MILAN (Ital. Milano, Ger. Mailand, anc. Mediolanum, q.v.), a city of Lombardy, Italy, capital of the province of Milan, 93 m. by rail E.N.E. of Turin. Pop. (1881), 321,839; (1906), 560,613. It is the seat of an archbishop, the headquarters of the II. army corps, the chief financial centre of Italy and the wealthiest manufacturing and commercial town in the country. It stands on the little river Olona, near the middle of the Lombard plain, 400 ft. above sea-level.
The plain around Milan is extremely fertile, owing at once to the richness of the alluvial soil deposited by the Po, Ticino, Olona and Adda, and to the excellent system of irrigation. Seen from the top of the cathedral, the plain presents the appearance of a vast garden divided into square plots by rows of mulberry or poplar trees. To the east this plain stretches in an unbroken level, as far as the eye can follow it, towards Venice and the Adriatic; on the southern side the line of the Apennines from Bologna to Genoa closes the view; to the west rise the Maritime, Cottian and Graian Alps, with Monte Viso as their central point; while northward are the Pennine, Helvetic and Rhaetian Alps, of which Monte Rosa, the Saasgrat and Monte Leone are the most conspicuous features. In the plain itself lie many small villages; and here and there a larger town like Monza or Saronno, or a great building like the Certosa of Pavia, makes a white point upon the greenery. The climate is changeable and trying; in summer it is intensely hot, in winter very cold. Snow is often seen, and the thermometer is frequently below freezing-point.
In shape Milan is a fairly regular polygon, and its focus is the splendid Piazza del Duomo, from which a number of broad modern streets radiate in all directions. These streets are connected by an inner circle of boulevards, constructed just outside the canal, which marks the site of the town moat. The arches of Porta Nuova are almost the last trace of the inner circuit, constructed after the destruction of the city by Frederick Barbarossa, to which also belonged the Porta dei Fabbri, demolished in 1900. Curious reliefs from the Porta Romana are to be seen in the museum. Within this circle the majority of the streets are narrow and crooked, while those between it and the bastions, though broader on the whole, have but little regularity. An outer circle of boulevards, planted with trees and commanding the view of the suburbs, lies just beyond the present walls of the city, erected by the Spaniards in the 16th century; the entire length of these boulevards is traversed by an electric tramway 7 m. long.
Occupying one end of the Piazza del Duomo is the famous cathedral. It is built of brick cased in marble from the quarries which Gian Galeazzo Visconti gave in perpetuity to the cathedral chapter. It was begun in 1386. The name of the original architect is unknown, but it is certain that many German master-masons were called to Milan to assist the Italian builders. It was then the largest church in existence, and now, after St Peter’s at Rome and the cathedral of Seville, the Duomo of Milan is the largest church in Europe; it covers an area of 14,000 sq. yds. and can hold 40,000 people. The interior is 486 ft. long, 189 ft. wide; the nave is 157 ft. high, and the distance from the pavement to the top of the tower is 356 ft. The style is Gothic, very elaborately decorated, but it shows many peculiarities, for the work was continued through several centuries and after many designs by many masters, notably by Amadeo, who carried out the octagonal cupola (the pinnacle of which dates from 1774), and by Tibaldi, who laid down the pavement and designed a baroque façade. This last feature was begun after Tibaldi’s design in 1615, but was not finished till 1805, when Napoleon caused the work to be resumed. With its Renaissance windows and portals this façade, though good in itself, was utterly out of keeping with the general style of the church, and in 1900 the removal of the inharmonious features was begun, to be replaced in a style strictly in accordance with the Gothic style of the rest of the building from the designs of Giuseppe Brentano. In shape the church is cruciform, with double aisles to the nave and aisles to the transepts. The roof is supported by fifty-two pillars with canopied niches for statues instead of capitals; the great windows of the choir, reputed to be the largest in the world, are filled with stained glass of 1844. To the right of the entrance is the tomb of Archbishop Heribert, the champion of Milanese liberty, While beside him rests Archbishop Otto Visconti, the founder of that family as a reigning house. The large bronze candelabrum in the left transept is said to be 13th century work. In a crypt under the choir lies the body of the cardinal saint Carlo Borromeo, who consecrated the cathedral in 1577. It is contained in a rock-crystal shrine, encased in silver, and is vested in full pontifical robes blazing with jewels. The roof of the cathedral is built of blocks of marble, and the various levels are reached by staircases carried up the buttresses; it is ornamented with a profusion of turrets, pinnacles and statues, of which last there are said to be no fewer than 4440, of very various styles and periods. In front of the cathedral rises a colossal bronze equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II.
