Milan (/mɪˈlæn/, also US: /mɪˈlɑːn/, Milanese: [miˈlãː]; Italian: Milano [miˈlaːno] (listen)) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,395,274 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,255,773. Its continuously built-up urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan) has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles). The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.
Milan is considered a leading alpha global city, with strengths in the field of the art, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's stock exchange and the headquarters of national and international banks and companies. In terms of GDP, it has the third-largest economy among European cities after Paris and London, but the fastest in growth among the three, and is the wealthiest among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and one of the "Four Motors for Europe".
The city has been recognized as one of the world's four fashion capitals thanks to several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently among the world's biggest in terms of revenue, visitors and growth. It hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students. Milan is the destination of 8 million overseas visitors every year, attracted by its museums and art galleries that include some of the most important collections in the world, including major works by Leonardo da Vinci. The city is served by many luxury hotels and is the fifth-most starred in the world by Michelin Guide. The city is home to two of Europe's most successful football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, and one of Italy's main basketball teams, Olimpia Milano. Milan, along with the ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The etymology of the name Milan (Lombard: Milan [miˈlãː]) remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain). However, some scholars believe that lanum comes from the Celtic root lan, meaning an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word llan, meaning "a sanctuary or church", ultimately cognate to English/German Land) in which Celtic communities used to build shrines. Hence Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a Celtic tribe. Indeed, about sixty Gallo-Roman sites in France bore the name "Mediolanum", for example: Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum). In addition, another theory links the name to the boar sow (the Scrofa semilanuta) an ancient emblem of the city, fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as "half-wool", explained in Latin and in French.
The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar; therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool." Alciato credits Ambrose for his account.
The Celtic Insubres, the inhabitants of the region of northern Italy called Insubria, appear to have founded Milan around 600 BC. According to the legend reported by Livy (writing between 27 and 9 BC), the Gaulish king Ambicatus sent his nephew Bellovesus into northern Italy at the head of a party drawn from various Gaulish tribes; this Bellovesus allegedly founded Mediolanum in the time of Tarquinius Priscus, who traditionally reigned from 616 to 579 BC, according to this legend. The Romans, led by consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, fought the Insubres and captured the city in 222 BC; the chief of the Insubres submitted to Rome, giving the Romans control of the city. They eventually conquered the entirety of the region, calling the new province "Cisalpine Gaul" (Latin: Gallia Cisalpina) – "Gaul this side of the Alps" – and may have given the site its Latinized Celtic name of Mediolanum: in Gaulish medio- meant "middle, center" and the name element -lanon is the Celtic equivalent of Latin -planum "plain", thus Mediolanon (Latinized as Mediolānum) meant "(settlement) in the midst of the plain".
Diocletian himself chose to reside at Nicomedia in the Eastern Empire, leaving his colleague Maximian at Milan. Maximian built several gigantic monuments, the large circus (470 × 85 metres), the thermae or "Baths of Hercules", a large complex of imperial palaces and other services and buildings of which fewer visible traces remain. Maximian increased the city area surrounded by a new, larger stone wall (about 4.5 km long) encompassing an area of 375 acres with many 24-sided towers. The monumental area had twin towers; one included in the convent of San Maurizio Maggiore remains 16.6 m high.
From Mediolanum the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, granting tolerance to all religions within the Empire, and thus paving the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion of Roman Europe. Constantine had come to Mediolanum to celebrate the wedding of his sister to the Eastern Emperor, Licinius. In 402 the Visigoths besieged the city and the Emperor Honorius moved the Imperial residence to Ravenna. In 452 Attila in his turn besieged Mediolanum, but the real break with the city's Imperial past came in 539, during the Gothic War, when Uraia (a nephew of Witiges, formerly King of the Italian Ostrogoths), laid Mediolanum to waste with great loss of life. The Lombards took Ticinum as their capital in 572 (renaming it Papia – the modern Pavia), and left early-medieval Milan to the governance of its archbishops.
After the city was besieged by the Visigoths in 402, the imperial residence was moved to Ravenna. An age of decline began which worsened when Attila, King of the Huns, sacked and devastated the city in 452 AD. In 539, the Ostrogoths conquered and destroyed Milan during the Gothic War against Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. In the summer of 569 the Lombards (from which the name of the Italian region Lombardy derives), conquered Milan, overpowering the small Byzantine garrison left for its defence. Some Roman structures remained in use in Milan under Lombard rule. Milan surrendered to Charlemagne and the Franks in 774.
The 11th century saw a reaction against the control of the German emperors. The city-state was born, an expression of the new political power of the city and its will to fight against all feudal powers. Milan was no exception. It did not take long, however, for the City States to begin fighting each other to try to limit neighbouring powers. The Milanese destroyed Lodi and continuously warred with Pavia, Cremona and Como, who in turn asked the Emperor of Germany, Frederick I Barbarossa for help. This brought the destruction of much of Milan in 1162. A fire destroyed the storehouses containing the entire food supply, and within just a few days Milan was forced to surrender.
A period of peace followed and Milan prospered as a centre of trade due to its position. As a result of the independence that the Lombard cities gained in the Peace of Constance in 1183, Milan became a duchy. In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died without a male heir; following the end of the Visconti line, the Ambrosian Republic was established; it took its name from St. Ambrose, the popular patron saint of the city. Both the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions worked together to bring about the Ambrosian Republic in Milan. Nonetheless, the Republic collapsed when, in 1450, Milan was conquered by Francesco I of the House of Sforza, which made Milan one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.
Milan's last independent ruler, Lodovico il Moro, called French king Charles VIII into Italy in the expectation that France might be an ally against other Italian statelets. The future king of France, Louis of Orléans, took part in the expedition and realised Italy was virtually defenceless. This prompted him to come back a few years later in 1500, and claim the Duchy of Milan for himself, his grandmother having been a member of the ruling Visconti family. At that time, Milan was also defended by Swiss mercenaries. After the victory of Louis's successor François I over the Swiss at the Battle of Marignan, the duchy was promised to the French king François I. When the Spanish Habsburg Emperor Charles V defeated François I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, northern Italy, including Milan, passed to Habsburg Spain.
