Milano - Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Milan is the main city in northern Italy and the economic-financial capital of Italy, and is located in the plains of Lombardy, the most populated and developed of Italian regions.

The city proper has about 1.3 million inhabitants (in 2004), but when including the surrounding metropolitan area the population of the conurbation totals more than 4.5 million, and the Commuting Basin (Greater Milan, more than 70 km large and 60 km wide) totals about 7.5 million (the fourth most populated European metropolitan area after London, Paris and the Ruhr area). Milan is famous for its fashion firms and shops (via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele on the Piazza Duomo is reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall, and make it one of the world capitals of fashion, like New York City or Paris. Another famous product of the city is the traditional Christmas cake called Panettone.


  • Altitude: 122 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 1,300,000 inhabitants in 2012
  • Zip/postal code: 20100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 02
  • Patron Saint: St. Ambrogio, celebrated on December 7, the day following the feast of 8 December, creating the beloved "ponte dell'Annunziata".

Administrative Areas

Since 1999 the city has been divided into 9 administrative areas, though in 2016 a new division into Municipi is scheduled.
Administrative areas of Milano
  • Zona 1: Centro storico
  • Zona 2: Stazione Centrale, Gorla, Turro, Greco e Crescenzago
  • Zona 3: Porta Venezia, Città Studi, Lambrate
  • Zona 4: Porta Vittoria, Porta Romana, Forlanini, Monlué, Rogoredo, Corvetto
  • Zona 5: Porta Ticinese, Lodovica, Vigentino, Chiaravalle, Gratosoglio
  • Zona 6: Barona, Lorenteggio, Giambellino, Porta Genova
  • Zona 7: Porta Vercellina, Baggio, De Angeli, Forze Armate, San Siro
  • Zona 8: Porta Volta, Fiera, Gallaratese, Quarto Oggiaro
  • Zona 9: Porta Nuova, Stazione Garibaldi, Niguarda, Bovisa, Fulvio Testi

History - Antiquity

Milan's name has for many centuries been recorded as Mailand, which is still the German name of the city today. It comes from the Celtic Mid-lan (meaning "in the middle of the plain") and was known as Mediolanum by the Romans.

Sant'Ambrogio, 1910Milan was founded by the Celts of Northern Italy around 600 BC and wasconquered by the Romans around 222 BC. In the 4th century A.D., at the time of the bishop Saint Ambrose and emperor Theodosius I, the city became for a short time the capital of the Western Roman Empire.

After the Ostrogoth and Lombard periods, the city regained its importance in the 11th century and led other Italian cities in gaining semi-independence from the Holy Roman Empire. During the Plague of 1349 Milan was one of the few places in Europe that was not touched by the epidemic.

History - from the 15th century

During the Renaissance Milan was ruled by dukes of the Visconti and Sforza families, who had artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante at their service. After trying to conquer the rest of northern Italy in the 15th century, Milan was conquered by France, and then in the early 16th century by Spain.

The Castello SforzescoIn the 18th century Austria replaced Spain as Milan's overlord, but during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars the city was annexed into the French satellite states of the Cisalpine Republic. After 1815 Milan was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, under Austrian rule: the city became one of the main centers of Italian nationalism, reclaiming independence and the unification of Italy.

In 1859 after the second of the Wars of Italian Independence Austrian rule was ended by the Kingdom of Sardinia (which transformed into the kingdom of Italy in 1861).

History - Modern Times

Being a critical industrial centre of Italy, Milan was target of continuous bombing during World War II; in 1943 Milan was part of Mussolini's puppet state Italian Social Republic and an important command centre of the German Army stationed in Italy. When war in Italy was finally over, April 25, 1945, Milan was heavily damaged and entire neighborhoods were radically destroyed. After the war the city was reconstructed and became again an important financial and industrial centre of Italy.

What to see

  • The Duomo, picture of 1910 The Duomo di Milano, one of the most famous buildings in Europe, a large and elaborate Gothic Cathedral on the main square in the center of the city, the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral after the cathedral of Seville (Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome is not a cathedral): 157 meters long can host 40,000 people comfortably. The main spire is 109 meters high and the great windows of the choir are the largest in the world...(read more in Wikipedia)
  • Fiera Milano, the city's Exhibition Center and Trade Fair complex in the north-western suburb of Pero and Rho, Europe's largest open construction project and the largest trade fair complex in the world.
  • The Biblioteca Ambrosiana contains drawings and notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci among its vast holdings of books, manuscripts and drawings and is one of the main repositories of European culture.Teatro alla Scala
  • Teatro alla Scala, which makes Milan the most important town in the world for Opera
  • In the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie hosting one of the most famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper.
  • Pirelli Tower, seat of Lombardy Region and the highest italian skyscraper

Where to stay

ItalyHeritage on Facebook
Family History
Genealogy ResearchNeed help in your research?
Contact us with details and priorities.
Provinces of Lombardy
Lombardia region
Surnames in the Provinces of Lombardy