Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region, of the homonymous metropolitan city, and center of one of the most populated metropolitan areas of Europe.
Founded around 590 BC, perhaps with the name of Medhelan, near a sanctuary from a Celtic tribe belonging to the group of Insubri and belonging to the culture of Golasecca, it was conquered by the ancient Romans in 222 BC. and later from them renamed Mediolanum. With the passing of the centuries it increased its importance until becoming the capital of the Western Roman Empire, in which period the edict of Milan was promulgated, which granted to all citizens, therefore also to Christians, the freedom to honor their own divinity.
At the forefront of the struggle against the Holy Roman Empire in the communal age, it became the first lordship and then raised to a ducal dignity at the end of the 14th century, remaining at the center of the political and cultural life of Renaissance Italy. At the beginning of the 16th century it lost its independence in favor of the Spanish Empire and then passed, almost two centuries later, under the Austrian crown: thanks to the Habsburg policies, Milan became one of the main centers of Italian enlightenment. Capital of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, after the Restoration it was one of the most active centers of the Risorgimento until it entered the Kingdom of Italy, the Savoy.
Main economic and financial center of the Italian peninsula, Milan led its industrial development, setting up the “Industrial Triangle” with Turin and Genoa, especially during the economic boom years when industrial and urban growth also involved the neighboring cities, creating the vast Milanese metropolitan area. In the cultural field, Milan is the main Italian publishing center and is at the top of the world music circuit thanks to the opera season of the Teatro alla Scala and its long opera tradition. It is also among the main European exhibition centers and industrial design, and is considered one of the world’s fashion capitals.
Milan was founded around 590 BC, perhaps with the name of Medhelan, near a sanctuary by a Celtic tribe belonging to the group of Insubri and belonging to the culture of Golasecca. The primitive Celtic settlement that was later, from a topographical point of view, superimposed and replaced by the Roman one, was subsequently renamed by the ancient Romans, as attested by Tito Livio, Mediolanum. The Roman city was then gradually overlapped and replaced by the medieval one. The urban center of Milan has therefore constantly grown like wildfire, up until modern times, around the first Celtic nucleus.
Instead, according to the legendary tradition reported by Tito Livio and then taken up in the Middle Ages by Bonvesin de la Riva, the foundation of Milan took place in the VI century BC. in the place where a semilanuta sow was found, by the Celtic tribe led by Belloveso, who defeated the Etruscans, a population that until then had dominated the area.
According to archaeological findings, the Celtic oppidum must have had the same location and extension of the settlement of the Golasecca, which was older, but urban defensive works, probably built of wood and earth, have never come to light, an event that explains the attribution of the definition of “village” by Polibio and Strabo. The distribution map of the early Iron Age finds shows that the Golasecchian settlement (5th century BC) of Medhelan occupied an area of about 12 hectares near the modern Piazza della Scala.
Much of the artistic and architectural heritage of Milan is located in the historic center, which owes its current appearance to numerous urban changes carried out between the Unification of Italy and the first post-war period.
The symbol of the city is the metropolitan cathedral basilica of Santa Maria Nascente, better known as the Duomo of Milan, located in the square of the same name, the center of economic and cultural life in the city. A short distance away is the eighteenth-century Teatro alla Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world. To connect Piazza della Scala and Piazza del Duomo is the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery, a covered passage with eclectic-style iron and glass structures.
The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery
Another symbol of Milan is the Castello Sforzesco, originally conceived as an exclusively military structure, it was then redesigned as an elegant court for the lords of the city. Not far away are the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, considered the second most important church in the city, and the complex hosting the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie with the Leonardo’s Last Supper, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another site of considerable artistic interest is the Monumental Cemetery, which houses the tombs of the most illustrious Milanese citizens; of more modern realization you can find the Milano Centrale station, built in a style that combines the majesty of the fascist structures with Art Nouveau decorations, and the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, called La Scala del calcio. Of particular relevance is the Arco della Pace, a triumphal arch located at the beginning of Corso Sempione, which is one of the major neoclassical monuments of Milan.
The city is also rich in museums and art galleries; the most famous is certainly the Pinacoteca di Brera, which together with the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana is the network of the most famous art galleries in Milan. Another remarkable museum circuit is formed by the Milanese museum houses. The Triennale di Milano, home to exhibitions of modern art, forms the exhibition venues of the city for this type of art with the Milan Contemporary Art Pavilion. To these must be added the scientific museums, namely the Planetarium of Milan, the Astronomical Observatory of Brera, the Civic Museum of Natural History of Milan, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Civic Aquarium of Milan as well as the Tens of minor museums, including the Sforza Castle Museums.
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