Milan – where creativity meets culture, fashion and science
Elegant, cosmopolitan, creative and bustling, Milan has a unique atmosphere. Whilst Milan is one of the most modern Italian cities, at the same time, it manages to keep its historic flair. We invite you to visit Milan, the place to share the latest advances in our field and work on cooperation beyond borders.
History tells us that Mediolanum (Milan), the Latinized form of Medhelanon, meaning "sanctuary", was founded by the Insubri Celts in 590 B.C. According to Titus Livy's comments, the city was founded around 600 B.C. by Belloveso, chief of the Celtic tribe. Legend has it that Bellovaso found a mythological animal known as the "half-woolly sow" (in medio lanae) which became the symbol of Gallic Milan until the end of the 4th century.
After having been the most important city of the Insubri Gauls, Milan was conquered by the Romans in 222 B.C. Due to its strategic position on the northern borders of the Empire, the city took on great importance for the Caesar's military operations in Gaul (from 58 B.C to 50 B.C.). Later it would become a crossroads for trade; riding a wave of economic development it became elevated first to the role of municipium, and later Imperial colony.
Sights & Attractions
Milan's extravagant Gothic cathedral, 600 years in the making, is made of pink-white marble, and reflects the city's creativity and ambition. Its façade showcases 135 spires and 3400 statues with impressive details. The interior is no less impressive, including the largest stained-glass windows in Christendom.
Last Supper & Santa Maria delle Grazie
Milan's most famous mural, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, can be found on a wall of the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Depicting the famous scene when Christ reveals he's aware of his betrayal, it's one of the world's most iconic images. To see it you must book in advance or sign up for a guided city tour. The Church itself is a testament to the Renaissance architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Teatro alla Scala
One of the most famous opera stages in the world, La Scala's season runs from early December through July. Theatre, ballet and concerts are seen all year-round. Buy tickets online up to two months before the performance. On performance days, tickets for the gallery are available from the box office at Via Filodrammatici 2.
Milan boasts a richness and unique variety of museums. Over the centuries, the long literary, artistic, musical and scientific tradition has made this city into a crossroads of culture that has left behind numerous traces, now preserved in important museum collections.
Amongst these are the most prestigious, the Pinacoteca di Brera, that preserves artworks of extraordinary artistic value inside its walls, and also the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle) one of the symbols of Milan. The latter hosts Michelangelo's Pietà Rondanini in its museums and offers visitors some of the most varied collections, including musical instruments, the Egyptian Collection, the Prehistory and Protohistory Collections and the Museum of Ancient Art.
For those more interested in natural and scientific fields, the Museo di Storia Naturale (Museum of Natural History), the Acquario Civico (Civic Aquarium) and the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia (Museum of Science and Technology) are worth a visit.
Design, Architecture & Shopping
In the 1950s and 60s, as the main industrial centre of Italy, Milan became a world capital of design and architecture. The city breathes elegance and style. Whether you want to shop or just experience the atmosphere that is truly Milanese, there are many places to go!
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy's oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of the city. As soon as it was finished, the Galleria became famous for its large size, which was extraordinary for the time and the sign of a new era. The Gallery is one of the sites for luxury shopping. It hosts many prestigious labels and brand shops, famous cafés and restaurants.
Other shopping districts are around the Quadrilatero d'Oro, Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga. Discover more shopping streets here.
Design and architecture lovers will find Milan a treasure. Milan is home to all the major design showrooms and an endless round of trade fairs.
For architectural sights, all you need to do is look around. The city is one outdoor museum with monumental richness; historical buildings, villas, modern-architectural buildings, churches and abbeys all offer a variety of styles and striking details that are well worth getting to know.