In 1556, Charles V abdicated in favour of his son Philip II and his brother Ferdinand I. Charles's Italian possessions, including Milan, passed to Philip II and remained with the Spanish line of Habsburgs, while Ferdinand's Austrian line of Habsburgs ruled the Holy Roman Empire.
The Great Plague of Milan in 1629–31 killed an estimated 60,000 people out of a population of 130,000. This episode is considered one of the last outbreaks of the centuries-long pandemic of plague that began with the Black Death.
In 1700 the Spanish line of Habsburgs was extinguished with the death of Charles II. After his death, the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 with the occupation of all Spanish possessions by French troops backing the claim of the French Philippe of Anjou to the Spanish throne. In 1706, the French were defeated in Ramillies and Turin and were forced to yield northern Italy to the Austrian Habsburgs. In 1713–1714 the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt formally confirmed Austrian sovereignty over most of Habsburg Spain's Italian possessions including Lombardy and its capital, Milan.
On 18 March 1848, the Milanese rebelled against Austrian rule, during the so-called "Five Days" (Italian: Le Cinque Giornate), and Field Marshal Radetzky was forced to withdraw from the city temporarily. The Kingdom of Sardinia stepped in to help the insurgents; a plebiscite held in Lombardy decided in favour of unification with Sardinia. However, after defeating the Sardinian forces at Custoza on 24 July, Radetzky was able to reassert Austrian control over Milan and northern Italy. A few years on, however, Italian nationalists again called for the removal of Austria and Italian unification. Sardinia and France formed an alliance and defeated Austria at the Battle of Solferino in 1859. Following this battle, Milan and the rest of Lombardy were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia, which soon gained control of most of Italy and in 1861 was rechristened as the Kingdom of Italy.
The political unification of Italy cemented Milan's commercial dominance over northern Italy. It also led to a flurry of railway construction that had started under Austrian patronage (Venice–Milan; Milan–Monza) that made Milan the rail hub of northern Italy. Thereafter with the opening of the Gotthard (1881) and Simplon (1906) railway tunnels, Milan became the major South European rail focus for business and passenger movements e.g. the Simplon Orient Express. Rapid industrialization and market expansion put Milan at the centre of Italy's leading industrial region, including extensive stone quarries that have led to much of the air pollution we see today in the region. In the 1890s Milan was shaken by the Bava-Beccaris massacre, a riot related to a high inflation rate. Meanwhile, as Milanese banks dominated Italy's financial sphere, the city became the country's leading financial centre.
In 1919, Benito Mussolini's Blackshirts rallied for the first time in Piazza San Sepolcro and later began their March on Rome in Milan. During the Second World War Milan suffered extensive damage from Allied bombings. When Italy surrendered in 1943, German forces occupied most of Northern Italy until 1945. As a result, resistance groups formed. As the war came to an end, the American 1st Armored Division advanced on Milan—but before they arrived, the resistance seized control of the city and executed Mussolini along with several members of his government. On 29 April 1945, the corpses of Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci and other Fascist leaders were hanged in Piazzale Loreto.
During the post-war economic boom, a large wave of internal migration (especially from rural areas of Southern Italy) moved to Milan. The population grew from 1.3 million in 1951 to 1.7 million in 1967. During this period, Milan was largely reconstructed, with the building of several innovative and modernist skyscrapers, such as the Torre Velasca and the Pirelli Tower. The economic prosperity was, however, overshadowed in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the so-called Years of Lead, when Milan witnessed an unprecedented wave of street violence, labour strikes and political terrorism. The apex of this period of turmoil occurred on 12 December 1969, when a bomb exploded at the National Agrarian Bank in Piazza Fontana, killing seventeen people and injuring eighty-eight.
In the 1980s, with the international success of Milanese houses (like Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana), Milan became one of the world's fashion capitals. The city saw also a marked rise in international tourism, notably from America and Japan, while the stock exchange increased its market capitalisation more than five-fold. This period led the mass media to nickname the metropolis "Milano da bere", literally "Milan to drink". However, in the 1990s, Milan was badly affected by Tangentopoli, a political scandal in which many politicians and businessmen were tried for corruption. The city was also affected by a severe financial crisis and a steady decline in textiles, automobile and steel production.
In the early 21st century, Milan underwent a series of sweeping redevelopments. Its exhibition centre moved to a much larger site in Rho. New business districts such as Porta Nuova and CityLife were constructed. With the decline in manufacturing, the city has sought to develop on its other sources of revenue, including publishing, finance, banking, fashion design, information technology, logistics, transport and tourism. In addition, the city's decades-long population decline seems to have come to an end in recent years, with signs of recovery as it grew by seven percent since the last census.
Milan is located in the north-western section of the Po Valley, approximately halfway between the river Po to the south and the foothills of the Alps with the great lakes (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano) to the north, the Ticino river to the west and the Adda to the east. The city's land is flat, the highest point being at 122 m (400.26 ft) above sea level.
The administrative commune covers an area of about 181 square kilometres (70 sq mi), with a population, in 2013, of 1,324,169 and a population density of 7,315 inhabitants per square kilometre (18,950/sq mi). The Metropolitan City of Milan covers 1,575 square kilometres (608 sq mi) and in 2015 had a population estimated at 3,196,825, with a resulting density of 2,029 inhabitants per square kilometre (5,260/sq mi). A larger urban area, comprising parts of the provinces of Milan, Monza e Brianza, Como, Lecco and Varese is 1,891 square kilometres (730 sq mi) wide and has a population of 5,270,000 with a density of 2,783 inhabitants per square kilometre (7,210/sq mi).
