Italy's second largest city is the capital of Lombardy and also its financial and business centre, pulsing with urban excitement from its fashionable shops to its skyscrapers. Milan holds its own fascination for those who worship the modern, yet this is the home of some very old and indisputably great art and architecture.


Milan is the country's communications and transport hub. The prestigious cultural traditions of this city are entrusted to no less than four universities, the Conservatory of Music, the Art Academy, La Scala, the most famous opera house in the world, famous art galleries and libraries. Moreover, Milan is the capital of Italian publishing. Last but not least, it is the most European city in Italy. The town is bounded by two concentric boulevards: the shorter has taken the place of the 14th century ramparts, of which traces remain, among them the Porta Ticinese to the south and the Porta Nuova to the north. The castle was part of this defense system.


Besides the artistic evidence of its past, Milan is proud of its modem town planning. Modem buildings are to be seen in Piazza Cavour, in Via Turati, Piazza della Repubblica (more than 30 stones) and, finally, the Piazza Duca d'Aosta (Pirelli skyscraper, 36 stones'), around which a large business centre is springing up. Milan is served by five motorways and, since 1964, also by the underground, which now has 3 lines.


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