Fashionable, artistic, industrious, and passionate Milan; what’s not to love! Here, it’s expected to enjoy the good things in life: good food, stunning masterworks of art and architecture, and a cup of espresso while you watch the locals stroll by. And while you’re living leisurely, there’s always time to sneak into a museum or church and appreciate the long history of this world-renowned Italian city.
Though today Milan is synonymous with Italian style and culture, it hasn’t always been so. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was governed by archbishops, and tried unsuccessfully to maintain a defensive independence.
Milan surrendered to Charlemagne in 774, and as that reign began to falter they once again struck out to become independent. Through periods of instability, it generally prospered and grew, until it was incorporated into the Spanish Habsburg Empire in 1525, and Austrian Habsburg in 1714. After years of resistance and violence, Milan was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Today, Milan’s position as an economic and cultural powerhouse has helped boost their reputation and their tourism. People flock from all over the world to see masterworks like the Last Supper, hidden in an unassuming Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie; Duomo di Milano, a gothic icon and one of the largest cathedrals in Europe; Pinacoteca di Brera, a museum that features paintings from Italian and European masters; and rest for a minute on the Piazza Mercanti, where you can peek through history at how Milanese have been living for centuries.