MILAN

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MILAN (Milano, in German Mailand, anciently Mediolanum) ; capital of the LombardoVenetian kingdom, situated in a fertile and pleasant plain, on the left bank of the Olona, 140 leagues from Vienna, 110 from Rome, 160 from Paris; lat. 45° 28' N.; Ion. 9° 11' E.; population, 129,000. It is one of the richest, most splendid and populous cities in Italy; and, in spite of time and wars, has preserved a great part of its magnificence. Of the antiquities the only remains are the ruins of the Thermae, which are usually called the tolonne di $. Lorenzo. Milan is rich in architectural monuments of modern times, among which the celebrated cathedral is the most remarkable: the foundation was laid in 1386, and, after St. Peter's, it is the largest church in Italy. It is built entirely of white marble, and its interior and exterior produce an indescribable effect. The oldest architects, who worked upon it, adopted the later Gothic style ; but in the middle of the sixteenth centuiy, Pellegrino Tibaldi erected the front in.a more ancient style, and thus destroyed the unity of the whole. Napoleon almost completed it at an immense expense. The emperor Francis appropriated 12,000 lire monthly, to finish it. While the exterior dazzles and astonishes the beholder by the pure brilliancy of the marble, the Gothic orna ments and the statues (of which there are 4000), he is not less strongly affected by the interior, which rests upon 52 marble columns. It is described by Fran chetti in Descrizione storica del Duomo di Milano, with engravings. Rupp and Bramati also published a description in 1823, under the title Descrizione storicocritica del Duomo di Milano. One of the oldest churches in Milan, that of St. Ambrose^ into which you descend by several steps, is remarkable for a number of antiquities, but is dark, and without beauty. Of the numerous other churches, many are splendid. The former Dominican convent, Madonna delle Grazie, contains, in its refectory, the celebrated fresco of Leonardo da Vinci, the Last Supper, now much injured, but yet beautiful. The former Jqsu. it's college of Brera, a magnificent building, remarkable also for its observatory, still contains several establishments for the arts and sciences; among them a picture gallery and a library. The former is particularly rich in works of the master^ of the Lombard and Bolognese schools; the latter is valuable. The Ambrosian library, founded by the cardinal Borromeo (who was bishop of Milan in 1595, and died in 1631) contains, besides the books, a treasure of valuable manuscripts (among them, those of Leonardo da Vinci), paintings, sketches (Raphael's cartoons of the school of Athens), antiques, and casts in plaster. The abbate Angelo Maio (q. v.), *vho was appointed librarian in 1819, has made some important discoveries among these manuscripts. (See Library,) The military geographical institute of Milan, founded in 1801, has published an atlas of the Adriatic sea and other charts. Among the charitable institutions, the great hospital is the most remarkable, on account of its architecture, magnitude, and the care paid to the patients (4000). The Lazaretto, a large quadrangular building, formerly used during the prevalence of the plague, has now a different destination. The theatre delta Scala of Milan, is one of the largest in Italy, and, perhaps, in Europe. It was built by Piermarini, in 1778, and is superior to all others in its accommodations. The operas and ballets are here exhibited in a style not surpassed for brilliancy and completeness in Italy. Besides this, there are the theatres Re, Canobiana, Carcano, &c. Milan contains a great number of palaces, and other handsome buildings, but the streets are not in general broad or straight. The Corso (the Porta Orientate), with which the public gardens form a beautiful promenade, is particularly fine. The gardens are not so much frequented as the Corso, in which the fashionable world parades afoot and on horseback, but principally in rich equipages, every evening. The principal articles of commerce are corn, rico, silk and cheese. The number of manufactories is considerable. The .arts and sciences are held in high esteem, and the Milanese school of engraving is favorably known. The environs of the city are fertile ; two large canals are connected with the Ticino and the Adda, and the Alps of Switzerland are visible.