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Milan is a city in Italy and the capital of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population which is the fifth largest in the European Union with an estimated population of 4,300,000. The Milan metropolitan area, by far the largest in Italy, is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 7,400,000.
Milan is recognised as a world fashion and design capital, with a major global influence in commerce, industry, music, sport, literature, art and media, making it one of GaWC's major Alpha world cities. The Lombard metropolis is especially famous for its fashion houses and shops - such as along Via Monte Napoleone and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo - reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall. The city has a rich cultural heritage and legacy, a vibrant nightlife and has a unique cuisine - it is home to numerous famous dishes, such as the Panettone Christmas cake and the risotto alla Milanese. The city has a particularly famous musical, particularly operatic, tradition, being the home of several important composers (such as Giuseppe Verdi) and theatres (such as the Teatro alla Scala). Milan is also well-known for containing several important museums, universities, academies, palaces, churches and libraries - such as the Academy of Brera and the Castello Sforzesco and two renowned football teams: A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano. This makes Milan one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, with over 1.914 million foreign arrivals to the city in 2008. The city hosted the 1906 World Exposition and will host the 2015 Universal Exposition.
Milan experiences a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with some continental characteristics. This is typical of Northern Italy's inland plains, where hot, humid summers and cold, damp winters prevail, unlike the Mediterranean climate characteristic of the rest of Italy.
Milan is undergoing an urban re-design. Construction projects are under way to rehabilitate disused industrial areas on the periphery. The schemes include the addition to the Teatro alla Scala; the CityLife project in the old "fiera" site; the new quarter Santa Giulia; and the Porta Nuova project in the Garibaldi-Repubblica zone. Many famous architects participate, such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas and Daniel Libeskind. The tasks will change the skyline of Milan, which would no longer be dominated by the Duomo and the Pirelli Tower.
Milan is one of EU's most important tourist destinations, also being the 7th best city in Europe in terms of touristic reputation, attractions and branding; with 1.902 million arrivals in 2007 and 1.914 million in 2008, it places itself 42nd and 52nd respectively, most visited city in the world. The city boasts several popular tourist attractions, such as the city's Duomo and Piazza, the Teatro alla Scala, the San Siro Stadium, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Castello Sforzesco, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Via Monte Napoleone. Most tourists visit sights such as Milan Cathedral, the Castello Sforzesco and the Teatro alla Scala, however, other main sights such as the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, the Navigli and the Brera Academy and district are less visited and prove to be less popular. The city also has numerous hotels, including the ultra-luxurious Town House Galleria, which is the world's first seven-star hotel, ranked officially by the Société Générale de Surveillance, and one of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Milan is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, along with New York, Paris, Rome and London. Most of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are currently headquartered in the city. Numerous international fashion labels also operate shops in Milan, including an Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store which has become a main consumer attraction. Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year, just like other international centres such as Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York. Milan's main upscale fashion district is the quadrilatero della moda (literally, "fashion quadrilateral"), where the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia) are held. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza del Duomo, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires are other important shopping streets and squares. Mario Prada, founder of Prada was even born here, helping to cultivate its position as a world fashion capital.
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