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Milan is the administrative centre of the homonymous province and of the Lombardy province. It’s the second largest Italian municipality by number of inhabitants (about 1,303,670), and first for its number of inhabitants in the metropolitan area (about 7,400,000).
Milan is the economy and financial capital of the country, this is also due to its Italian stock exchange (Piazza Affari), and also due to being an attractive point for the registered offices of numerous multinational firms.
The city of Milan is rich in monuments, churches and other places of interest for tourists. The most renowned monument in the city is without doubt the “Duomo”. The building is dedicated to “Santa Maria Nascente” and is located in the homonymous square, in the city centre, and is one of the most famous and complex Gothic buildings in the world.
Where the Duomo stands today, it used to be a very old Cathedral “Santa Maria Maggiore” and the Basilica of “Santa Tecla”, the largest of the two. Inside the Duomo there is a memorial stone to commemorate the start of the works in 1386. Its façade is a mix of history of Italian architecture and sculpture, starting with the late Renaissance, through to Baroque and on to the pseudo-Gothic Napoleonic period. In this respect, it should be mentioned that the final “touch” in Gothic style was requested, in 1800, personally by Napoleon Bonaparte, who was crowned here as King of Italy.
The Duomo spire has been topped by the golden Madonnina since 1774, and has become a symbol of the city apart from its original religious meaning. Sentences such as “in the shade of the Madoninna” refer specifically to the city of Milan.
Further to the Madonnina del Duomo, another symbol of the city of Milan is the “Castello Sforzesco”, which stands in the homonymous square. Built between 1358-1368, at the time of Galeazzo II Visconti, it is a defensive fortress, a ducal palace, a military barracks and also the seats of a number of museums and cultural institutions. It is the main civil monument of the Renaissance period in Milan, and is very interesting because of the multitude of traces left by each of the various eras.
Among the museum exhibitions that it currently houses and are worthy of a visit we should mention the “Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco”: a rich collection of paintings, works by Antonello da Messina, Andrea Mantegna, Canaletto, Correggio, Tiepolo and the unfinished Pietà Rondanini by Michelangelo.
The city is also home to one of the most famous treasures in the world: Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
The theatre season is one of the major events in Milan’s high society life and houses opera, ballet, classical music concerts etc.. Theatres in Milan are spread everywhere throughout the city. “Brera” is the night district par excellence, and houses three of them; one of which the “Teatro della Scala”, the best–known opera house in the world, known also as “La Scala”. It is located in one of the city’s two most visited and charming squares, the homonymous “Piazza della Scala” from which it takes its name.
Nowadays, Milan is also one of the major university, publishing and broadcasting centres in Europe.
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