There are two noteworthy palaces in the Piazza del Duomo. The first is the Palazzo Reale dating from 1772, but occupying the site of the earliest mansion of the Viscontis and the Sforza; its great hall is a handsome chamber with a gallery supported by caryatides. Built into the palace is the ancient church of San Gottardo, a Romanesque building which was built by Azzone Visconti in 1328–1339, and was the scene of the murder of Giovanni Maria Visconti in 1412. Its campanile is a beautiful example of early Lombard terra-cotta work. The second palace is that of the archbishops, the fine façade of which is the work of Fabio Magnone. It has an older north colonnade, by some attributed to Bramante, but, like many other buildings, without sufficient evidence, and a fine court with double colonnades by Tibaldi, to whom the back façade is due. The Palazzo della Ragione, erected in the Piazza dei Mercanti, just west of the Piazza del Duomo, the central point of the medieval city, in 1223–1238 by the podesta, Oldrado da Tresseno, whose equestrian portrait in high relief adorns it, still exists in fine preservation. It is a brick edifice with a portico on the ground floor and a large hall on the upper. Close by to the south is the beautiful Loggia degli Osii, erected in 1316, with two loggie or open porticos, one above the other, in black and white marble.
Among the most interesting buildings in Milan is the ancient church of S. Ambrogio. Here St Ambrose baptized St Augustine; here he closed the doors against the emperor Theodosius after his cruel massacre at Thessalonica; here the Lombard kings and the early German emperors caused themselves to be crowned with the iron crown of Lombardy, and the pillar at which they took their coronation oaths is preserved under the lime-trees in the piazza. The church was built by St Ambrose early in the 4th-century (on the site of a temple of Bacchus it is said), but as it stands it is a Romanesque basilica of the 12th century, recently well restored (like many other churches in Milan), with a brick exterior, like so many churches of Milan and Lombardy, curious galleries over the façade, and perhaps the most perfectly preserved atrium in existence. The wooden door belongs to the original 4th century church; it has carvings with scenes from the life of David. In a great silver reliquary (modern) in the crypt lie the bones of St Ambrose, above which rises the high altar, which retains its original decorations, the only intact example of its period (835). These consist of reliefs in gold and silver enriched with enamel and gems, and are the work of one Vuolfvinus, a German. The baldacchino, with sculptures of the 12th or early 13th century, is borne by four ancient columns of porphyry, with 9th-century capitals. In the tribune are fine mosaics of the 9th century, which, Burckhardt remarks, completely break with Byzantine tradition. In the side chapel of S. Satiro are even earlier mosaics (5th century); there are also fine frescoes by Borgognone and Bernardino Lanini. The lofty brick campanile (789–824) is among the earliest in Italy, and is decorated with coloured majolica disks. The court of the neighbouring canonica is by Bramante, and so also may be the design of the cloisters of the monastery of S. Ambrogio, now the military hospital. S. Lorenzo, in the south portion of the town, dates from before A.D. 538, thus being practically contemporary with S. Vitale at Ravenna (though Burckhardt considers it to belong to about A.D. 300, and to be a part of the thermae or palace of Maximian), but was burnt down and restored in 1071 (in the restoration Corinthian capitals were used as bases). Thirty-three years later part of it collapsed, and a second fire followed in 1124. It was restored, but collapsed again in 1573, and a great part of it had to be reconstructed, including the dome (1574–1591). (The chapel of S. Aquilino, possibly a part of the original structure, contains mosaics of the 5th or 6th century.) In plan the church is an octagon, supported at the corners by four square towers in brickwork, which belong to the original structure. The interior with its two orders is a very fine one, and its influence on Renaissance architects has been very considerable. S. Eustorgio, one of the largest Gothic churches in Milan, with some Romanesque survivals, dates, as it stands, with its campanile, from the end of the 13th century, and has a modern façade in the old style. It has some interesting medieval works of sculpture, and a fine chapel (Cappella Portinari), with a good dome and a beautiful frieze of angels, built by Michelozzo in 1462–1468, and containing the splendid sculptured tomb (a marble sarcophagus with reliefs, supported by statues) of Peter Martyr (q.v.), the masterpiece of Giovanni di Balduccio of Pisa (1339); the walls of the chapel are decorated with important frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa of Brescia. S. Simpliciano, too, though originally Romanesque, is now in the main Gothic, and has been much altered.
