Milan (/, also US: /, Milanese: [miˈlãː]; Italian: Milano [miˈlaːno] (listen)) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,395,274 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,250,315. Its continuously built-up urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan) has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles). The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.
Milan is considered a leading alpha global city, with strengths in the field of the art, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's stock exchange and the headquarters of national and international banks and companies. In terms of GDP, it has the third-largest economy among European cities after Paris and London, but the fastest in growth among the three, and is the wealthiest among European non-capital cities. Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Milan is considered one of the leading economic hub of Southern Europe after Madrid. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and one of the "Four Motors for Europe".
The city has been recognized as one of the world's four fashion capitals thanks to several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently among the world's biggest in terms of revenue, visitors and growth. It hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students. Milan is the destination of 8 million overseas visitors every year, attracted by its museums and art galleries that include some of the most important collections in the world, including major works by Leonardo da Vinci. The city is served by a large number of luxury hotels and is the fifth-most starred in the world by Michelin Guide. The city is home to two of Europe's most successful football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, and one of Italy's main basketball teams, Olimpia Milano. Milan, along with the ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The etymology of the name Milan (Lombard: Milan [miˈlãː]) remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain). However, some scholars believe that lanum comes from the Celtic root lan, meaning an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word llan, meaning "a sanctuary or church", ultimately cognate to English/German Land) in which Celtic communities used to build shrines. Hence Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a Celtic tribe. Indeed, about sixty Gallo-Roman sites in France bore the name "Mediolanum", for example: Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum). In addition, another theory links the name to the boar sow (the Scrofa semilanuta) an ancient emblem of the city, fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as "half-wool", explained in Latin and in French.
The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar; therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool." Alciato credits Ambrose for his account.