THE ANCIENT MEDIOLANUM

Throughout all its history, Milan has always played a dominant role which has made it currently one of the world\'s leading cities in economic terms.

History

Its ancient name is “Mediolanum”, Latin for the place in the middle. Settled by the Gauls in 388 BC, in 292 AD it was designated the residence of the august Massimliano, and the basilicas were erected outside the walls. Milan\'s development would continue only after the year 1,000 when the mercantile and artisan classes emerged. They worked in the "brolo", i.e. in the garden of the bishop, who, in those days controlled the city. The Lombard League was established in 1167. It was guided by archbishop Galdino, who subsequently took over power. In 1277 it was the turn of the Viscontis, later followed by the Sforzas. 1400 marked the maximum splendour of Milan, which, under Ludovico the Moor and Beatrice d\'Este, became one of Europe\'s  richest cities. But from that  time, there were a series of invasions by the French, Hapsburgs and Spaniards, which for 170 years from 1535 held on to it before it was re-conquered by the Austrian Family under Mary Theresa. In 1943 it was bombarded during the second world war, and, from that time, was involved in large migratory flows. Today it is an avant-garde city, highly active in economic terms, and is quite rightfully one of the world\'s metropolis.

The city and its  monuments

It is no easy task to draft a short but exhaustive list of the artistic and architectural works in Lombardy\'s Administrative Centre, since there are so many sites of considerable interest. Above all the Scala, the famous opera theatre, known also beyond Italy\'s borders and recently restored,  returning to its ancient splendours. The centre of the city is, however, Piazza del Duomo (cathedral), from where the main streets depart, while the Duomo, the city\'s symbol, was built according to tradition, by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1386. The façade reflects the  various periods which succeeded each other during the construction, with five XVII century portals, and the central balcony of 1790.  Instead, the interior consists of three naves and two aisles, fifty-two pilasters and various chapels, altars and mausoleums, including the funeral monument of Gian Giacomo Medici.
However, the most striking part of the cathedral are the pinnacles, the highest of which reaches 108 m, and supports the famous Madonnina, erected in 1774. However Milan is rich in other monuments too, including the Royal Palace, the Duomo Museum, the Civic Museum of Contemporary Art, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Babila, Piazza San Fedele, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Brera Art Gallery, the church of Sant’Ambrogio and the piazza, the Pirelli skyscraper and, finally, the Modern Art Gallery.

The geographical area

The municipal territory is not very large and the surrounding suburbs are densely urbanised and industrialised. There are many towns, large and small, whose riches are based on industrial activity. From a geographic point of view, the territory exhibits only low reliefs, which make up the famous Brianza, whereas the mountains to be seen all around belong to the adjoining provinces. Unfortunately, today little remains of the parks of the ancient villas, because almost everything has disappeared to make way for the intense urbanisation process: the patrician villas became the locations of large hotels or multinational companies, and only some small \'islands\' represented by the river Adda have remained of the green Milanese Brianza. To the north of Trezzo, the river features rapids and canyons just like those of the Far West, whereas the Ticino river offers many small islands and meanders now protected as a nature park.