S. Vincenzo in Prato (833), now restored to its basilican form, with nave and two aisles divided by columns and three apses, and with small, flat arcading on the exterior, which is in brickwork; S. Satiro, founded in 879; S. Babila, also restored to its original form, &c., are interesting for their Romanesque architecture. The small domed structure on the left of S. Satiro is earlier than the church, while the campanile is part of the original structure, though preceded in date by that of S. Ambrogio, which is one of the earliest genuine campanili in Italy (789–824). The reconstruction of the church of S. Satiro was Bramante's earliest work in Milan (after 1476). The choir is painted in perspective (there was no room to build one), the earliest example of this device, which was so frequently used in baroque architecture. The octagonal sacristy (before 1488), with niches below and a gallery above, with stucco decorations by Bramante himself (the frieze with putti and medallions is ascribed to Caradosso), is a masterly work, and one of his best. The Cistercian abbey-church of Chiaravalle, 51 m. south of Milan, is a fine brick building in the plan of a Latin cross, with nave and two aisles with round pillars, with a lofty domed tower, in the so-called Romanesque Transition style, having comparatively slender round pillars and cross vaulting, while the exterior is still quite Romanesque. It was founded in 1135 by St Bernard and consecrated in 1221. It is interesting as the model for the plan of many other churches in Lombardy, e.g. S. Maria del Carmine and S. Francesco in Pavia. S. Marco, modernized inside, still retains a beautiful façade of 1254 and a tower—in brick as elsewhere—and contains another tomb by Balduccio. S. Maria Incoronata is unique as a double Gothic church, in the horizontal sense (1451–1487).
Of the secular buildings of the beginning of the 15th century, the most notable is the Palazzo Borromeo, which still preserves its Gothic courtyard. It has a good collection of Lombard pictures. At no great distance from S. Ambrogio, in the Corso Magenta, is the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built by the Dominicans about 1460, to which the Gothic façade and nave belong. The choir, crossing, and beautiful sixteen-sided dome, with the elegant external decorations in terra-cotta and marble, are by Bramante (c. 1492). Adjoining the church is the convent, long used as barracks. Leading from the fine cloisters, also the work of Bramante, is the former refectory, on the walls of which Leonardo da Vinci painted his celebrated “Last Supper,” a work which is unfortunately in a bad state of preservation.
Farther along the Corso, but nearer the Piazza del Duomo, is San Maurizio, the interior of which is covered by exceedingly effective frescoes by Luini and his contemporaries. The interior was erected by Giovanni Dolcebuono, a pupil of Bramante, to whom is also due S. Maria presso S. Celso (the interior and the baroque façade are by Alessi). Thence the Via Bollo leads to the Piazza della Rosa, in which is situated the renowned Biblioteca Ambrosiana, erected in 1603–1609 by Fabio Manzone, to whom the Palazzo del Senato is also due, rich in MSS. In the same building there is also a picture gallery, in which is Raphael’s cartoon for his fresco the “School of Athens” in the Vatican. Situated just within the Naviglio, the canal encircling the inner town (adjacent to San Nazaro, which contains Bernardino Lanini’s [fl. 1546] masterpiece, the “Martyrdom of St Catherine”), is the Ospedale Maggiore. This institution, which can accommodate 2400 patients, was founded in the reign of Francesco Sforza. The principal court (there are nine in all) is surrounded by fine arcades of the 17th century by Ricchini. The entire edifice is covered externally with terra-cotta, and its façade, designed by the Florentine Antonio Averulino (Filarete) and begun in 1457, is superior to any other of the kind in Milan.
