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Milan (Italian: Milano Italian pronunciation: [miˈla(ː)no]; Western Lombard: Milan (listen)) in Italy, is the capital of the region of Lombardia and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while the urban area is the fifth largest in the E.U. with an estimated population of 4.3 million[2].

The Milan metropolitan area, by far the largest in Italy, is estimated by OECD to have a population of 7.4 million[3]. Milan is renowned as one of the world capitals of design and fashion.[4] The English word millinery, referring to women's hats, is derived from the name of the city. The Lombard metropolis is famous for its fashion houses and shops (such as along via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo (reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall).

The city hosted the World Exposition in 1906 and will host the Universal Expo in 2015. Inhabitants of Milan are referred to as "Milanese" (Italian: Milanesi or informally Meneghini or Ambrosiani). Milan is one of the world's major financial and business centres, with a 2004 GDP of € 241.2 billion (US$ 312.3 billion) [26] the Milan metropolitan area has the 4th highest GDPs in Europe: were it a country, it would rank as the twenty-eighth largest economy in the world, almost as large as the Austrian economy[27].

FieraMilano complex by Massimiliano Fuksas: it is considered the largest exhibition center in Europe.The city is the seat of the Italian Stock Exchange (the Borsa Italiana) and its hinterland is the largest industrial area in Italy. It was included in a list of ten "Alpha world cities" by Peter J. Taylor and Robert E. Lang of the Brookings Institution in the economic report "U.S. Cities in the 'World City Network'" (Key Findings, Full ReportPDF (940 KB)).

In the late 12th century the arts flourished and the making of armours was the most important industry. This period saw the beginning of those irrigation works which still render the Lombard plain a fertile garden. The development of the wool trade subsequently gave the first impetus to the production of silk.

As in Venice and Florence, the making of luxury goods was an industry of such importance that in the 16th century the city gave its name to the English word “milaner” or “millaner”, meaning fine wares like jewellery, cloth, hats and luxury apparel. By the 19th century, a later variant, “millinery”, had come to mean one who made or sold hats.