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Milan is an ancient city with historic roots dating back as far as 400 B.C. The first settlers in the area were the Gauls, who reigned for nearly two hundred years before the Romans took over the area. The Romans made Milan a regional capital, which it remained for over five hundred years until the Roman Empire collapsed.
After the end of the Roman Empire, Milan went through a period of turmoil, changing hands several times. The Lombards are a well-known group who controlled the area during some of this time.
Around the year 1000 A.D., Milan began to gain strength as a religious center. The Archbishop of Milan became a prominent religious figure in Italy at that time and the area became stable for a period of time. This period was followed by approximately one hundred years of political unrest.
Finally, in about 1200 A.D., Milan began to establish itself as a thoroughly stable city. At this time, the city began to expand. Many of the historic buildings which are popular tourist attractions today are the ones which were erected during this century and the one immediately following it. These centuries are known as a time of prosperity in Milan’s history.
Things were quiet in Milan for a number of years after this period. The next big period of growth for Milan was in the mid-nineteenth century. This was the time when Milan began to be noticed as a hotspot on the international scene. Milan has remained in this position ever since, being noticed worldwide for the performing arts, visual arts, and fashion of the area.