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Milan City Guide

 Milan is one of the largest cities in Italy, located in the plains of Lombardy. The municipality has a population of 1.3 million. The Milan metropolitan area, depending on the specific definition, has a population ranging from 2.9 to 7.4 million. The municipal border covers a relatively small area because of the historical development of high density centres in agriculturally rich Lombardy.

Milan is renowned as one of the world capitals of design and fashion. The English word milliner is derived from the name of the city. The Lombard metropolis is famous for its fashion houses and shops (such as along via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo (reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall). The city hosted the World Exposition in 1906 and will host the Universal Expo in 2015. Inhabitants of Milan are referred to as "Milanese" (Italian: Milanesi or informally Meneghini or Ambrosiani). The Olona river, the Lambro river and the Seveso creek run through Milan. Olona and Seveso run mostly underground.


Under the Köppen climate classification Milan is typically classified as having a Humid subtropical climate (Cfa). In contrast to most of Italy, which is famous for a comfortable Mediterranean climate, Milan's winters are typically damp and cold, while summers are warm and quite muggy at times. Average temperatures are -3/+6°C in January and +15/+28°C in July. Snowfalls are relatively common in winter, even if in the last 15-20 years they have decreased in frequency and amount. The historic average of Milan's area is between 35 and 45 cm (16"/18"); single snowfalls over 30-50 cm in 1-3 days happen periodically, with a record of 80-100 cm during the famous snowfall of January 1985. Humidity is quite high during the whole year and annual precipitation averages about 1000 mm (40 in). In the stereotypical image, the city is often shrouded in the fog characteristic of the Po Basin, although the removal of rice fields from the southern neighbourhoods, urban heating effect and the reduction of pollution levels have reduced this phenomenon in recent years, at least in the downtown.

Milan Tourist Sites

Milan is one of the major artistic centres of northern Italy. Its chief landmarks include:

The Duomo, the world's largest collection of marble statues with the widely visible golden Madonna statue on top of the spire, la Madunina (little Madonna), the symbol of Milan.

Teatro alla Scala. Milan is also one of the most important centres in the world for Opera lirica, with his famous Teatro alla Scala (La Scala).

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a large, covered arcade linking the Duomo's piazza with the Teatro alla Scala.

The Castello Sforzesco

The Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio

The Palaeo-Christian Basilica of San Lorenzo

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana, containing drawings and notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci among its vast holdings of books, manuscripts, and drawings, and is one of the main repositories of European culture. The city is also the home of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.

 The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses one of the most famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper (L'ultima cena or Il cenacolo).

The church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro, with a famous trompe l'oeil traditionally ascribed to Bramante

The Cimitero Monumentale di Milano.

The Pinacoteca di Brera, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Poldi Pezzoli, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum and the Musei del Castello galleries, which host a great number of pictorial masterpieces.

The Future is Now!

At present, Milan is experiencing a significant architectural and urban design renaissance. Many new construction projects are under way with the aim of rehabilitating disused, peripheral industrial areas, including entire quarters. Examples of these projects include: the addition to the Teatro alla Scala; the CityLife project in the old "fiera" site; the new quarter Santa Giulia; and the Porta Nuova project in the Garibaldi-Repubblica zone. Famous architects are involved in the construction of this "new" Milan, such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas and Daniel Libeskind. These major works will give Milan a new skyline no longer dominated by the Duomo and the Pirelli Tower. This urban rebirth will continue due to the selection of Milan to host Expo 2015.

Milan is also well-known as the seat of the Alfa Romeo motorcar company, for its silk production, and as one of the world's capitals for fashion and a world leader for design.

Milan: Universities & Institutes

Science and medical:

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

Tethys Research Institute

 Architecture and engineering:

 Politecnico di Milano

 Business, economic and social:

 Bocconi University

Scuola Superiore di Direzione Aziendale – Bocconi

 Language, art and music:

 Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo alla Scala

Brera Academy Academy of Fine Arts of Brera

Università I.U.L.M.

Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano - NABA

Conservatorio Superiore "G. Verdi" di Milano

Scuola Beato Angelico

 Fashion and design:

 Domus Academy, Postgraduate School of Design

Istituto Europeo di Design

Istituto Marangoni

Politecnico di Milano - Facoltà del Design

SPD Scuola Politecnica Di Design

Sports Academy: 

 I.S.E.F. Milano – Centro accademico sportivo "Rino Fenaroli"

Milan City Transport


The city has a large international airport known as Malpensa International Airport (MXP), located near the industrial towns of Busto Arsizio and Gallarate and connected to the downtown with the "Malpensa Express" railway service (from Cadorna Station and central station ). Malpensa was designed by the famous Ettore Sottsass. Milan also has the Linate Airport (LIN) within the city limits (for European and domestic traffic), connected with bus line 73 (from S. Babila). A third airport is Orio al Serio (BGY), close to the city of Bergamo. Vergiate, Venegono, Bresso, Voghera and Montichiari are additional airports in the region.

Subways, Trams, & Buses:

Milan has 3 subway lines (M1 – red, M2 – green, M3 – yellow) and the system, called Milan Metro – "La Metro", running for more than 80 km. There is also a light metro-service, "Metrò S. Raffaele", connecting the San Raffaele Hospital with Cascina Gobba station (M2). Extensions of lines 1, 2 and 3 are under construction, to create more than 15 km of track with 10 new stations. Line 5 is also under construction, to be finished in the first half of 2012. Lines 4 (linking downtown with Linate Airport) and 6 are in planning stages.

The "Passante" is a railway tunnel under the city centre used by suburban trains, and allow passengers coming from suburbs a direct interchange to the three (soon to be four) metro lines at Garibaldi, Repubblica and P.ta Venezia stations.

Greater Milan also has one of the most extensive tramway systems in the world, with more than 286 km of track, and 20 lines. Milan also has four trolleybus routes; included in the fleet are ten air-conditioned Cristalis trolleybuses. Ninety-three bus lines cover over 1,070 km between them. The local transportation authority (ATM) transported more than 600 million passengers in 2003 .


Milan is the second railway hub of Italy, and the five major stations of Milan, amongst which the Milan Central station, are among Italy's busiest. The first railroad built in Milan, the Milan and Monza Rail Road was opened for service on August 17, 1840. High speed train lines are under construction all across Italy, and new lines will open from Milan to Rome and Naples, and from Milan to Torino.

Other than the Central Station, High Speed Trains will sometimes stop also at:

Milano Rogoredo (for trains coming from Bologna and Rome)

Milano/Rho Fiera (from Turin)

Milano Pioltello (from the planned high speed line from Venice)


The Suburban Railway Service ( "S" Lines, a service similar to the French RER and German S-Bahn), composed of eight suburban lines and ten more scheduled for 2008, connects the "Greater Milan" to cities such as Como and Varese. The Regional Railway Service ("R"), instead, links Milan with the rest of Lombardy and the national railway system. The "Passante ferroviario" is an underground railway serving a couple of "S" lines and is very much like another subway line (and is even marked as such on subway maps), except that it is connected to LeNord and Trenitalia suburban networks. See the map of the M (subway) + S (regional metropolitan railway) Network on msrmilano.com


Milan has a taxi service operated by private companies and licensed by the City of Milan (Comune di Milano). All taxis are the same color, white. Prices are based on time elapsed and distance traveled. As the number of licences is kept low by lobbying of present taxi drivers and finding a taxi may be difficult in rush hours, and almost impossible during public transportation strikes.

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