The concentric layout of the city centre reflects the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. The suburbs of the city have expanded mainly to the north, swallowing up many communes to reach Varese, Como, Lecco and Bergamo.
Milan has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), according to the Köppen climate classification. Milan's climate is similar to much of Northern Italy's inland plains, with hot, humid summers and cold, foggy winters. The Alps and Apennine Mountains form a natural barrier that protects the city from the major circulations coming from northern Europe and the sea.
During winter, daily average temperatures can fall below freezing (0 °C [32 °F]) and accumulations of snow can occur: the historic average of Milan's area is 25 centimetres (10 in) in the period between 1961 and 1990, with a record of 90 centimetres (35 in) in January 1985. In the suburbs the average can reach 36 centimetres (14 in). The city receives on average seven days of snow per year.
The city is often shrouded in heavy fog, although the removal of rice paddies from the southern neighbourhoods and the urban heat island effect have reduced this occurrence in recent decades. Occasionally, the Foehn winds cause the temperatures to rise unexpectedly: on 22 January 2012 the daily high reached 16 °C (61 °F) while on 22 February 2012 it reached 21 °C (70 °F). Air pollution levels rise significantly in wintertime when cold air clings to the soil, causing Milan to be one of Europe's most polluted cities.
In summer, humidity levels are high and peak temperatures can reach temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). Usually this season enjoys clearer skies with an average of more than 13 hours of daylight: when precipitations occur though, there is a higher likelihood of them being thunderstorms and hailstorms. Springs and autumns are generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F); these seasons are characterized by higher rainfall, especially in April and May. Relative humidity typically ranges between 45% (comfortable) and 95% (very humid) throughout the year, rarely dropping below 27% (dry) and reaching as high as 100% Wind is generally absent: over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 0 to 14 km/h (0 to 9 mph) (calm to gentle breeze), rarely exceeding 29 km/h (18 mph) (fresh breeze), except during summer thunderstorms when winds can blow strong. In the spring, gale-force windstorms may happen, generated either by Tramontane blowing from the Alps or by Bora-like winds from the north.
The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council (Consiglio Comunale), which in cities with more than one million population is composed by 48 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee (Giunta Comunale), composed by 12 assessors, that is nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor. The current mayor of Milan is Giuseppe Sala, a left-wing independent leading a progressive alliance composed by Democratic Party and Italian Left.
The municipality of Milan is subdivided into nine administrative Borough Councils (Consigli di Municipio), down from the former twenty districts before the 1999 administrative reform. Each Borough Council is governed by a Council (Consiglio) and a President, elected contextually to the city Mayor. The urban organisation is governed by the Italian Constitution (art. 114), the Municipal Statute and several laws, notably the Legislative Decree 267/2000 or Unified Text on Local Administration (Testo Unico degli Enti Locali). After the 2016 administrative reform, the Borough Councils have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics and are responsible for running most local services, such as schools, social services, waste collection, roads, parks, libraries and local commerce; in addition they are supplied with an autonomous funding in order to finance local activities.
Milan is the capital of the eponymous Metropolitan city and of Lombardy, one of the twenty regions of Italy. While the Metropolitan city of Milan has a population of 3,277,524, making it the second-most populated metropolitan city of Italy after Rome, Lombardy is by far the most populated region of Italy, with more than ten million inhabitants, almost one sixth of the national total. The seat of the regional government is Palazzo Lombardia that, standing at 161.3 metres (529 feet), is the fifth-tallest building in Milan.
According to the last governmental dispositions concerning administrative reorganisation, the urban area of Milan is one of the 15 Metropolitan municipalities (città metropolitane), new administrative bodies fully operative since 1 January 2015. The new Metro municipalities, giving large urban areas the administrative powers of a province, are conceived for improving the performance of local administrations and to slash local spending by better co-ordinating the municipalities in providing basic services (including transport, school and social programs) and environment protection. In this policy framework, the Mayor of Milan is designated to exercise the functions of Metropolitan mayor (Sindaco metropolitano), presiding over a Metropolitan Council formed by 24 mayors of municipalities within the Metro municipality. Milan is divided into 9 boroughs.
The Metropolitan City of Milan is headed by the Metropolitan Mayor (Sindaco metropolitano) and by the Metropolitan Council (Consiglio metropolitano). Since 21 June 2016 Giuseppe Sala, as mayor of the capital city, has been the mayor of the Metropolitan City.
There are two main areas which dominate Milan's skyline: the Porta Nuova area in the north-east (boroughs n° 9 and 2) and the CityLife area (borough n° 8). The tallest buildings include the Unicredit Tower at 231 m (though only 162 m without the tower), and the 209 m Allianz Tower, which has 50 floors.
There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony, notably the well-preserved Colonne di San Lorenzo. During the second half of the 4th century, Saint Ambrose, as bishop of Milan, had a strong influence on the layout of the city, reshaping the centre (although the cathedral and baptistery built in Roman times are now lost) and building the great basilicas at the city gates: Sant'Ambrogio, San Nazaro in Brolo, San Simpliciano and Sant'Eustorgio, which still stand, refurbished over the centuries, as some of the finest and most important churches in Milan. Milan's Cathedral, built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth-largest cathedral in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. The gilt bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, placed in 1774 on the highest pinnacle of the Duomo, soon became one of the most enduring symbols of Milan.