The city is rich in works of art, for Milan, with the introduction of the early Renaissance style by Filarete and Michelozzo after 1450, became the home of a Lombard school of sculpture, among the chief masters of which may be mentioned Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, or Omodeo, of Pavia (1447–1522), Cristoforo Solari, and, the last of them, Agostino Busti, known as Bambaia (c. 1480–1548), whose work may be seen in the cathedrals of Como and Milan and in the Certosa di Pavia. Subsequently, towards the close of the 15th century, the refined court of Lodovico Sforza attracted such celebrated men as Bramante, the architect, Gauffino Franchino, the founder of one of the earliest musical academies, and Leonardo da Vinci, from whose school came Luini, Boltraffio, Gaudenzio Ferrari, Marco d’Oggiono, &c. Later, Pellegrino Tibaldi and Galeazzo Alessi of Genoa (the former a man of very wide activity) were the chief architects, and Leone Leoni of Arezzo the chief sculptor. In still more recent times Beccaria (1738–1794) as a jurist, Monti (1754–1828) as a poet and Manzoni (1785–1873) as a novelist, have won for the Milanese a high reputation.
The picture gallery of the Brera, one of the finest in Italy, occupies an imposing palace with a good courtyard by Ricchini. It was built as a Jesuit college in 1651, but since 1776 has been the seat of the Accademia di Belle Arti, and contains besides the picture gallery a library of some 300,000 volumes, a collection of coins numbering about 60,000, and an excellent observatory founded in 1766. The Brera Gallery, the nucleus of which was formed in 1806, possesses Raphael’s famous “Sposalizio,” and many pictures and frescoes by Luini, Guadenzio Ferrari and Brarnantino; the collection of the works of Carlo Crivelli (fl. 1480) affords an instructive survey of his work, which connects the Paduan school with the Venetian, here particularly well represented by works of Paolo Veronese, Paris Bordone, Gentile Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, Bonifazio, Moroni and Carpaccio. Additions are continually made to it.
The Castel Sforzesco, or Castle of Milan, stands in the Parco Nuovo; it was built in 1450 by Francesco Sforza on the site of one erected by Galeazzo II. Visconti (1355–1378) and demolished in 1447 by the populace after the death of Filippo Maria Visconti. After suffering many vicissitudes and being partially destroyed more than once, it was restored—including especially the splendid entrance tower by Antonio Averulino (Filarete, 1451–1453), destroyed by a powder explosion in 1521—in the 15th-century style in 1893 sqq., and it is now a most imposing pile. Some of the fine windows with their terra-cotta decorations are preserved. The archaeological museum is housed here on the ground floor; besides Roman and pre-Roman objects it contains fragments of the 9th century basilica of Santa Maria in Aurona, one of the first examples of vaulted Lombard architecture; the bas-reliefs of the ancient Porta Romana of Milan, representing the return of the Milanese in 1171 after the defeat of Barbarossa; the remains of the church of Santa Maria in Brera, the work of Balduccio da Pisa; the grandiose sepulchral monument of Bernabò Visconti formerly in the church of San Giovanni in Conca; the tomb of Regina della Scala, the wife of Bernabò; the funeral monument of the Rusca family; the great portal of the palace of Pigello Portinari, seat of the Banco Mediceo at Milan, a work of Michelozzo; a series of Renaissance sculptures, including works by Amadeo Mantegazza, Agostino Busti (surnamed Bambaia), including fragments of the tomb of Gaston de Foix. Several of the rooms occupied by the archaeological museum bear traces of the decorations executed under Galeazzo Maria and Lodovico il Moro, and one of them has a splendid ceiling with trees in full foliage, painted so as to cover the whole vaulting, ascribed to Leonardo da Vinci. In the upper rooms is placed a large collection of Milanese and central Italian ceramics, stuffs, furniture, bronzes, ivories, enamels, glass and historical relics; together with a picture gallery containing works by Vincenzo Foppa, Gianpietrino, Boltraffio, Crivelli, Pordenone, Morone, Cariani, Correggio, Antonello da Messina, Tiepolo, Guardi, Potter, Van Dyck and Ribeira.
