What You Need To Know

Milan is the second-most populous city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy. Milan has the third largest economy among EU cities (after London and Paris) and the largest among European non-capital cities. Milan is the main industrial, commercial, and financial centre of Italy and a leading global city. Its business district hosts the Borsa Italiana (Italy’s main stock exchange) and the headquarters of the largest national banks and companies. The city is a major world fashion and design capital. Milan’s museums, theaters and landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, the fifth-largest cathedral in the world, and Santa Maria delle Grazie, decorated with Leonardo da Vinci paintings such as The Last Supper, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 8 million visitors annually. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions and universities, with 185,000 enrolled students in 2011, i.e. 11 percent of the national total. 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.


Area: 181.8 km²
Population: 1.3 million





  • EURO

    The EURO is the official currency in Milan and is available in seven different bills and eight separate coins. The bills are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 denominations. The coins are available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.



Being the capital city of Italy, Rome hosts all the principal institutions of the nation, like the Presidency of the Republic, the government (and its single Minister), the Parliament, the main judicial Courts, and the diplomatic representatives of all the countries for the states of Italy and the Vatican City (curiously, Rome also hosts, in the Italian part of its territory, the Embassy of Italy for the Vatican City, a unique case of an Embassy within the boundaries of its own country). Many international institutions are located in Rome, notably cultural and scientific ones – such as the American Institute, the British School, the French Academy, the Scandinavian Institutes, the German Archaeological Institute – for the honour of scholarship in the Eternal City, and Specialized Agencies of the United Nations, such as the FAO. Rome, also hosts major international and worldwide political and cultural organisations, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Program (WFP), the NATO Defense College and ICCROM, the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property. Rome is currently an beta+ world city, falling down from its alpha- status in 2008, along with Berlin, Bucharest, Athens, Lisbon, Montreal and Budapest.



Italian is the official language.


Health and security

  • Healthcare is available to all citizens and residents through a mixed public/private system.
  • Law enforcement in Italy is provided by multiple police forces, five of which are national, Italian agencies.



Milan has a humid subtropical climate, the climate is similar to much of Northern Italy’s inland plains, with hot, sultry summers and cold, foggy winters. However, the mean number of days with precipitation per year is one of the lowest in Europe. The Alps and Apennines mountains form a natural barrier that protects the city from the major circulations coming from northern Europe and the sea.



While Rome is Italy’s political capital, Milan is the country’s economic and financial heart. With a 2010 GDP estimated at €132.5 billion, the province of Milan generates approximately 9% of the national GDP; while the economy of the Lombardy region generates approximately 20% of the Italy’s GDP (or an estimated €325 billion in 2010, roughly the size of Belgium).



Milan is a major national and international centre of the performing arts, most notably opera. Milan hosts La Scala opera house, considered one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.



Like most cities in Italy, Milan has developed its own local culinary tradition, which, as it is typical for North Italian cuisines, uses more frequently rice than pasta, butter than vegetable oil and features almost no tomato or fish. Milanese traditional dishes includes cotoletta alla milanese, a breaded veal (pork and turkey can be used) cutlet pan-fried in butter (similar to Viennese “Wienerschnitzel“). Other typical dishes are cassoeula (stewed pork rib chops and sausage with Savoy cabbage), ossobuco (braised veal shank served with a condiment called gremolata), risotto alla milanese (with saffron and beef marrow), busecca (stewed tripe with beans), and brasato (stewed beef or pork with wine and potatoes). Season-related pastries include chiacchiere (flat fritters dusted with sugar) and tortelli (fried spherical cookies) for Carnival, colomba (glazed cake shaped as a dove) for Easter, pane dei morti (“Deads’ Day bread”, cookies aromatized with cinnamon) for All Souls’ Day and panettone for Christmas. The salame Milano, a salami with a very fine grain, is widespread throughout Italy. Renowned Milanese cheeses are gorgonzola (from the namesake village nearby), mascarpone, used in pastry-making, taleggio and quartirolo.


Milan is one of southern Europe’s key transport nodes and one of Italy’s most important railway hubs. Its five major railway stations, such as the Milan Central station, are among Italy’s busiest. Since the end of 2009, two high speed train lines link Milan to Rome,Naples and Turin, considerably shortening travel times with other major cities in Italy. The Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) operates within the metropolitan area, managing a public transport network consisting of an underground rapid transit network and tram, trolley-bus and bus lines. Overall the network covers nearly 1,400 km (870 mi) reaching 86 municipalities. Besides public transport, ATM manages the interchange parking lots and other transportation services including bike sharing and car sharing systems.

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