In the 15th century, when the Sforza ruled the city, an old Viscontean fortress was enlarged and embellished to become the Castello Sforzesco, the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park. Notable architects involved in the project included the Florentine Filarete, who was commissioned to build the high central entrance tower, and the military specialist Bartolomeo Gadio. The alliance between Francesco Sforza and Florence's Cosimo de' Medici bore to Milan Tuscan models of Renaissance architecture, apparent in the Ospedale Maggiore and Bramante's work in the city, which includes Santa Maria presso San Satiro (a reconstruction of a small 9th-century church), the tribune of Santa Maria delle Grazie and three cloisters for Sant'Ambrogio. The Counter-Reformation in the 16th to 17th centuries was also the period of Spanish domination and was marked by two powerful figures: Saint Charles Borromeo and his cousin, Cardinal Federico Borromeo. Not only did they impose themselves as moral guides to the people of Milan, but they also gave a great impulse to culture, with the creation of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, in a building designed by Francesco Maria Ricchino, and the nearby Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Many notable churches and Baroque mansions were built in the city during this period by the architects, Pellegrino Tibaldi, Galeazzo Alessi and Ricchino himself.
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria was responsible for the significant renovations carried out in Milan during the 18th century. This urban and artistic renewal included the establishment of Teatro alla Scala, inaugurated in 1778, and the renovation of the Royal Palace. The late 1700s Palazzo Belgioioso by Giuseppe Piermarini and Royal Villa of Milan by Leopoldo Pollack, later the official residence of Austrian viceroys, are often regarded among the best examples of Neoclassical architecture in Lombardy. The Napoleonic rule of the city in 1805–1814, having established Milan as the capital of a satellite Kingdom of Italy, took steps in order to reshape it accordingly to its new status, with the construction of large boulevards, new squares (Porta Ticinese by Luigi Cagnola and Foro Bonaparte by Giovanni Antonio Antolini) and cultural institutions (Art Gallery and the Academy of Fine Arts). The massive Arch of Peace, situated at the bottom of Corso Sempione, is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the second half of the 19th century, Milan quickly became the main industrial centre of the new Italian nation, drawing inspiration from the great European capitals that were hubs of the Second Industrial Revolution. The great Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, realised by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877 to celebrate Vittorio Emanuele II, is a covered passage with a glass and cast iron roof, inspired by the Burlington Arcade in London. Another late-19th-century eclectic monument in the city is the Cimitero Monumentale graveyard, built in a Neo-Romanesque style between 1863 and 1866.
The tumultuous period of early 20th century brought several, radical innovations in Milanese architecture. Art Nouveau, also known as Liberty in Italy, is recognisable in Palazzo Castiglioni, built by architect Giuseppe Sommaruga between 1901 and 1903. Other examples include Hotel Corso, Casa Guazzoni with its wrought iron and staircase, and Berri-Meregalli house, the latter built in a traditional Milanese Art Nouveau style combined with elements of neo-Romanesque and Gothic revival architecture, regarded as one of the last such types of architecture in the city. A new, more eclectic form of architecture can be seen in buildings such as Castello Cova, built the 1910s in a distinctly neo-medieval style, evoking the architectural trends of the past. An important example of Art Deco, which blended such styles with Fascist architecture, is the huge Central railway station inaugurated in 1931.
The post–World War II period saw rapid reconstruction and fast economic growth, accompanied by a nearly two-fold increase in population. In the 1950s and 1960s, a strong demand for new residential and commercial areas drove to extreme urban expansion, that has produced some of the major milestones in the city's architectural history, including Gio Ponti's Pirelli Tower (1956–60), Velasca Tower (1956–58), and the creation of brand new residential satellite towns, as well as huge amounts of low quality public housings. In recent years, de-industrialization, urban decay and gentrification led to a vast urban renewal of former industrial areas, that have been transformed into modern residential and financial districts, notably Porta Nuova in downtown Milan and FieraMilano in the suburb of Rho. In addition, the old exhibition area is being completely reshaped according to the Citylife regeneration project, featuring residencial areas, museums, an urban park and three skyscrapers designed by international architects, and after whom they are named: the 202-metre (663-foot) Isozaki Arata—when completed, the tallest building in Italy, the twisted Hadid Tower, and the curved Libeskind Tower.
The largest parks in the central area of Milan are Sempione Park, at the north-western edge, and Montanelli Gardens, situated northeast of the city. English-style Sempione Park, built in 1890, contains a Napoleonic Arena, the Milan City Aquarium, a steel lattice panoramic tower, an art exhibition centre, a Japanese garden and a public library. The Montanelli gardens, created in the 18th century, hosts the Natural History Museum of Milan and a planetarium. Slightly away from the city centre, heading east, Forlanini Park is characterised by a large pond and a few preserved shacks which remind of the area's agricultural past.
In addition, even though Milan is located in one of the most urbanised regions of Italy, it's surrounded by a belt of green areas and features numerous gardens even in its very centre. Since 1990, the farmlands and woodlands north (Parco Nord Milano) and south (Parco Agricolo Sud Milano) of the urban area have been protected as regional parks. West of the city, the Parco delle Cave (Sand pit park) has been established on a neglected site where gravel and sand used to be extracted, featuring artificial lakes and woods.
With rapid industrialisation in post-war years, the population of Milan peaked at 1,743,427 in 1973. Thereafter, during the following thirty years, almost one third of the population moved to the outer belt of new suburbs and satellite settlements that grew around the city proper. There were an estimated 1,368,590 official residents in the municipality of Milan at the end of 2016 and 3,218,201 in its province-level municipality. However, Milan's urban area extends well beyond the limits of its administrative comune and was home to 5,270,000 people in 2015, while its wider, polycentric metropolitan area is estimated to have a population exceeding 8 million.