The finest of the modern thoroughfares of Milan is the Via Dante, constructed in 1888; it runs from the Piazza de’ Mercanti to the spacious Foro Bonaparte, and thence to the Parco Nuovo, the great public garden in which stands the Castello Sforzesco. This park was once a national drilling ground, which was taken over by the municipality with a view to erecting upon it a new residential quarter, rendered necessary by the phenomenal growth of the city during the last twenty-five years of the 19th century. This design was happily abandoned, and around the Parco Nuovo has grown up a new quarter of wide streets, spacious gardens and private villas.
To the north of the castle is the Arena, a kind of circus erected by Napoleon in 1805; while facing the castle on the opposite side of the park is the Arco della Pace, begun by Napoleon in 1806 from the designs of Cagnola to mark the beginning of the Simplon Road, but finished by the Austrians in 1833. Leading east-north-east from the Piazza del Duomo, the centre of Milanese traffic, especially of electric trams, is the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Connecting the piazza with the neighbouring Piazza della Scala is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a great arcade in the form of a Latin cross, with an octagon in the centre, crowned at the height of 160 ft. with a glass cupola; it is roofed with glass throughout, and is 320 yds. long, 16 yds. wide and 94 ft. high. It has splendid façades at each end, and was constructed in 1865–1867 at the cost of £320,000; it is the finest of its kind in Europe.
In the Via Morone near the Piazza della Scala is a collection of art treasures bequeathed to the town in 1879 by a Milanese patrician, the Cavaliere Poldi-Pezzoli. It comprises valuable pictures, textile fabrics, arms, armour and a number of antiquities, and is exhibited in the house once occupied by the founder. In the middle of the neighbouring Piazza della Scala stands Magni’s monument of Leonardo da Vinci (1872). Opposite is the celebrated Teatro della Scala, built in 1778 on the site of a church founded by Beatrice della Scala, wife of Bernabò Visconti. After the San Carlo at Naples it is the largest theatre in Europe, and can seat 3600 spectators. Looking on to the piazza is the fine Palazzo Marino, the seat of the municipality since 1861; it was built by Galeazzo Alessi in 1558, to whom the side façade and the court are due, but was not completed until 1890, when the main façade was erected by Luca Beltrami. S. Fedele by Tibaldi (1569) is close by. Milan has a royal scientific and literary academy with a faculty of philosophy, a royal technical institute, a school of veterinary science, a royal school of agriculture, a polytechnic with the Bocconi commercial school (founded 1898) and numerous other learned and educational institutions. Milan has long been famous as one of the great musical centres of Europe, and numerous students resort here for their musical education. There are many philanthropic institutions, the most interesting of which is the Albergo Popolare, an establishment conducted on lines similar to the houses established in England by Lord Rowton in 1894. Sport and athletics are provided by a number of clubs, notably the Touring Club Italiano, founded in 1894.
