milan italy


From the 8th December 2017 till the 15th January 2018 we will be in Milan, Italy.


Milan, in Italian Milano,  is the capital of Lombardy and the second most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,360,422 while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,228,000.

Its continuously built-up urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan) has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles), ranking 4th in the European Union.

The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 8,173,176, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy.
Milan is considered a leading Alpha Global City, with strengths in the arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, and tourism.

Its business district hosts Italy’s Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and companies. In terms of GDP, it has the third largest economy among European cities and the wealthiest among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and one of the “Four Motors for Europe.”

The city has long been named fashion capital of the world and the world’s design capital, thanks to several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently among the world’s biggest in terms of revenue, visitors and growth.

It hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students.

Milan is the destination of 8 million overseas visitors every year, attracted by its museums and art galleries that boast some of the most important collections in the world, including major works by Leonardo da Vinci. The city is served by a large number of luxury hotels and is the fifth most starred in the world by Michelin Guide.


The etymology of the name Milan remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain). However, some scholars believe that lanum comes from the Celtic root lan, meaning an enclosure or demarcated territory  in which Celtic communities used to build shrines.

Hence Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a Celtic tribe. Indeed, about sixty Gallo-Roman sites in France bore the name “Mediolanum”, for example: Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum).

In addition, another theory links the name to the boar sow (the Scrofa semilanuta) an ancient emblem of the city, fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato’s Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as “half-wool”, explained in Latin and in French.

The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar; therefore “The city’s symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool.” Alciato credits Ambrose for his account. 


And like New York, Milan is a modern culinary hotbed, attracting much of the best talent from throughout the Peninsula and beyond. This is very good for both out-of-town visitors and for Milanese residents with a taste for the exotic and innovative.

Milan is less known for traditional cuisine, which gets taken for granted by those eagerly bent upon seeking out the latest delicacy or the newest chef.

To be frank, these people are missing out; though there is something exciting about an unexpected juxtaposition or an unusual presentation, traditional Milanese dishes are extraordinarily satisfying, inviting one to gather round the table with friends and spend some time together: In short, comfort food of the finest sort.

Food is a big part of the reason that many people choose to travel, and whether it is the snacks that are available from street vendors up to the best dishes that are produced by the best chefs in the country, the chance to enjoy a new cuisine is something to seize.

Italy is a country that is rightfully proud of the food that is produced in the area, and this video offers a great insight into how a top chef in Milan goes about preparing his food.

Milan is a very culturally unique area in terms of its cuisine, as it doesn’t have the same Mediterranean emphasis on tomatoes and olive oil, but rather focuses on buttery and meat based dishes that make the most of the ingredients produced in Lombardy.

The Typical Milanese Dishes

When most people think about the cuisine in the Milan area, the most common dish that comes to mind is the cotoletta alla milanese, which is a fried veal cutlet that has been breaded.

Some of the local restaurants have also been preparing a slightly different version of the dish, where the bone is removed and the cutlet is tenderized until it is larger and thinner before it is fried.

The other famous Milanese dish is risotto alla milanese, which is a version of risotto that is fantastic when it is well prepared, with Milan famous for the pinch of saffron which adds the flavor to the mix of rice, onion, chicken stock and butter.

Starters In Milan

Antipasto plays an important role in Milanese cuisine, as it does across the country, and while the famous risotto is one of the most popular starters, it certainly isn’t the only one.

Vegetable soup is also very popular in the area, although if you are vegetarian it is worth checking to make sure there is no bacon or pork rind added, as this is a common feature in this type of soup.

Cheeses and Desserts

Cheese is a very big part of the Milanese diet, and after most meals there will be a range of cheeses, from famous Italian exports such as gorgonzola to the soft cheeses produced in the hills around Milan.

Cheese is usually the final course of the meal, rather than the dessert, but there are a few specialities such as panettone which do grace the Milanese table from time to time. This sweet bread is traditionally eaten around the Christmas and New Year period, but will rarely be seen after February each year.

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