As of 2016, some 260,421 foreign residents lived in the municipality of Milan, representing 19% of the total resident population. These figures suggest that the immigrant population has more than doubled in the last 15 years. After World War II, Milan experienced two main waves of immigration: the first, dating from the 1950s to the early 1970s, saw a large influx of migrants from poorer and rural areas within Italy; the second, starting from the late 1980s, has been characterised by the preponderance of foreign-born immigrants. The early period coincided with the so-called Italian economic miracle of postwar years, an era of extraordinary growth based on rapid industrial expansion and great public works, that brought to the city a large influx of over 400,000 people, mainly from rural and overpopulated Southern Italy. In the last three decades, the foreign born share of the population soared. Immigrants came mainly from Africa (in particular Eritrean, Egyptian, Moroccans, Senegalese, and Nigerian), and the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (notably Albania, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Moldova, and Russia), in addition to a growing number of Asians (in particular Chinese, Sri Lankans and Filipinos) and Latin Americans (Mainly South Americans). At the beginning of the 1990s, Milan already had a population of foreign-born residents of approximately 58,000 (or 4% of the then population), that rose rapidly to over 117,000 by the end of the decade (about 9% of the total).
Decades of continuing high immigration have made the city the most cosmopolitan and multicultural in Italy. Milan notably hosts the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy, with almost 21,000 people in 2011. Situated in the 9th district, and centred on Via Paolo Sarpi, an important commercial avenue, the Milanese Chinatown was originally established in the 1920s by immigrants from Wencheng County, in the Zhejiang province, and used to operate small textile and leather workshops. Milan has also a substantial English-speaking community (more than 3,000 American, British and Australian expatriates), and several English schools and language publications, such as Hello Milano, Where Milano and Easy Milano.
Milan's population, like that of Italy as a whole, is mostly Catholic. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan. The city is also home to sizeable Orthodox, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant communities.
Milan has its own historic Catholic rite known as the Ambrosian Rite (Italian: Rito ambrosiano). It varies slightly from the typical Catholic rite (the Roman, used in all other western regions), with some differences in the liturgy and mass celebrations, in the Canons are Easter and Lent, in the colour of liturgical vestments, peculiar use of incense, marriage form, office for the dead, baptism by immersion, and in the calendar (for example, the date for the beginning of lent is celebrated some days after the common date, so the carnival has different date). The season of Advent is of six weeks duration and starts on the Sunday after the feast of Saint Martin (11 November). The Ambrosian rite is also practised in other surrounding locations in Lombardy, parts of Piedmont and in the Swiss canton of Ticino. The sounding of church bells uses a peculiar technique. Another important difference concerns the liturgical music. The Gregorian chant was completely unused in Milan and surrounding areas, because the official one was its own Ambrosian chant, definitively established by the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and earlier than the Gregorian. To preserve this music there has developed the unique schola cantorum, a college, and an Institute called PIAMS (Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of Sacred Music), in partnership with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music (PIMS) in Rome.
The Milan Synagogue was designed by Luca Beltrami in 1892. The Anglican Episcopal Church of All Saints Milan was built in 1896. In 1998 the construction of the Mosque of Segrate was completed. This was the first mosque with a dome and minaret in Italy since the destruction of the last mosques of Lucera in 1300. In 2014 the City Council agreed on the construction of another mosque next to the area of the former sport venue Palatrussardi.
While Rome is Italy's political capital, Milan is the country's industrial and financial heart. With a 2014 GDP estimated at €158.9 billion, the province of Milan generates approximately 10% of the national GDP; while the economy of the Lombardy region generates approximately 22% of Italy's GDP (or an estimated €357 billion in 2015, roughly the size of Belgium). The province of Milan is home to about 45% of businesses in the Lombardy region and more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including three Fortune 500 companies. Milan also contains Via Monte Napoleone (Monte Napoleone Street), Europe's most expensive street.
Milan is close to the top 20% of the 327 OECD metropolitan areas with highest GDP per capita. In terms of PM 2.5 levels Milan is among the 10% most polluted OECD metropolitan areas. 
Milan is, since the late 1800s, an important industrial and manufacturing center, especially for the automotive industry, with companies such as Alfa Romeo, Pirelli and Techint having a significant presence in the city. Other important products manufactured in Milan include machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics, health, chemicals and biotechnologies, food & beverage.
The city is home to many media and advertising agencies, national newspapers and telecommunication companies, including both the public service broadcaster RAI and private television companies like Mediaset, La7 and Sky Italia. The city hosts the headquarters of the largest Italian publishing companies, such as Feltrinelli, Mondadori, RCS Media Group, Messaggerie Italiane, and Giunti Editore. Milan has also seen a rapid increase in internet companies with both domestic and international companies such as Altavista, Google, Lycos, Virgilio and Yahoo! establishing their Italian operations in the city.
As Italy's financial hub numerous headquarters of insurance companies as (Alleanza Assicurazioni, Vittoria Assicurazioni) as well as many banking groups (198 companies), including Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, Banca Mediolanum and UniCredit and over forty foreign banks are located in the city. Also, most asset management companies are based in Milan, including Azimut Holding, ARCA SGR, and Eurizon Capital. The Associazione Bancaria Italiana representing the Italian banking system and Milan Stock Exchange (225 companies listed on the stock exchange) are both located in the city.
Milan is a major world fashion centre, where the sector can count on 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets (with brands such as Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino and Luxottica), while four weeks a year are dedicated to top shows and other fashion events. The city is also a global hub for trade and design. The city successfully hosted Expo 2015. FieraMilano, the historical city trade fair operator, operates one of the largest expo areas in the world and the second in Europe (after Hannover) in the northern suburb of Rho, responsible for fairs such as Milan Furniture Fair, EICMA, EMO on 0.7 mln m² of exhibition areas with about 4.5 million visitors every year.
Porta Nuova is the main business district of Milan, and one of the most important in Italy. Accenture, AXA, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Celgene, China Construction Bank, Finanza & Futuro Banca, FinecoBank, FM Global, Google, Herbalife, HSBC, KPMG, Maire Tecnimont, Microsoft, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Samsung, Shire, Tata Consultancy Services, Telecom Italia, UniCredit, UnipolSai and many other companies have their main Italian headquarters located there.
Tourism is an increasingly important part of the city's economy: with 8.81 million registered international arrivals in 2018 (up 9.92% on the previous year), Milan ranked as the world's 15th-most visited city.
