Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Milan (Milano, a contraction of Mediolanum), a historic city of Italy, stands on the small river Olona, 25 miles south of Lake Como. In 222 B.C. the Romans took it from the Insubrian Gauls. It afterwards suffered much from the barbarians, being sacked by the Huns in 452 and by the Goths in 539. It was next in the possession successively of the Longobardi (or Lombards) and the Franks, and then passed under the sway of the emperor. The citizens, under their archbishop, stoutly resisted their feudal neighbours, and in the 11th century headed a league of Lombard towns against the Emperor Frederick I., who razed the city to the ground. Milan also took part with the Guelfs against Frederick II. In 1262 Othe Visconti, the Archbishop, obtained the lordship for his family, who held it with but a short interval for nearly two centuries. The lordship next passed to the Sforzas, the first of whom had married Bianca Visconti. They alternately opposed and became tributary to the French and the emperor, who each claimed the Milanese. From 1535 till the Peace of Utrecht the territory was a dependency of Spain. It then passed to Austria, which was deprived of it for a time by Napoleon, but again held it till at the Peace of Villafranca it became part of Piedmont. In 1848 Milan had led the Italian struggle for liberty. The city stands in a fertile plain, and is built in a circle, with the splendid marble cathedral in the centre. This was begun under Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1386, and was completed under the 'Napoleonic regime, but still undergoes alterations from time to time. It is the third largest cathedral in Europe. Other interesting churches are those of St. Ambrogio and Santa Maria della Grazie. On the refectory walls of the monastery to which the latter belonged, Leonardo da Vinci's great picture was painted. Chief among the modern buildings are the Della Scala opera house, one of the largest in Europe, and the Great Hospital, which wiirhold more than 2,000 patients. The Brera Picture Gallery contains a valuable collection. Milan has two great libraries, the Ambrosian and the National Library. It is now the chief commercial centre of northern Italy, the principal industry being the silk manufacture.

Mulberry-trees for feeding the silkworms chut the surrounding plains. It is also a city of printers. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an avenue roofed with glass, is one of the finest promenades in Europe. In population Milan is the second city of Italy. It has numbered among its citizens, besides St. Ambrose, Becc-aria and Manzoni.