Milan (Italian: Milano, listen (help·info) Italian pronunciation: [miˈla(ː)no]; Western Lombard: Milan, listen (help·info)) is a city in Italy and the capital of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1,300,000, while the urban area is the fifth largest in the European Union with an estimated population of 4,300,000. The Milan metropolitan area, by far the largest in Italy, is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 7,400,000.
The city was founded under the name of Mediolanum by the Insubres, a Celtic people. It was later captured by the Romans in 222 BC, and the city became very successful under the Roman Empire. Later Milan was ruled by the Visconti, the Sforza, the Spanish in the 1500s and the Austrians in the 1700s. In 1796, Milan was conquered by Napoleon I and he made it the capital of his Kingdom of Italy in 1805. During the Romantic period, Milan was a major cultural centre in Europe, attracting several artists, composers and important literary figures. Later, during World War II, the city was badly affected by Allied bombings, and after German occupation in 1943, Milan became the main hub of the Italian resistance. Despite this, Milan saw a post-war economic growth, attracting thousands of immigrants from Southern Italy and abroad.
An international and cosmopolitan city, 13.9% of Milan's population is from abroad. The city remains one of Europe's main transportational and industrial hubs, and Milan is one of the EU's most important centres for business and finance, with its economy (see economy of Milan) being the world's 26th richest by purchasing power, having a GDP of $115 billion. The Milan metropolitan area has Europe's 4th highest GDP: € 241.2 billion (US$ 312.3 billion) in 2004. Milan also has one of Italy's highest GDPs (per capita), about €35,137 (US$ 52,263), which is 161.6% of the EU average GDP per capita. Milan has also been classified as being the 28th most powerful and influential city in the world.
Milan is recognised as a world fashion and design capital, with a major global influence in commerce, industry, music, sport, literature, art and media, making it one of GaWC's major Alpha world cities. The Lombard metropolis is especially famous for its fashion houses and shops (such as along Via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo (reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall). The city has a rich cultural heritage and legacy, and has a unique cuisine (it is home to numerous famous dishes, such as the Panettone Christmas cake and the risotto alla Milanese). The city has a particularly famous musical, particularly operatic, tradition, being the home of several important composers (such as Giuseppe Verdi) and theatres (such as the Teatro alla Scala). Milan is also well-known for containing several important museums, universities, academies, palaces, churches and libraries (such as the Academy of Brera and the Castello Sforzesco) and two renowned football teams: A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. This makes Milan one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, with over 1.914 million foreign arrivals to the city in 2008. The city hosted the 1906 World Exposition and will host the 2015 Universal Exposition.
Inhabitants of Milan are referred to as "Milanese" (Italian: Milanesi or informally Meneghini or Ambrosiani). The city is nicknamed by Milan's inhabitants the "moral capital".
Did you know that as of 2009, according to the Global Language Monitor, Milan holds the title of "fashion capital of the world"? The Global Language Monitor does such surveys, examining different words and cities for several rankings. In 2009, Milan surpassed New York City, which held the title for five years, and also overcame several traditional fashion capitals, such as Paris, London and Rome. The city is noted for its fashion design, and contains major headquarters of several of the world's top fashion houses and labels, such as Armani, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Luxottica, Missoni and Moschino. Milan holds a fashion week twice a year, exhibiting both spring/summer and autumn/winter collections. The Via Montenapoleone is the main shopping street in the city, and is the principle road in the quadrilatero della moda, Milan's top fashion district, consisting also of the Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Corso Venezia and Via Manzoni, and which has the boutiques/emporia of virtually every major global fashion brand.