Milan is home to many cultural institutions, museums and art galleries, that account for about a tenth of the national total of visitors and receipts. The Pinacoteca di Brera is one of Milan's most important art galleries. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian painting, including masterpieces such as the Brera Madonna by Piero della Francesca. The Castello Sforzesco hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions, especially statues, ancient arms and furnitures, as well as the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, with an art collection including Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna's Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript. The Castello complex also includes The Museum of Ancient Art, The Furniture Museum, The Museum of Musical Instruments and the Applied Arts Collection, The Egyptian and Prehistoric sections of the Archaeological Museum and the Achille Bertarelli Print Collection.
Milan's figurative art flourished in the Middle Ages, and with the Visconti family being major patrons of the arts, the city became an important centre of Gothic art and architecture (Milan Cathedral being the city's most formidable work of Gothic architecture). Leonardo worked in Milan from 1482 until 1499. He was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The city was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, and hosted numerous formidable artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio and Francesco Hayez, which several important works are hosted in Brera Academy. The Museum of Risorgimento is specialised on the history of Italian unification Its collections include iconic paintings like Baldassare Verazzi's Episode from the Five Days and Francesco Hayez's 1840 Portrait of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. The Triennale is a design museum and events venue located in Palazzo dell'Arte, in Sempione Park. It hosts exhibitions and events highlighting contemporary Italian design, urban planning, architecture, music, and media arts, emphasising the relationship between art and industry.
Milan in the 20th century was the epicentre of the Futurist artistic movement. Filippo Marinetti, the founder of Italian Futurism wrote in his 1909 "Manifesto of Futurism" (in Italian, Manifesto Futuristico), that Milan was "grande...tradizionale e futurista" ("grand...traditional and futuristic", in English). Umberto Boccioni was also an important Futurism artist who worked in the city. Today, Milan remains a major international hub of modern and contemporary art, with numerous modern art galleries. The Modern Art Gallery, situated in the Royal Villa, hosts collections of Italian and European painting from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The Museo del Novecento, situated in the Palazzo dell'Arengario, is one of the most important art galleries in Italy about 20th-century art; of particular relevance are the sections dedicated to Futurism, Spatialism and Arte povera. In the early 1990s architect David Chipperfield was invited to convert the premises of the former Ansaldo Factory into a Museum. Museo delle Culture (MUDEC) opened in April 2015. The Gallerie di Piazza Scala, a modern and contemporary museum located in Piazza della Scala in the Palazzo Brentani and the Palazzo Anguissola, hosts 195 artworks from the collections of Fondazione Cariplo with a strong representation of nineteenth-century Lombard painters and sculptors, including Antonio Canova and Umberto Boccioni. A new section was opened in the Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana in 2012. Other private ventures dedicated to contemporary art include the exhibiting spaces of the Prada Foundation and HangarBicocca. The Nicola Trussardi Foundation is renewed for organising temporary exhibition in venues around the city. Milan is also home to many public art projects, with a variety of works that range from sculptures to murals to pieces by internationally renowned artists, including Arman, Kengiro Azuma, Francesco Barzaghi, Alberto Burri, Pietro Cascella, Maurizio Cattelan, Leonardo Da Vinci, Giorgio de Chirico, Kris Ruhs, Emilio Isgrò, Fausto Melotti, Joan Miró, Carlo Mo, Claes Oldenburg, Igor Mitoraj, Gianfranco Pardi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Carlo Ramous, Aldo Rossi, Aligi Sassu, Giuseppe Spagnulo and Domenico Trentacoste.
Milan is a major national and international centre of the performing arts, most notably opera. The city hosts La Scala operahouse, considered one of the world's most prestigious, having throughout history witnessed the premieres of numerous operas, such as Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi in 1842, La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini in 1904, Turandot by Puccini in 1926, and more recently Teneke, by Fabio Vacchi in 2007. Other major theatres in Milan include the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Teatro Dal Verme, Teatro Lirico and formerly the Teatro Regio Ducal. The city is also the seat of a renowned symphony orchestra and musical conservatory, and has been, throughout history, a major centre for musical composition: numerous famous composers and musicians such as Gioseppe Caimo, Simon Boyleau, Hoste da Reggio, Verdi, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, Paolo Cherici and Alice Edun lived and worked in Milan. The city is also the birthplace of many modern ensembles and bands, including Camaleonti, Camerata Mediolanense, Gli Spioni, Dynamis Ensemble, Elio e le Storie Tese, Krisma, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Quartetto Cetra, Stormy Six and Le Vibrazioni.
Milan is widely regarded as a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture. In the 1950s and 60s, as the main industrial centre of Italy and one of Europe's most dynamic cities, Milan became a world capital of design and architecture. There was such a revolutionary change that Milan's fashion exports accounted for US$726 million in 1952, and by 1955 that number grew to US$72.5 billion. Modern skyscrapers, such as the Pirelli Tower and the Torre Velasca were built, and artists such as Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni gathered in the city. Today, Milan is still particularly well known for its high-quality furniture and interior design industry. The city is home to FieraMilano, Europe's largest permanent trade exhibition, and Salone Internazionale del Mobile, one of the most prestigious international furniture and design fairs.
Milan is also regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, along with New York City, Paris, and London. Milan is synonymous with the Italian prêt-à-porter industry, as many of the most famous Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also operate shops in Milan. Furthermore, the city hosts the Milan Fashion Week twice a year, one of the most important events in the international fashion system. Milan's main upscale fashion district, quadrilatero della moda, is home to the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia), in addition to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls.
In the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th, Milan was an important centre for intellectual discussion and literary creativity. The Enlightenment found here a fertile ground. Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria, with his famous Dei delitti e delle pene, and Count Pietro Verri, with the periodical Il Caffè were able to exert a considerable influence over the new middle-class culture, thanks also to an open-minded Austrian administration.