The modern industrial development of Milan, with its suburbs and neighbouring towns, such as Monza, Gallarate, Saronno, Busto Arsizio and Legnano, has been noteworthy. Machine-making on a large scale is carried on by firms widely celebrated for the construction of locomotives, railway trucks and carriages, steam-boilers and motors, turbines, pumps, metal bridges and roofs. Minor industries are represented by workshops for the production of surgical, musical and geodetic instruments; of telephone and telegraph accessories; dynamos, sewing-machines, bicycles and automobiles. There is also a large carriage industry. In textile industries silk holds the first place. The amount of silk handled and woven in Milan is greater than that dealt with at Lyons. Spinning and twisting are as highly developed as the weaving industry. Milan is also the centre of the Italian cotton industry. Cotton-weaving, dyeing and printing are extensively carried on. Linen, flax, jute and wool are also spun and woven. The Milanese manufactures of articles in caoutchouc and of electric cables have acquired a world-wide reputation. In typography Milan is renowned principally for its musical editions and for its heliotype and zincotype establishments. There is, besides, a huge production of posters for advertisement. The manufacture of furniture of all kinds is still extensively carried on, Milan being the chief Lombard market and centre of exportation. The towns of Cantu, Meda, Lissone and Carugo supply Milanese firms with most of their merchandise, the furniture being made by the workmen at their own homes with materials supplied by the Milanese buyers, who also advance the capital necessary for working expenses. Theatrical costumes and appliances are also made in Milan, which is an important theatrical centre. House industry is still widely diffused in Milan itself, especially as regards working in gold, silver, vulcanite, bronze and leather. The motive power for much of the house industry is supplied by electricity. The electricity is partly furnished by hydraulic works at Paderno, 24 m. from Milan; the horse-power is continually being increased owing to new needs. Gas is also much used. Milan is also a centre of the export trade in cheese; chocolate, biscuits, &c., are also manufactured.
The municipal schools of Milan are as well organized as any in Italy, and the exhibit in connexion with them at the great international exhibition of 1906 was of interest. There were, in 1907, 76 buildings for schools and 47,968 pupils, while in the evening and holiday classes there were 10,724 older pupils; 2,109,920 free rations and 215,135 paid rations were distributed to 16,526 pupils, and douches were supplied. Pizzoli's Tavolo Psicoscopico for examining the mental qualities of the pupils is of interest. The international exhibition of 1906 held in Milan was of considerable importance, all the leading states of the world taking part in it. The retrospective exhibition of means of transport was interesting in view of the recent opening of the Simplon tunnel, the occasion of the exhibition. Among the most noteworthy exhibits were those of machinery, of automobiles and bicycles, of agriculture, of transports by sea, of modern art and architecture, of Italian home industries, of the city of Milan; besides which, all the countries exhibiting had their own separate pavilions.
Until 1898 the octroi circle did not extend beyond the walls; but in that year it was found necessary, owing to the growth of the city and of municipal expenditure, to include the external quarters or Corpi Santi (a name also applied to the extramural portions of Cremona and Pavia), with their large industrial population. Since that time municipal finance has been in a prosperous condition.
The water supply, from wells some 150 ft. deep in the sub-soil, is fairly good; one of the towers of the Castello Sforzesco is used as a distributing centre, while the sewerage system consists of 48 m. of sewers on the single channel principle, with collectors discharging into the Vettabia, a tributary of the Lambro.
In 1860 a large cemetery, the Cimitero Monumentale, was opened, but found to be insufficient, it is reserved for important monuments, that of Musocco, 3 m. from the city, being used for general purposes.
History.—(For earlier history see Mediolanum).—After the establishment of the Lombard capital at Pavia in 569 Milan remained the centre of Italian opposition to the foreign conquest. The Lombards were Arians, and the archbishops of Milan from the days of Ambrose had been always orthodox. Though the struggle was unequal, their attitude of resolute opposition to the Lombards gained for them great weight among the people, who felt that their archbishop was a power around whom they might gather for the defence of their liberty and religion. All the innate hatred of the foreigner went to strengthen the hands of the archbishops, who slowly acquired, in addition to their spiritual authority, powers military, executive and judicial. These powers they came to administer through their delegates, called viscounts. When the Lombard kingdom fell before the Franks under Charlemagne in 774, the archbishops of Milan were still further strengthened by the close alliance between Charles and the Church, which gave a sort of confirmation to their temporal authority, and also by Charles's policy of breaking up the great Lombard fiefs and dukedoms, for which he substituted the smaller counties. Under the confused government of Charles's immediate successors the archbishop was the only real power in Milan. But there were two classes of difficulties in the