Discover Milan, exciting business hub in northern Italy
Exciting business hub in northern Italy, Milan has a lot to offer to every type of travellers. Visit its stunning Gothic cathedral, attend an opera play at La Scala or enjoy a trendy aperitif to take part in its famous nightlife.
A bit of Milan history
Even though heavily bombed during WWII, Milan still gives you a glance at how it looked back in the day. Medieval buildings, churches, canals and the ancient city gates make it for a romantic background to one of Italy's most cutting-edge cities.
Strategically located at the border of the Italian peninsula, Milan and the Lombardia region have always been a favourite target of invasions and occupations. Celts, Romans, Goths, Langobards, Spanish and Austrians have all controlled the city at some point in history.
In 222 BC the Romans occupied the city and annexed it to the Western Roman Empire under the name of Mediolanum, giving it the status of Latin colony in 89 BC after a short-lived protest. With time and following Roman conquests beyond the Alps, namely in the Gallic region (present-day France), Milan became the more and more important within the empire, and Emperor Augustus gave the city the status of capital of the Transpadana region that included cities like Como, Bergamo, Lodi, Pavia up to Turin.
From the 313 AD, year of Constantine's Edict that imposed tolerance towards Christianity in all the regions of the Roman Empire, Milan saw a church building spree also thanks to St. Ambrose, very influential figure who was also nominated as the city's first bishop. The fall of the Roman Empire led to a decline in importance and a major vulnerability. This is when Milan started being the target of different foreign powers and fell under the control of the Langobards first, who moved their capital to Pavia, and the Carolingians, under whose dominance the city experienced its own renaissance in the 8th century.
With the years, the power of the Church grew remarkably, and from 1200 Milan became an important hub. It's from this period that new monuments, road networks, and gates were built. From the end of the 13th century, Milan was under the control of noble families, first among all the Visconti dynasty, while in 1450 Francesco Sforza took over the power bringing the long sought-after peace and a new splendour to the city he was now Duke of. This was the time of Italian Renaissance, and Milan saw the building of important palaces, hospitals and other places such as the Sforza Castle, Santa Maria delle Grazie church, the city's Duomo and the Ospedale Maggiore hospital.
Unfortunately, this splendour was ill-fated, and after the Sforza dominance, Milan was once again the target of foreign attacks by the Spanish, the Austrians, the French with Napoleon and finally the Kingdom of Italy after the Austrians were fully kicked out.
In 1919 Benito Mussolini's Fascist Party was founded in Milan. The city and the whole country was then under the Fascist rule and in 1940 entered WWII. During the war, Milan was almost completely destroyed and after the conflict, Lombardia was one of the Italian regions that greatly contributed in placing Italy on the map of the world's industrial powers.
Planning a trip to Milan
With so much to see and do, we wrote a detailed Milan guide so that you can plan a trip your own.
If you prefer to book a tour with a local, we recommend Walks of Italy's Milan tours: their guides are always knowledgeable and happy to share their best tips.
If you are planning a business trip, how to get Italy working visa
Alongside other 25 countries, Italy is part of the Schengen Area. There are different visas that will allow entering Italy: three months for tourist/business/visit, one year for the student visa with the possibility to renew it annually depending on the specific course duration, nine months for seasonal work, two years for independent/self-employed work, employed/subordinated work and family reunion.
Citizens of other EU members don't need a visa to enter or stay in Italy, while other countries (Argentina, Brazil, etc.) don't need a visa to enter and can stay for up to 90 days, after which time they must provide the papers to extend their visa, usually university enrollment or work contracts. Sadly enough, some nationalities such as Afghanistan are not likely to get an Italian tourist visa, but only family reunion, work and possibly medical permit.
To see if you need a visa, what type of visa, where you need to apply and what are the requirements for your nationality, check out the website of Italian Foreign Ministry.