Milan, the capital of Lombardy, has a population of 1.3 million people. It is the biggest industrial city of Italy with many different industrial sectors. Milan is a dynamic, proactive and progressive city, with a strong competitive edge. Fashion, design, finance, and publishing are the driving forces behind the Milanese economy, along with chemicals, engineering, and advanced research. It has an ancient city centre with high and interesting buildings and palazzos, which is why so many people from all over the world want to see the city of glamour.
The first place anyone who lives in Milan will take a first-time visitor is of course Piazza del Duomo, the geographical and historical centre of Milan. Construction started under Gian Galeazzo Visconti, most likely 1386, and continued until the 19th century. The Duomo itself is one of the world’s largest churches; its impressive interior reveals its vertical Gothic spirit. It contains numerous works of art, including the tomb of Gian Giacomo Medici by Leone Leoni (1563). The Duomo is decorated with an amazing number of beautifully sculpted statues and spires. There are more statues on this building than any other in the world, 3159 in total. 2245 of these are on the exterior together with 96 gargoyles and 135 spires. The most famous of all these is the Madonnina (Little Madonna), a copper statue of the virgin Mary covered with 3900 pieces of gold leaf. It was cast in 1774 by goldsmith Giuseppe Bini and sculptor Giuseppe Perego.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, decorated with Leonardo da Vinci paintings such as The Last Supper, (UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 8 million visitors annually. Santa Maria delle Grazie is a splendid example of Renaissance architecture.In the oldest part of the church (in the Gothic style) are frescoes by Gaudenzio Ferrari and Marco d’Oggiono, as well as a monument to Ludovico il Moro. The 15th century “Madonna delle Grazie” in the left chapel of the tribune was much venerated during the plagues of the 16th and 17th century. In the chapel on the right was Titian’s “Crowning with thorns”, which the French took to Paris in the late 18th century, now in the Louvre.
Besides its monuments, Milan is also well known for its stylish and lively areas. The Navigli, canals lined by narrow alleyways and traditional houses with communal balconies, and the city’s “green oases”, with their picnic, entertainment and sports areas, preserve the feel of yesteryear Milan. Milan, like Venice, was for many centuries a navigable city due to an intricate system of canals that once crisscrossed the city. Back then, the city had a circular canal – the Cerchia dei Navigli – connected to three small ports: Santo Stefano (now Piazza Santo Stefano), San Marco (Piazza San Marco) and Sant’Eustorgio, which later became the Darsena di Porta Ticinese (Basin of Porta Ticinese).
While the highlight describe above give a measure of Milan’s attractiveness, there is indeed a lot more to it than this such as the original Sforza castle, built in 1368 and hosting 10 museum (works on display include Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini); Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the most important Italian art galleries; Teatro alla Scala, the famous opera house, designed by Piermarini, inaugurated in 1778. The city is also well known for several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, the largest of its kind in the world, and is the host for the second time of a Universal Exposition, the Expo 2015.