Interesting and fun facts about Milan, Italy, for kids and curious adults!
Did you know these interesting facts about Milan?
In this guide, we share some of the most interesting things about Milan and tell you where you can learn about them in the city!
What is Milan known for?
Milan is known for many things but stands out for three in particular. It is the fashion capital of Italy and one of the most important fashion cities in the world.
It is also home to priceless works of art such as the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
Last but not least, Milan is known for being the economic heart of Italy, because of the many industries based in the city and surrounding area.
Milan a fashion capital
Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals and is home to the headquarters of many high fashion brands, like Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Armani just to name a few.
The best area to catch a glimpse of their creations is the so-called ‘Quadrilatero della moda’, a city center neighborhood with all the most famous boutiques.
Top tip: if you want to really tap into the fashion world, come to Milan during fashion week. t is one of the best times to visit Milan for fashion lovers!
You are never overdressed in Milan
Fashion is hugely popular in the city and the Milanese are considered among the most fashion-conscious (and stylish) in the whole of Italy.
For the visitor, this makes for a great excuse to show off your best outfit: there is no such thing as being overdressed here!
Milan is the wealthiest city in Italy
And so are its inhabitants! It is also the most expensive city in Italy.
Milan has one of the most important opera houses in the world
Milan is home to Europe’s largest opera house, La Scala, which attracts renown Directors, musicians and music lovers from all over the world.
From the outside, La Scala doesn’t seem a particular impressive theater but don’t let its plain exterior fool you.
The inside of the theater is stunning and on gala and concert night a very strict elegant dress code is enforced.
Milan used to be on water
Milan used to have many canals connecting the Ticino river with lake Como and Maggiore.
The canals were built over 700 years and were completed in the XIX century.
However, they were soon closed to make space for cars and nowadays only a few of them are left.
They are called Naviglio Grande, Naviglio Pavese, Naviglio Martesana and they are a very popular place for nights out, especially in the summer!
You can find out how to include ‘i Navigli’ in your Milan itinerary here.
Leonardo da Vinci built the first water lock in Milan
Leonardo lived in Milan for many years and produced here many of its creations.
As well as the Last supper, the most famous of all in Milan, he built here the first water lock, in use in the Navigli.
Milan dates back to 600 B.C.
Milan has very ancient origins and it is said to date back to 600 BC!
The Romans called it Mediolanum, the root of which name can still be found in the modern name of the city
It took over 500 years to build its duomo
Rome wasn’t built in a day but neither was Milan! The construction of its duomo alone took over 500 years!
It has over 3400 sculptures and some are quite recent: one looks very much like the Statue of Liberty in NYC. Try spot it, can you see it?
Milan has a lucky bulla bull that brings you luck
If you are in need of a little luck or have a special wish, there is a place in Milan that may help you.
Go the Gallery and look for a picture of a bull on the ground – it is very big, you cannot miss it!
Put your heel on the private parts of the bull and twirl three times. This odd behavior is said to bring you luck – local students on their way to their finals do it all the time!
Milan has the oldest skyscraper in Italy
Milan was the first city in Italy to have its own skyscraper, the Grattacielo Pirelli.
While old, this is not the tallest in the city. The tallest skyscraper in Milan is currently the one called UniCredit Tower, which is 231 meters high
Milan has an incredible tram network
The Milan tram network is famous for being one of the most developed in Western Europe and it is still functioning.
Milan trams are yellow and a fun mean of transport to discover the city.
Milan has many ghosts
If you want to meet a ghost, Milan can be the right place for you as it is said to have a few, roaming its streets.
Carlina is said to roam inside the duomo, dressed in black, Cecilia Gallerani is said to inhabit the ‘Piccolo Teatro’ and the castle is said to have its own ghost, the ‘veiled dame’: if you smell violets while in the castle or park, you are probably near her!
Milan is great for football lovers
Milan is a dream for football lovers as it has not one but two excellent soccer teams: Milan and Inter.
They both play in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (better known as San Siro), which is open to visitors.
Milan has a church decorated with bones
The most famous church in Milan is the Duomo but the most peculiar must be the Church of San Bernardino Alle Ossa, which is decorated with human skulls and bones (Ossa in Italian = bones)
The symbol of Milan is called ‘biscione’
The symbol of the city of Milan is called ‘biscione’ and looks like a serpent with a crown and a child in its mouth!
The symbol dates back to the Middle Ages and remembers a time when a dragon was said to live in the city and feed on young kids.
Legend tells us that the Visconti Family, one of the most important in Milan, eventually managed to kill it, saving the city.
Milan is famous for aperitivo
Aperitivo is a quintessential Milan tradition: it is a light meal (sometimes not so light) that Italian enjoy before dinner or, sometimes, instead.
While not originally from Milan, the Milanese embraced it and turned it into a worldwide success.
You can learn how to enjoy aperitivo like an Italian here
Milan has unique food
Milan has delicious food and some are peculiar to the city. The most important food Milan is known for are: Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron risotto), Ossobuco (meat and bone marrow), Cotoletta alla milanese (fried chicken) and Panettone (christmas cake).
Milan is the second largest city in Italy
Milan is the second largest city in Italy (the first is Rome) and counts a little over 1.4 Million inhabitants
Milan is empty in August
If you come to Milan in august you will find the street of the city almost deserted!
This is because of the Milanese all flock to the lakes and the mountains nearby for heir summer holidays.
If in town at this time, it is a good idea to join them: these are the best and easiest day trips from Milan
I hope you enjoyed this quick list of fun facts about Milan. Safe travels!