Milan is the second most populous city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy, one of the twenty regions of Italy. Milan is the main industrial, commercial and financial centre of Italy and a leading global city. It is also a major world fashion and design capital and hosts numerous cultural institutions and universities. Milan's museums, theatres and landmarks attracts over 6 million annual visitors. Milan's climate is similar to much of northern Italy's inland plains, where hot, sunny summers and moderately cold, wet and foggy winters prevail. Actually, the Alps and Apennines mountains form a natural barrier that protects the city from the major circulations coming from northern Europe and the sea. There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony, notably the well-preserved Colonne di San Lorenzo.
During the second half of the 4th century, bishop of Milan Saint Ambrose, had a strong influence on the layout of the city, reshaping the centre and building the great basilicas at the city gates: Sant' Ambrogio, San Nazaro in Brolo, San Simpliciano and Sant' Eustorgio, which still stand, refurbished over the centuries, as some of the finest and most important churches in Milan. Milan's Cathedral, built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. The gilt bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, placed in 1774 on the highest pinnacle of the Duomo, became one of the most enduring symbols of Milan. The largest parks in the central area of Milan are Sempione Park, at the north-western edge, and Montanelli Gardens, situated northeast of the city Even though Milan is located in one of the most urbanised regions of Italy, it's surrounded by a belt of green areas and features numerous gardens even in its very centre.
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