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The Cultural Heart of Lombardy

  Newsletter Article

Interesting Facts About Milan

Milan has a population of about 1.3 million and is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy. Milan has played a key role as a hub of culture, fashion, and industry from Roman times to the present day.

Milan was founded by the Celtic Insubres tribe around 400 BC and was conquered by the Romans in 222 BC who renamed it Mediolanum (from the Gaelic-Celtic words medios and lanu for middle and plain), which eventually became the Italian name Milano. After Emperor Diocletian separated the Empire into East and West, Milan became capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 AD, and in 313 AD Emperor Constantine proclaimed the Edict of Milan here, which established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire. After the breakup of the Roman Empire, Milan was destroyed twice: In 539 AD by the Ostrogoths and in 1162 AD by Emperor Barbarossa.

Milan subsequently became a political and economic force and ultimately a bone of contention between the French kings and the Austrian Emperors. After the victory of Sardinia-Piedmont at the Battle of Solferino in 1859, Lombardy became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont and proved to be the cradle for the unification of Italy. Ingloriously, Benito Mussolini began his "March on Rome" in Milan in 1922, which brought the Fascist leader to power.

Despite wide-scale destruction during the Second World War, Milan still boasts many world-famous sights that are well worth visiting: Milan Cathedral, which was started in 1386 but only fully completed in 1965, is the third largest church in the world. However, the 579-year construction period is still a little bit less than Cologne Cathedral (632 years). Just as famous is La Scala, which opened in 1778 and has become one of the world's best-known opera houses. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall, should also be on your list of places to see, just like newer buildings such as the Pirelli Tower or the pavilions of the World "Expo", which was held in Milan in 2015.

Alongside Paris, New York, and London, Milan is known as a leading fashion capital. The Milan Fashion Week takes place twice a year - and is a must for the fashion elite. Many well-known Italian fashion brands, including Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are at home in the city.

Milan also plays a leading role in sport: Cycling's second most prestigious race, the Giro d'Italia, finishes in Milan, Formula One races are held at the track in Monza, and AC Milan and Inter Milan soccer clubs have ensured the capital of Lombardy is the only city that can boast two UEFA Champions League winners.

The BIKE-MI-Service provides a bicycle sharing system to discover the city:

We recommend the following bars and restaurants for evening entertainment:

The Yard Milan (
A bar serving typical Milanese appetizers and uniquely created drinks. It is a great place to start a tour of Milan's nightlife.

N'ombra de vin (

N'ombra de vin is located in the Brera district, hidden away in a labyrinth of small alleys that lead to one of the most famous museums in Milan: the Pinacoteca di Brera, which houses paintings by Hayez, Raffael, and Tizian.

Eataly (

Typical Italian market hall with restaurants and food stores offering lots of specialties to not just eat, but also to buy.

El Brellin (

Pizzeria Solo Pizza combines traditional, Milanese dishes with creative new ideas and a romantic atmosphere.