Milan Tourist Attractions
Milan (Milano), capital of Lombardy and Italy's second largest city, lies in the northwest of the Po plain at the junction of several important traffic routes from the Alps.
Milan is Italy's principal industrial center, its most important railroad junction and its leading banking and commercial city. The main industries are textiles, the manufacture of cars, machinery and rolling-stock, chemicals (the Montecatini group) and papermaking.History
Milan is a city of predominantly modern aspect. Even the old town center around the Piazza del Duomo, though it still has many narrow old streets, is traversed by wide arteries radiating in all directions. Between the old town and the outer ring of bastioni, on the line of the Spanish ramparts built in 1549, is a zone of more modern streets, and farther out are the city's steadily expanding suburbs including "Milano 2" and "Milano 3". Since the Second World War large modern buildings, including tower blocks, have been erected in every part of the city.
Milan, founded by Celts about 400 B.C., was conquered by Rome in 222 B.C. and thereafter, as Mediolanum, became the second most important town in northern Italy (after Verona). Later it became one of the capitals of the Lombard and Frankish kingdoms. As capital of the Lombard League it led the opposition to the Hohenstaufens. In consequence it was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162, but was rebuilt five years later. Internal feuds between the nobility and the people led to the dominance of the Visconti family, who won control of much of northern Italy; and in 1395 Gian Galeazzo (d. 1402) gained the ducal title. In 1450 the Vicontis were succeeded by the dynasty founded by the mercenary leader Francesco Sforza, but the Sforza line died out in 1535, and the duchy then passed to Spain under Charles V. In 1714, after the War of the Spanish Succession, it was assigned to Austria, which apart from an interlude of French occupation in Napoleonic times (1796-1814) held on to it until 1859, in spite of repeated popular risings. In 1919 Mussolini founded the Fascist party in Milan; and in April 1945 the body of the fallen dictator was put on show in Piazzale Loreto. In the 1990s Milan has several times been the scene of outrages. In July 1993 an explosive device was detonated in the city, costing several lives and leading to demonstrations and strong protests throughout the country. The mayor of Milan said the "political Mafia" was responsible. In 1994 the "czar of the media", Silvo Berlusconi, entered politics and made his voice heard.
Remains of early Christian architecture have been preserved in one or two churches, notably San Lorenzo and Sant'Ambrogio. 13th century buildings are to be found mainly in the Piazza dei Mercanti. The Gothic period is represented almost exclusively by the cathedral. Around 1450 the Florentines Filarete and Michelozzo brought the Tuscan Early Renaissance to Milan (Ospedale Maggiore). The heyday of Milanese art began with the coming of Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci, who produced his major works here between 1485 and 1500; and these two masters influenced the work of subsequent generations of painters, including Andrea Solario, Bramantino, Luini, Sodoma and Gaudenzio Ferrari. The present aspect of central Milan is due to the architects of the Late Renaissance and Baroque periods, particularly Galeazzo Alessi and Pellegrino Tibaldi, the Neo-Classical architect Giuseppe Piermarini and two practitioners of the Empire style, Luigi Canonica and Luigi Cagnola. A competent Neo-Classical painter was Andrea Appiani.