Milan (usu. Mil'an; Ital. spelling Milano), one Of the three chief Italian cities, stands in the great plain of Lombardy, 80 miles NE. of Turin, 155 W. of Venice, and 25 S. of Lake Como. The city, nearly circular in shape, is surrounded on three sides by walls, has a circuit of nearly 8 miles, and is entered by 14 gates. The principal church is the cathedral of the archbishop, rebuilt by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1386, and completed by order of Napoleon I. in 1S05-13. It is built entirely of marble, and in the Gothic style ; but the windows and portals of the facade (partly of the 16th century) are not Gothic, but Italian. The exterior is adorned with pinnacles and 6000 statues in niches. Other churches are St Ambrose, founded in 868, on the site of one dedicated by the saint himself in 387 ; St Eustorgius, dedicated in 320 ; St Maria delle Grazie (1463), on the walls of whose refectory is Leonardo da Vinci's ' Last Supper;' and St Maurice the Greater (1497-1506), with paintings by Luini and his school. The Brera Palace (12th century), formerly a Jesuit college, has now a great gallery of paintings by Raphael, Da Vinci, Luini, Mantegna, the Bellinis, Titian, Vandyck, etc, an academy of art, a collection of casts, the magnificent monument of Gaston de Foix, the national library (1770) of 162,000 vols. and 3650 MSS., an archaeological museum, and an observatory. In the famous Ambrosian Library (1609) there are 164,000 vols. and 8100 MSS., besides collections of drawings, engravings, and pictures. The city is adorned with numerous palaces, as that of the archbishop (1570); the royal palace, with fine modern frescoes ; the Late Renaissance municipal palace (1558); the former castle of the Visconti (15th century), with frescoes by Luini ; the Poldi-Pezzoli palace, etc. The arcaded colonnade of Victor Emmanuel (1865-67), lined with fine shops, forms a favourite promenade. The Arch of Peace, built of white marble (1807-38), commemorates the exploits of Napoleon. The Delia Scala opera-house (1778) is the second in size (after San Carlo at Naples) in Italy ; and the Milan conservatoire is the most famous school of music in Europe. Beccaria, Manzoni, the popes Pius IV. and Gregory XIV. were natives. The Great Hospital (1448) can accommodate 2500 patients. Owing to its situation Milan has always been a place of great commerce, much increased since the opening of the Gothard railway. It manufactures silks, velvets, gold, silver, and iron wares, railway carriages, tobacco, porcelain, and electric-light apparatus, besides being an active centre of the printing-trade. Pop. (1876) 283,225; (1881, city and suburbs) 295,543 ; (1901, commune) 491,460.
Milan (Lat. Mediolanum) was conquered by the Romans in 222 b.c, and sacked by the Huns (under Attila) in 452, by the Goths in 539. It passed to the Longobards (569), the Franks, and the German empire. Here several of the German emperors were crowned with the Iron Crown. Frederick I. twice besieged it and razed it to the ground. Supreme power became (from 1277) vested in the Ghibelline Visconti, who extended the ascendency of Milan over the whole of Lombardy, and in 1395 became dukes. The successors of the Visconti were the Sforzas (1450-1535). From 1555 to 1713 Milan submitted to Spain, and from Spain passed to Austria. Under Bonaparte it was declared the capital of the Cisalpine Republic, of the Italian Republic, and, finally, of the Kingdom of Italy. From 1815 till 1859, when it became Italian, Milan was again the capital of the Austro-Italian dominions.