In the first years of the 19th century, the ideals of the Romantic movement made their impact on the cultural life of the city and its major writers debated the primacy of Classical versus Romantic poetry. Here, too, Giuseppe Parini, and Ugo Foscolo published their most important works, and were admired by younger poets as masters of ethics, as well as of literary craftsmanship. Foscolo's poem Dei sepolcri was inspired by a Napoleonic law that—against the will of many of its inhabitants—was being extended to the city.
In the third decade of the 19th century, Alessandro Manzoni wrote his novel I Promessi Sposi, considered the manifesto of Italian Romanticism, which found in Milan its centre; in the same period Carlo Porta, reputed the most renowned local vernacular poet, wrote his poems in Lombard Language. The periodical Il Conciliatore published articles by Silvio Pellico, Giovanni Berchet, Ludovico di Breme, who were both Romantic in poetry and patriotic in politics.
After the Unification of Italy in 1861, Milan lost its political importance; nevertheless it retained a sort of central position in cultural debates. New ideas and movements from other countries of Europe were accepted and discussed: thus Realism and Naturalism gave birth to an Italian movement, Verismo. The greatest verista novelist, Giovanni Verga, was born in Sicily but wrote his most important books in Milan.
Milan is an important national and international media centre. Corriere della Sera, founded in 1876, is one of the oldest Italian newspapers, and it is published by Rizzoli, as well as La Gazzetta dello Sport, a daily dedicated to coverage of various sports and currently considered the most widely read daily newspaper in Italy. Other local dailies are the general broadsheets Il Giorno, Il Giornale, the Roman Catholic Church-owned Avvenire, and Il Sole 24 Ore, a daily business newspaper owned by Confindustria (the Italian employers' federation). Free daily newspapers include Leggo and Metro. Milan is also home to many architecture, art, and fashion periodicals, including Abitare, Casabella, Domus, Flash Art, Gioia, Grazia, and Vogue Italia. Panorama and Oggi, two of Italy's most important weekly news magazines, are also published in Milan.
Several commercial broadcast television networks have their national headquarters in the Milan conurbation, including Mediaset Group (owner of Canale 5, Italia 1, Iris and Rete 4), Telelombardia and MTV Italy. National radio stations based in Milan include Radio Deejay, Radio 105 Network, R101 (Italy), Radio Popolare, RTL 102.5, Radio Capital and Virgin Radio Italia.
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 Wiener Schnitzel). 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 ("bread of the (Day of the ) Dead", cookies flavoured 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 well known for its world-class restaurants and cafés, characterised by innovative cuisine and design. As of 2014, Milan has 157 Michelin-selected places, including three 2-Michelin-starred restaurants; these include Cracco, Sadler and il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. Many historical restaurants and bars are found in the historic centre, the Brera and Navigli districts. One of the city's oldest surviving cafés, Caffè Cova, was established in 1817. In total, Milan has 15 cafés, bars and restaurants registered among the Historical Places of Italy, continuously operating for at least 70 years.
Milan hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1934 and 1990, the UEFA European Football Championship in 1980 and most recently the 2003 World Rowing Championships, the 2009 World Boxing Championships, and some games of the Men's Volleyball World Championship in 2010 and the final games of the Women's Volleyball World Championship in 2014. In 2018, Milan hosted World Figure Skating Championships. Milan will host the 2026 Winter Olympics as well as the 2026 Winter Paralympics jointly with Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Milan is the only city in Europe that is home to two European Cup/Champions League winning teams—Serie A renewed football clubs Milan and Inter. Both teams have also won the Intercontinental Cup (now FIFA Club World Cup). With a combined ten Champions League titles, Milan is second after Madrid as city that have won the most European Cups. They are one of the most successful clubs in the world of football in terms of international trophies. Both teams play at the UEFA 5-star-rated Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, more commonly known as the San Siro, that is one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, with a seating capacity of over 80,000. The Meazza Stadium hosted the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final, in which Real Madrid defeated Atlético Madrid 5–3 in a penalty shoot out. A third team, Brera Calcio F.C. plays in Promozione. Another team, Milano City F.C. (formerly of ASD Bustese) plays in Serie D.
There are currently four professional Lega Basket clubs in Milan: Olimpia Milano, Pallacanestro Milano 1958, Società Canottieri Milano and A.S.S.I. Milano. Olimpia is the most titled basketball club in Italy, having won 27 Italian League championships, six Italian National Cups, one Italian Super Cup, three European Champions Cups, one FIBA Intercontinental Cup, three FIBA Saporta Cups, two FIBA Korać Cups and many junior titles. The team play at the Mediolanum Forum, with a capacity of 12,700 where it has been hosted the final of the 2013–14 Euroleague. In some cases the team play also at the PalaDesio, with a capacity of 6,700.
Milan is also home to Italy's oldest American football team: Rhinos Milano, that won 5 Italian Super Bowls. The team play at the Velodromo Vigorelli, with a capacity of 8,000. Milan has also two cricket teams, Milano Fiori (currently competing in the second division) and Kingsgrove Milan, who won the Serie A championship in 2014. Amatori Rugby Milano, the most titled rugby team in Italy, was founded in Milan in 1927. The Monza Formula One circuit is located near the city, inside a suburban park. It is one of the world's oldest car racing circuits. The capacity for the F1 races is currently of over 113,000. It has hosted an F1 race nearly every year since the first year of competition, with the exception of 1980.
In road cycling, Milan hosts the start of the annual Milan–San Remo classic one-day race and the annual Milano–Torino one day race. Milan is also the traditional finish for the final stage of the Giro d'Italia, which, along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, is one of cycling's three Grand Tours.
Milan is home to some of Italy's most prominent educational institutions. Milan's higher education system includes 7 universities, 48 faculties and 142 departments, with 185,000 university students in 2011 (approximately 11 percent of the national total) and the largest number of university graduates and postgraduate students (34,000 and more than 5,000, respectively) in Italy.
