Milano, and more in general Lombardy, is the locomotive of Italy, and one of the economic powerhouses of Europe.
Milano is at the heart of a manufacturing system that generates 21% of Italy’s GDP; the region has a pro capita income that is almost double the national level, and an unemployment rate that is half that of Italy’s. This enviable position is rendered even more stable by the city’s strategic role within the global geographical and economic network: Milan is at the centre of three major trade routes, it is the southern corner of the European economic quadrilateral; it is at the centre of the east-west European axis, Corridor 5, and it is the northern hub for connections to other Mediterranean countries.
However, the reasons that underpin the ancient origins of this vocation for productivity and development are not just geographical and economic. In De Magnalibus Mediolani (The greatness of Milan), written between May and December in 1288 by Bonvesin de la Riva, a brilliant Milanese poet who was born in about 1250 and died in about 1320, the city is already described in glowing terms. Bonvesin writes of houses, palaces, shops, the way in which the people of Milan dress, the city’s hospitals, and its charitable organizations. From then on, Milan has demonstrated, with talent and determination, that local systems can lead growth and development in the age of globalization.
Ever in the front line for foreign relations, Milan is a leader for exports. This trend is continuing in the sectors of new technology, communications, design and fashion, but also in art and crafts. Milan excels in these sectors by means of a system of cooperation that has generated “company incubators,” networks of public and private organizations supporting new companies making their first appearance on the manufacturing or services market, and constantly introducing innovation into a diversified panorama of business activities.
Milano and the Expo 2015
On 31st March 2008 the BIE members met in Paris and chose Milan for the 2015 Universal Exposition with 86 votes against the 65 votes of its rival.
The challenge to bring the Expo to Italy began in October 2003 when the Italian government decided to put Milan forward as a candidate to host this major international event with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. The rival city was the Turkish city of Smirne.
There were fundamental milestones along the path that led to Milan’s victory: the presentation of the dossier detailing the project, the forums focusing on the proposed themes, and the foreign mission's ability to persuade countries to back Milan’s project. The teamwork and commitment at all levels saw Milan win the day with a 21-vote lead. But this was just the first step in a new challenge: turning the Expo 2015 into a unique and extraordinary event.
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