A European Business Center

Milan is at the center of the main north-south and east-west European routes. You are never far from global business centers with intercontinental flights from Malpensa Airport. Italy is the linchpin between Europe, the Mediterranean and markets to the south and east in addition to being at the heart of European trade and a gateway to the growing economies of Eastern Europe and Asia by rail and Mediterranean ports.


As it has been throughout many centuries, Milan is a center for many different cultures. In 312 A.D., Emperor Constantine published an Edict in Milan making Christianity the official religion of the Empire. The Barbarian invasions of Attila, the Franks and the Burgundians took place in the fifth and sixth centuries. In 756, the Longobard Kingdom was invaded by Pippin, King of the Franks, whose son Charlemagne was to wear the Iron Crown of the Kings of Lombardy. During the Renaissance, two families ruled Milan: the Visconti (from 1277 to 1447) and the Sforza. In the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the French and the Spanish dominated Milan. In 1797, Napoleon's troops entered Milan. The city became the capital of the Cisalpine Republic and later became the main city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for over half a century. In the nineteenth Century, Milan was the heart of the Risorgimento movement for the unification of Italy. Thousands of years of history contribute to making Milan the international capital it is today. Italy has always played a key role on the international stage. It was home to the signing of the Treaty of Rome to found the European Community, now the European Union. Today, the WHO has offices in Rome, and EU and UN training centers in Turin continue a commitment to Europeanization, internationalization and globalization.

Expo 2015

With the Expo 2015, Milan made itself available to promote the Country’s growth and be an Italian ambassador in the world. 

Milan and its territory represented the ideal candidate, in Italy and in the world, for Expo 2015 because together they: 

  • are situated at the center of an area of about 10 million inhabitants.
  • produce 10% of the domestic GDP (a level equal to Brussels or Madrid), have a per-capita revenue that is almost twice the domestic one and an unemployment level as low as half of Italy’s as a whole. 
  • register 40% of the new innovation patents, equal to the annual production in Boston
  • sell millions of tickets yearly for art, music and cinema shows, with the same population rate of Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona. 
  • house 650 fashion show-rooms, on par with Paris and New York, and is the Italian center for voluntary service and the tertiary industry.

Milan Italy's economic driver

While Rome is Italy's political capital, Milan is the country's economic and financial heart. Fashion, design, finance and media are the advanced sectors that drive Milan's economy.

Fashion and Design

From footwear to clothing, from a scooter to a Ferrari, Italian style is famous around the globe.

Not surprisingly, an Italian city (Turin) was nominated the world's first industrial design capital in 2008. Milan is a European and world fashion center, where the sector includes more than 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms and 6,000 sales outlets, while four weeks each year are dedicated to top shows and other events.

Publishing and media are represented by 700 book publishers, newspapers and magazines and the recording studios of the national broadcaster RAI and the largest private TV company, Mediaset.

Banking and finance. Milan is the home to Italy's main banking groups (198 companies) and over forty foreign banks. The Associazione Bancaria Italiana represents the Italian banking system and Borsa Italiana (225 companies listed on the stock exchange) are both located in the city.

Other key sectors in the city's economy are advanced research in health and biotechnology, chemicals and engineering. The city boasts one of Europe's largest trade fair systems of over 1,600,000 square meters. More than 4.5 million visitors from all over the world flock to around 75 major events each year as well as to the high-tech conference centers. 

Milan is not only about business. It is also a leader in non-profit organizations with 6,000 bodies in the greater Milan area. These provide stimuli to innovation and involvement in many sectors, based on principles of social justice and sustainable development to improve the quality of life of the community. There are values that are shared by Bocconi in its commitment to the growth of society.

Enjoy life

Close to mountains, lakes and the seaside 

If you ever exhaust the leisure opportunities that Milan offers, you still have the entire range of Italian tourist attractions. The Italian Alps are an hour's drive away for skiing, walking or climbing. The lakes and their mild climate and beautiful gardens are even closer. You need only two to three hours by car to enjoy the Mediterranean coast, whether you head to Venice and the Adriatic Sea or the Liguria Riviera with its cozy villages steeped in sun and history.


University & Research

Italy has a tradition of university excellence that dates back to the middle ages. As the first private business university, Bocconi is driving this heritage forward today. Milan has eleven university centers with 44 faculties and 174,000 new students each year, including more than 5,000 from abroad.

This history in education and advanced research goes hand in hand with invention and innovation from the Romans to Leonardo da Vinci and Marconi and continues in recent years with the Nobel Prize awarded to scientists like Rubbia and Levi Montalcini.


The great Italian masters of the past have left their sign on the history of art, followed in the 20th century by internationally influential Futurists and Arte Povera group.

In Milan, you can stroll through the Brera collection, the eclectic Poldi Pezzoli house museum or view contemporary art exhibitions at the Fondazione Prada and the famed Triennale. Milan offers a total of 150 art galleries, 28 museums and 38 theatres. 

World-renowned Milan figures in the arts include Nobel Prize literature winner Dario Fo, the orchestra director Claudio Abbado and the dancer and choreographer Carla Fracci. Opera lovers will be able to enjoy performances at La Scala, while there is also a vast range of concerts from jazz to rock.

Italian architecture is world-famous, from the Colosseum in Rome to the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, to the palaces along the canals of Venice.

This tradition continues today throughout the country with renowned architects like Renzo Piano and the stunning new Pirelli headquarters in Bicocca in Milan.