Founded in 1863, the Polytechnic University of Milan is the city's oldest university. The "Politecnico" is organised in 16 departments and a network of 9 Schools of engineering, architecture and industrial design spread over 7 campuses in the entire Lombardy region. The number of students enrolled in all campuses is approximately 42,000, which makes Politecnico the largest technical university in Italy.
The State University of Milan, founded in 1923, is the largest public teaching and research university in the city, with 9 faculties, 58 departments, 48 institutes and a teaching staff of 2,500 professors. A leading institute in Italy and Europe in scientific publication, the State University of Milan is the sixth-largest university in Italy, with approximately 60,000 enrolled students.
The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, a private institute founded in 1921 and located in the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, famous for its law and economics teaching, currently the largest Catholic university in the world with 42,000 enrolled students;
Bocconi University is a private management and finance school established in 1902, ranking as the sixth best business school in Europe as of 2018. Bocconi University also ranks as the 5th best 1 year MBA course in the world, according to the Forbes 2017 ranking
The Università Vita Salute San Raffaele, linked to the San Raffaele hospital, is home to research laboratories in neurology, neurosurgery, diabetology, molecular biology, AIDS studies and cognitive science.
Milan is also well known for its fine arts and music schools. The Milan Academy of Fine Arts (Brera Academy) is a public academic institution founded in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria; the New Academy of Fine Arts is the largest private art and design university in Italy; the European Institute of Design is a private university specialised in fashion, industrial and interior design, audio/visual design including photography, advertising and marketing and business communication; the Marangoni Institute, is a fashion institute with campuses in Milan, London, and Paris; the Domus Academy is a private postgraduate institution of design, fashion, architecture, interior design and management; the Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of Sacred Music, a college of music founded in 1931 by the blessed cardinal A.I. Schuster, archbishop of Milan, and raised according to the rules by the Holy See in 1940, is—similarly to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, which is consociated with—an Institute "ad instar facultatis" and is authorised to confer university qualifications with canonical validity and the Milan Conservatory, a college of music established in 1807, currently Italy's largest with more than 1,700 students and 240 music teachers.
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.
Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) is the statutory corporation responsible for the transport network in Milan; it operates 4 metro lines (Milan Metro), 18 tram lines, 67 urban bus lines, 4 trolleybus lines, and 52 interurban bus lines, carrying over 734 million passengers in 2010. Overall the network covers nearly 1,500 km (932 mi) reaching 46 municipalities. Besides public transport, ATM manages the interchange parking lots and other transportation services including bike sharing and carsharing systems.
Milan Metro is the rapid transit system serving the city and surrounding municipalities. The network consists of 4 lines (plus one under construction), with a total network length of 101 kilometres (63 mi), and a total of 113 stations, mostly underground. It has a daily ridership of 1.15 million. one of the largest in Europe.
The Milan suburban railway service, operated by Trenord, comprises 12 lines and connects the metropolitan area with the city centre through the Milan Passerby underground railway. Commonly referred to as "il Passante", it has a train running every 6 minutes, functioning as a subway line with full transferability to the Milan Metro.
Milan Central station is the second station in Italy both for size and passengers after Rome. Milano Cadorna and Milano Porta Garibaldi stations are respectively the seventh and the eleventh busiest stations in Italy. 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. Further high-speed lines are under construction towards Genoa and Verona. Milan is served by direct international trains to Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Paris, Lugano, Geneva, Bern, Basel, Zurich and Frankfurt, and by overnight sleeper services to Paris and Dijon (Thello), Munich and Vienna (ÖBB).
Milan is also the core of Lombardy's regional train network. Regional trains were operated on two different systems by LeNord (departing from Milano Cadorna) and Trenitalia (departing from Milan Centrale and Milano Porta Garibaldi). Since 2011, a new company, Trenord, operates both Trenitalia and LeNord regional trains in Lombardy, carrying over 750,000 passengers on more than 50 routes every day.
The city tram network consists of approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) of track and 18 lines, and is Europe's most advanced light rail system. Bus lines cover over 1,070 km (665 mi). Milan has also taxi services operated by private companies and licensed by the City council of Milan. The city is also a key node for the national road network, being served by all the major highways of Northern Italy. Numerous long-distance bus lines link Milan with many other cities and towns in Lombardy and throughout Italy.
- Malpensa Airport is Italy's second-busiest airport with 24.7 million passengers served in 2018 and Italy's busiest for freight and cargo, handling about 600,000 tons of international freight in 2018. Malpensa is the major hub of the second largest national carrier, Air Italy. It lays 45 km (28 mi) from downtown Milan and is connected to the city by the Malpensa Express railway service.
- Linate Airport, the oldest, is Milan's city airport, and is now mainly used for domestic and short-haul international flights, serving 9.2 million passengers in 2018. Linate Airport is the second largest base for Italian nation's flag carrier, Alitalia.
- Orio al Serio Airport, located some 50 km (31 mi) away, near the town of Bergamo, mainly serves the low-cost traffic of Milan and it is the main base of Ryanair (12.9 million passengers served in 2018).
The partnership with the city of St. Petersburg, Russia, that started in 1967, was suspended in 2012 (a decision taken by the city of Milan), because of the prohibition of the Russian government on "homosexual propaganda".
Milan has the following collaborations:
- Algiers, Algeria
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Barcelona, Spain
- Bilbao, Spain
- Chengdu, China
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Guangzhou, China
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Moscow, Russia
- New York City, United States
- Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
- Saitama Prefecture, Japan
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras
- Tehran, Iran
- Alessandro Manzoni poet and novelist
- saint Ambrose of Milan
- saint Galdino della Sala
- saint Richard Pampuri
- Una Chi, (1942) erotic writer and translator
People awarded the honorary citizenship of Milan are: