HISTORY OF MILAN
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Milan was founded in the VI century B.C by the Celts
called Insubres Gauls. The symbol of the celtic Milan was the mythological "half-wooly sow" that is still possible to see today in a bas-relief!
Probably the name Milan, Latinized "Mediolanum
" could mean "medio lanae", "city between two rivers
" or "city at the centre of the plain
The celtic settlement was conquered by Romans in 222 B.C. Later Milan became the capital of the Western Roman Empire
, and the city became the residence of the Emperor Maximianus and his court. Similarly to Rome, in Milan there was a theatre, an amphitheatre, thermal baths, a circus, an Imperial Palace, the Roman Forum. Following some itineraries in Milan it is still possible to admire roman remains.
In the 313 ended the persecutions against Christians, thanks to the Edict of Constantine, therefore Milanese people could start to build Christian churches.
From 374 to 397 lived Saint Ambrose
(which is dedicated the Sant'Ambrogio church), the city patron saint, who built the first churches (San Simpliciano, San Nazaro, Sant'Ambrogio and the lost San Dionigi). The day dedicated to the Saint is the 7th of December, that is also the opening of the Opera Season of La Scala theatre.
After the decay of the Roman Empire, Milan was menaced by barbarian invasions
: Goths, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Huns, Longobards.
During the VIII century Milan was occupied by Franks, led by Charlemagne.
In the XI century Milan became a Commune, a rich city-state, thanks to the trades of crafts, textiles, armatures, agriculture. The city was razed to the ground in 1162, due to the Emperor Frederick the Red Beard. Milan grew rapidly and managed to defeat the Emperor Frederick in the legendary Battle of Legnano (1176).
The Visconti family
took the power in 1277, and they controlled the city several years, until 1447. During this long period, it was started the construction of the Duomo of Milan, and the city was part of a vast Duchy.
In the 1450: the Sforza Dinasty
took the power; their court was one of the most important in Europe: with artists like Leonardo, Bramante, Filarete... Milan became one of the richest cities of Italy. After the death of the last Sforza, in 1535, started the Spanish domination. During this long period Milan was also devastated and marked by two plagues, in 1576 and 1630. At the end of the Spanish domination, the rule passed to the Austrians, with the Empress Maria Teresa of Austria
and her son (1713).
It was the Age of the Enlightenment: there were great thinkers in Milan and were issued new reforms, for example in 1786 began the usage of writing streets name and numbering houses. During the Austrian domination was founded the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Palazzo Reale was rebuilt by Giuseppe Piermarini, the same architect who designed in the same period La Scala Theatre.
arrived in Milan in 1796, and few years later was crowned ruler in the Duomo of Milan. The Austrians restored their dominion in 1815; in the year 1848, during the First war of Independence, people of Milan drove away the enemy. The Austrians returned to Milan, and they underwent the defeat in the 1859, during the Second War of Independence.
The Kingdom of Italy was born the 17th March 1861
, when the Italian territory was unified, thanks to the Garibaldi expeditions.
Vittorio Emanuele II was the first King of Italy
, to him is dedicated the beautiful arcade called Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.
"HISTORY" OF MILAN CUISINE
THE PANETTONE OF MILANO (traditional Christmas Cake)
According to the legend, the "Panettone", was born in Milan, during the Christmas-eve dinner at the Court of the duke Ludovico Maria Sforza.
The head chef made a delightful cake that unfortunately burned during cooking. It was a tragedy! A young scullery boy, called Toni, found a remedy: he took the remnants of the burned cake, and made a new one. The new sweet seemed like a dome with a brown crost.
When the new cake arrived to the banquet, where there was the Duke and his guests, it had a great success and it was received with an applause!
This new Christmas cake was called PAN-DE-TONI (that means Toni's bread), today called PANETTONE. The ingredients are: Flour, eggs, milk, cocoa butter, seedless-risins, candied orange peel, candied citrus peel, baking powder, salt.
Enjoy your meal!
COTOLETTA ALLA MILANESE (THE MILANESE VEAL CUTLET)
The milanese veal cutlet is similar to the Wiener Schnitzel, probably because the Austrians discovered this recipe during they domination period in Milan. In fact the Viennese Marshal Radetzky in a letter wrote that he had discovered this recipe in Milan!
This is a typical second course dish, and is a breaded fried veal chop.
RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE (RICE WITH SAFFRON)
This is a traditional first course dish that we usually eat in Milan.
The legend tells that the recipe was born around the 1574. A glass maker who was working probably for the Duomo yard, was famous for the wonderful colours of his stained glass windows. His secret was putting a pinch of saffron in the dyes. During the wedding of his teacher's son, the glass-maker astonished all the guests adding saffron to the rice! Probably the young glass-maker was in love with the bride, and he wanted to ruin the marriage. But he had a great success with this recipe!!
THE COLOMBA (typical Easter cake)
The word "Colomba" means "dove", it is a typical Easter Cake, that has the shape of a dove! According to the legend it was born in Lombardy in 572 A.D. with the king Alboin. The kings ate the Colomba on the banks of the Ticino river, during the siege of the City of Pavia. The legend tells that Alboin appreciated and enjoyed so much the cake, who he decided to call of the siege!