MILAN, Italy  -  Thousands from Pakistan and other less developed countries have settled in Italy to secure their future and a vast majority has adopted the Milan city as a second home.

The city resembles Pakistan’s Karachi city where one can see people from all parts of the country and the world working like machines all day long.

One can find so many Pakistanis doing petty jobs. Some places give the look of Rawalpindi’s Raja Bazaar where the Pakistanis and Bengalis try to attract customers near the footpaths with their cheap China-made toys.

If one introduces himself as a Pakistani, they become indifferent. “Check with some local,” is a common reply.

Milan, the capital of Lombardy, has a population of 1.3 million people. It is the biggest industrial city of Italy with many different industrial sectors.

It is a magnetic point for designers, artists, photographers and models. Milan has an ancient city centre with high and interesting buildings and palazzos, which is why so many people from all over the world want to see the city of glamour.

For years, pick-pockets have made the city hostage. The police department, like their Pakistani counterpart, seems helpless. “Beware of the pickpockets,” is the only remedy.

Normally, Italian police officials would not give any encouragement once one has been robbed off by a pick-picket. “File a report but don’t expect anything. This (pick-pocketing is a daily issue,” is a readymade answer to all the complainants. Italian officials blame the growing population of gypsies for pick-pocketing.

Milan is, on the whole, a modern city, partly due to the heavy bombings suffered during World War 2.

The Cathedral (Duomo), the Last Supper (for which an online reservation is a must), the Castle (Castello Sforzesco) and the Pinacoteca di Brera (Art Museum) are the absolute must-see monuments.

Because of its location and easy public transport links, Milan can be used as a base to see the rest of the North of Italy, notably the Lake District.

Lakes Como, Maggiore, Lugano and Garda are all easy day trips from Milan. Also very near to Milan is the Ligurian Riviera, a one day trip from Milan could very well be Portofino, where the seriously rich go for seeing the other seriously rich.

Also, Milan is home to two of the strongest Italian football teams, Inter and Milan. Both play at the San Siro stadium, the largest in Italy.

Milan’s origin goes back to 400 BC when Gauls settled and defeated the Etruscans. In 222 BC the city was conquered by Romans and was annexed to the Roman Empire. After 313 AD the year of the Edict of Tolerance towards Christianity, many churches were built and the first bishop was appointed.

Milan has always been a rich and important city. It has always been a place full of various famous artists and offers a particular assortment of churches, buildings and monuments.

There was a change of culture and art in the Renaissance with big a contribution in the period of the neoclassicism. Milan offers a big variety of buildings, monuments and museums. The most important church is the Cathedral which is the third largest church in the world.

It is overall made of marble, with immense statues, arches, pillars, pinnacles. From the roof, you can experience a beautiful panorama of the city. Santa Maria delle Grazie was built between 1466 and 1490 and modified by Bramante.

In the Refectory, there is one of the most famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci: the “Last Supper”. Milan has many historic palazzos like the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) which is situated in the south side of Piazza Duomo.

Milan is the centre of many financial businesses, and its so-called ‘hinterland’ is an avant-garde industrial area.

Fiera Milano, the city’s Exhibition Center and Trade Fair complex is one of the most important in the world. The new fairground, in the north-western suburb of Pero and Rho (opened in April 2005) is Europe’s largest open construction project and makes Fiera Milano the largest trade fair complex in the world.

It is the biggest industrial city of Italy with many different industrial sectors as manufacturing of textiles and garments, car manufactory, chemistry, mechanical tools and heavy machinery. Another important industry is tourism and of course fashion. Have a look at the economy of Milan.

Festival of Sant’Ambrogio takes place once a year, on December 7. Milan celebrates its saint who is Saint Ambrose (Sant’Ambrogio). This day, the day of Saint Ambrose, there is the fair called “O bei! O bei!”

The festival overlaps the opening of the opera season at the Scala. The Carnival Ambrosiano is another event with a typical costume. There are also festivals like the Corteo dei Re Magi on January 6, Tredesin de mars or the Fair of Flowers on March 23.

 

SHAFQAT ALI