Milan is a city in Italy, capital of the Lombardy region, and the most populous metropolitan area and the second most populous comune in Italy. Milan is the second richest city in the European Union, after Paris. The population of the city proper is 1,369,000, and that of the Metropolitan City of Milan is 3,209,000. According to Eurostat, the commuting area counts 4,252,000 inhabitants but its 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 in 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 comprehends almost every province of Lombardy, the Piedmont province of Novara, and some parts of the province of Piacenza and which counts an estimated population of 8,123,020. It is Italy's main industrial and financial centre and one of the most significant globally. In terms of GDP, it has the largest economy among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and lies at the heart of one of the Four Motors for Europe.
Milan is an Alpha leading 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. The city is a major world fashion and design capital, well known for several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students.
Milan's museums, theatres and landmarks (including the Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle and Leonardo da Vinci paintings such as The Last Supper, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) attract over 9 million visitors annually. Milan has one of the highest numbers of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide among Italian cities. The city hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. Milan hosts two of Europe's major football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, and one of Italy's major basketball teams, Olimpia Milano.
Milan is located in the north-western section of the Po Valley, approximately halfway between the river Po to the south and the foothills of the Alps with the great lakes (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano) to the north, the Ticino river to the west and the Adda to the east. The city's land is flat, the highest point being at 122 m (400.26 ft) above sea level.
The administrative commune covers an area of about 181 square kilometres (70 sq mi), with a population, in 2013, of 1,324,169 and a population density of 7,315 inhabitants per square kilometre (18,950/sq mi). The Metropolitan City of Milan covers 1,575 square kilometres (608 sq mi) and in 2015 had a population estimated at 3,196,825, with a resulting density of 2,029 inhabitants per square kilometre (5,260/sq mi). A larger urban area, comprising parts of the provinces of Milan, Monza e Brianza, Como, Lecco and Varese is 1,891 square kilometres (730 sq mi) wide and has a population of 5,270,000 with a density of 2,783 inhabitants per square kilometre (7,210/sq mi).
The concentric layout of the city centre reflects the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. The suburbs of the city have expanded mainly to the north, swallowing up many communes to reach Varese, Como, Lecco and Bergamo.
With rapid industrialisation in post-war years, the population of Milan peaked at 1,743,427 in 1973. Thereafter, during the following thirty years, almost one third of the population moved to the outer belt of new suburbs and satellite settlements that grew around the city proper. There were an estimated 1,324,169 official residents in the commune of Milan at the end of 2013 and 3,196,825 in its administrative metropolitan city. However, Milan's conurbation extends well beyond the limits of its administrative area and was home to 5,270,000 people in 2015, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 7 and 10 million depending on the definition used.
While Rome is Italy's political capital, Milan is the country's industrial and financial heart. With a 2010 GDP estimated at €132.5 billion, the province of Milan generates approximately 9% of the national GDP; while the economy of the Lombardy region generates approximately 20% of Italy's GDP (or an estimated €325 billion in 2010, roughly the size of Belgium). The province of Milan is home to about 45% of businesses in the Lombardy region and more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including three Fortune 500 companies.
Milan is, since the late 1800s, an important industrial and manufacturing centre, especially for the automotive industry, with companies such as Alfa Romeo, Pirelli and Techint having a significant presence in the city. Other important products manufactured in Milan include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics, health and biotechnologie and food & beverage.
The city is home to a large number of media and advertising agencies, national newspapers and telecommunication companies, including both the public service broadcaster RAI and private television companies like Mediaset, La7 and Sky Italia. The city hosts the headquarters of the largest Italian publishing companies, such as Feltrinelli, Mondadori, RCS Media Group, Messaggerie Italiane, and Giunti Editore. Milan has also seen a rapid increase in internet companies with both domestic and international companies such as Altavista, Google, Lycos, Virgilio and Yahoo! establishing their Italian operations in the city.
Milan is the seat of Italy's main banking groups (198 companies), including Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, Banca Mediolanum and UniCredit and over forty foreign banks. Also, most asset management companies are based in Milan, including Anima Holding, Azimut Holding, ARCA SGR, and Eurizon Capital. The Associazione Bancaria Italiana representing the Italian banking system and Milan Stock Exchange (225 companies listed on the stock exchange) are both located in the city.
Milan is a major world fashion centre, where the sector can count on 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets (with brands such as Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino and Luxottica), while four weeks a year are dedicated to top shows and other fashion events. The city is also a global hub for trade and design. The city successfully hosted Expo 2015. FieraMilano, the historical city trade fair operator, operates one of the largest expo areas in the world and the second in Europe (after Hannover) in the northern suburb of Rho, responsible for fairs such as Milan Furniture Fair, EICMA, EMO on 0.7 mln m² of exhibition areas with about 4.5 million visitors every year.
Porta Nuova is the main business district of Milan, and one of the most important in Italy. AXA, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Celgene, China Construction Bank, Finanza & Futuro Banca, FinecoBank, FM Global, Google, Herbalife, HSBC, KPMG, Maire Tecnimont, Microsoft, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Samsung, Shire, Telecom Italia, UniCredit, UnipolSai and many other companies have their main Italian headquarters located there.
Tourism is an increasingly important part of the city's economy: with 7.65 million registered international arrivals in 2016 (up 1.8% on the previous year), Milan ranked as the world's 14th most visited city.