expresses the love of beauty and power that still drives the city today.
Art collections old and new, unparalleled shopping, one of Europe's biggest trade-fair complexes, sparkling nightlife, the prestige of opera at La Scala, the mark of Leonardo da Vinci's genius, a religious addiction to calcio (football), and endless opportunities to eat the best of Lombard and Italian food make Milan much more than the puritanically work-obsessed city it is often portrayed as.
Source: Lonely Planet
Lombard, Milanese variant: Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region and the first most populous city in Italy. The population of the city proper is 1.3 million, while its urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of its metropolitan province), with a population estimated to be about 5.5 million, is the 5th-largest in the EU. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region of 7 to 10 million people. Milan is the main industrial and financial centre of Italy and one of global significance. In terms of GDP, it has the 3rd-largest economy among EU cities after London and Paris, and the largest among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the so-called Blue Banana and lies at the heart of one of the Four Motors for Europe.
Milan is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and companies. The city is a major world fashion and design capital, well known for several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students.
Milan's museums, theatres and landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle and Leonardo da Vinci paintings such as The Last Supper, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 9 million visitors annually. Milan is the second Italian city with the highest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide. The city hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. Milan is home to two of Europe's major football teams, AC Milan and FC Internazionale.