situation, ecclesiastical and political; and their presence had a marked effect on the development of the people and the growth of the commune, which was the next stage in the history of Milan. On the one hand the archbishop was obliged to contend against the heretics or against fanatical reformers who found a following among the people; and on the other, since the archbishop was the real power in the city, the emperor, the nobles and the people each desired that he should be of their party; and to whichever party he did belong he was certain to find himself violently opposed by the other two. From these causes it sometimes happened that there were two archbishops, and therefore no central control, or no archbishop at all, or else an archbishop in exile. The chief result of these difficulties was that a spirit of independence and a capacity of judging and acting for themselves was developed in the people of Milan. The terror of the Hunnish invasion, in 899, further assisted the people in their progress towards freedom, for it compelled them to take arms and to fortify their city, rendering Milan more than ever independent of the feudal lords who lived in their castles in the country. The tyranny of these nobles drove the peasantry and smaller vassals to seek the protection for life and property, the equality of taxation and of justice, which could be found only inside the walled city and under the rule of the archbishop. Thus Milan grew populous, and learned to govern itself. Its inhabitants became for the first time Milanese, attached to the standard of St Ambrose—no longer subjects of a foreign conqueror, but a distinct people, with a municipal life and prospects of their own. For the further growth of the commune, the action of the great archbishop, Heribert (1018–1045), the establishment of the carroccio, the development of Milanese supremacy in Lombardy, the destruction of Lodi, Como, Pavia and other neighbouring cities, the exhibition of free spirit and power in the Lombard league, and the battle of Legnano, see the articles Italy and Lombards. In 1157 an almost circular moat, still preserved in the inner canal or Naviglio, was constructed round the town; but in 1162 Frederick Barbarossa took and almost entirely destroyed the city, only a few churches surviving. The city with its walls was, however, rebuilt five years later by the allied cities of Bergamo, Brescia, Mantua and Verona.
After the battle of Legnano, in 1174, although the Lombard cities failed to reap the fruit of their united action, and fell to mutual jealousy once more, Milan internally began to grow in material prosperity. After the peace of Constance (1183) the city walls were extended; the arts flourished, each in its own quarter, under a syndic who watched the interests of the trade. The manufacture of armour was the most important industry. During the struggles with Barbarossa, when freedom seemed on the point of being destroyed, many Milanese vowed themselves, their goods and their families to the Virgin should their city come safely out of her troubles. Hence arose the powerful fraternity of the “Umiliati,” who established their headquarters at the Brera, and began to develop the wool trade, and subsequently gave the first impetus to the production of silk. From this period also date the irrigation works which render the Lombard plain a fertile garden. The government of the city consisted of (a) a parlamento or consiglio grande, including all who possessed bread and wine of their own—a council soon found to be unmanageable owing to its size, and reduced first to 2000, then to 1500 and finally to 800 members; (b) a credenza or committee of 12 members, elected in the grand council, for the despatch of urgent or secret business, (c) the consuls, the executive, elected for one year, and compelled to report to the great council at the term of their office.
The bitter and well-balanced rivalry between the nobles and the people, and the endless danger to which it exposed the city owing to the fact that the nobles were always ready to claim the protection of their feudal chief, the emperor, brought to the front two noble families as protagonists of the contending factions the Torriani of Valsassina, and the Visconti, who derived their name from the office of delegates which they had held under the archbishops. After the battle of Cortenova, in 1237, where Frederick II. defeated the Guelph army of the Milanese and captured their carroccio, Pagano della Torre rallied and saved the remnants of the Milanese. This act recommended him to popular favour, and he was called to the government of the city—but only for the distinct purpose of establishing the “catasta,” a property tax which should fall with equal incidence on every citizen. This was a democratic measure which marked the party to which the Torriani belonged and rendered them hateful to the nobility. Pagano died in 1241. His nephew Martino followed as podesta in 1256, and in 1259 as signore of Milan—the first time such a title was heard in Italy. The nobles, who had gathered round the Visconti, and who threatened to bring Ezzelino da Romano, the Ghibelline tyrant of Padua, into the city, were defeated by Martino, and 900 of their number were captured. Martino was followed by two other Torriani, Filippo his brother (1263–1265) and Napoleone his cousin (1265–1277), as lords of Milan. Napoleone obtained the title of imperial vicar from Rudolph of Hapsburg. But the nobles under the Visconti had been steadily gathering strength, and Napoleone was defeated at Desio in 1277. He ended his life in a wooden cage at Castel Baradello above Como.
