What You Need to Know About Milan
Milan’s location in the north of Italy near lucrative trade routes made it a desirable conquest by Roman legions in 222 BC. Roads that connected the south of Italy to Roman Empire territories in present-day France, Germany, and England passed through “Mediolanum”, the ancient name for the city. As the Empire declined, the city was dominated by Visigoth, Hun, and Ostrogoth tribes and eventually by Spain, France, and Austria. Milan today is home to 1.3 million residents and is recognized as a center of fashion, design, music, business, and banking.
Sharing an Artistic Heritage
The wealth of Milanese families drew Renaissance artists to the city to seek commissions. Leonardo da Vinci created “The Last Supper” in Milan while under the patronage of the Sforza family and the Duke of Milan. Images of the painting appear in almost every art book, but the original fresco is in the Santa Maria Delle Grazie monastery. Leonardo’s sketches of inventions and concepts are housed in the Science and Technology Museum that carries his name. The Sforzesco Castle contains his Rondanini Pietà and painted ceilings that he designed.
Located south of the Italian Alps, Milan welcomed Renaissance artists from Venice and Florence who contributed significantly to the city’s cultural reputation that remains vibrant today. Verdi wrote operas in Milan and staged them in the world famous La Scala, and the designer of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome perfected his skill in the city. The bustling, cultural atmosphere encourages artists, writers, musicians, and businesses to pursue excellence now as it did during the Renaissance.
Enjoying a Temperate Climate
Milan enjoys a warm season that lasts from the end of May through the middle of September. Climatic conditions in the Po Valley produce abundant moisture in the form of thunderstorms in the summer and autumn as well as frost and snow in the winter. The Po is Italy’s longest river, and it connects to Milan through channels that were originally designed by Michelangelo. Venice is popularly known for its canals, but Milan has them as well.
Temperatures in the area reach an average high of more than 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and as high as 87 on the hottest day in July. While on the same latitude as Montreal, Canada, Milan has summer temperatures that resemble those in southern Italy. The cold season runs from November through February, producing an average low of 31 degrees and 42 as the average high.