Otto Visconti, archbishop of Milan (1262), the victor of Desio, became lord of Milan, and founded the house of Visconti, who ruled the city—except from 1302 to 1310—till 1447, giving twelve lords to Milan. Otho (1277–1295), Matteo (1310–1322), Galeazzo (1322–1328), Azzo (1328–1339), Lucchino (1339–1349) and Giovanni (1349–1354) followed in succession. Giovanni left the lordship to three nephews—Matteo, Galeazzo and Bernabo. Matteo was killed (1355) by his brothers, who divided the Milanese, Bernabo reigning in Milan (1354–1385) and Galeazzo in Pavia (1354–1378). Galeazzo left a son, Gian Galeazzo, who became sole lord of Milan by seizing and imprisoning his uncle Bernabo. It was under him that the cathedral of Milan and the Certosa di Pavia were begun. He was the first duke of Milan, having obtained that title from the emperor Wenceslaus. His sons Giovanni Maria, who reigned at Milan (1402–1412), and Filippo Maria, who reigned at Pavia (1402–1447), succeeded him. In 1412, on his brother’s death, Filippo united the whole duchy under his sole rule, and attempted to carry out his father’s policy of aggrandizement, but without success.
Filippo was the last male of the Visconti house. At his death a republic was proclaimed, which lasted only three years. In 1450 the general Francesco Sforza, who had married Filippo’s only child Bianca Visconti, became duke of Milan by right of conquest if by any right. Under this duke the castello was rebuilt and the canal of the Martesana, which connects Milan with the Adda, and the Great Hospital were carried out. Francesco was followed by five of the Sforza family. His son Galeazzo Maria (1466–1476) left a son, Gian Galeazzo, a minor, whose guardian and uncle Lodovico (il Moro) usurped the duchy (1479–1500). Lodovico was captured in 1500 by Louis XII. of France, and Milan remained for twelve years under the French crown. In the partial settlement which followed the battle of Ravenna, Massimiliano Sforza, a protégé of the emperor, was restored to the throne of Milan, and held it by the help of the Swiss till 1515, when Francis I. of France reconquered the Milanese by the battle of Marignano, and Massimiliano resigned the sovereignty for a revenue from France. This arrangement did not continue. Charles V. succeeded the emperor Maximilian, and at once disputed the possession of the Milanese with Francis. In 1522 the imperialists entered Milan and proclaimed Francesco Sforza (son of Lodovico). Francesco died in 1535, and with him ended the house of Sforza. From this date till the War of the Spanish Succession (1714) Milan was a dependency of the Spanish crown. At the close of that war it was handed over to Austria; and under Austria it remained till the Napoleonic campaign of 1796. For the results of that campaign, and for the history of Italian progress towards independence, in which Milan played a prominent part by opening the revolution of 1848, with the insurrection of the Cinque Giornate (March 17–22), by which the Austrians were driven out; the reader is referred to the article Italy. The Lombard campaign of 1859, with the battles of Solferino and Magenta, finally made Milan a part of the kingdom of Italy.
Literature.—Pietro Verri, Storia di Milano; Corio, Storia di Milano; Cantù, Illustrazione grande del Lombardo Veneto; the Milanese chroniclers in Muratori’s Rer. Ital. scriptores; Sismondi, Italian Republics; Ferrari, Rivoluzione d’ Italia; Litta, Famiglie celebri, s.v. “Torriani,” “Visconti,” “Sforza” and “Trivulzi”; Muratori, Annali d’Italia; Hallam, History of the Middle Ages; and Mediolanum (4 vols., 1881); L. Beltrami, Il Castello di Milano (Milan, 1894); L. del Mayno, Vicende militari del Castello di Milano (Milan, 1894); F. Malaguzzi Valeri, Milano, 2 vols. (Bergamo, 1906); and C. M. Ady, A History of Milan under the Sforza (1907). (H. F. B.; T.As.)
- See F. Malaguzzi Valeri, G. A. Amadeo, scultore e architetto (Bergamo, 1905).