Milan is considered a leading alpha global city, with strengths in the field of the art, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's Stock Exchange and the headquarters of national and international banks and companies. In terms of GDP, it has the third-largest economy among European cities after Paris and London, but the fastest in growth among the three, and is the wealthiest among European non-capital cities. Milan is considered part of the Blue Banana and one of the "Four Motors for Europe."
The city has long been named fashion capital of the world and the world's design capital, thanks to several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently among the world's biggest in terms of revenue, visitors and growth. It hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies and universities, with 11% of the national total enrolled students. Milan is the destination of 8 million overseas visitors every year, attracted by its museums and art galleries that boast some of the most important collections in the world, including major works by Leonardo da Vinci. The city is served by a large number of luxury hotels and is the fifth-most starred in the world by Michelin Guide. The city is home to two of Europe's most successful football teams, A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale, and one of Italy's main basketball teams, Olimpia Milano.
The etymology of the name Milan (Lombard: Milan ) remains uncertain. One theory holds that the Latin name Mediolanum comes from the Latin words medio (in the middle) and planus (plain). However, some scholars believe that lanum comes from the Celtic root lan, meaning an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word llan, meaning "a sanctuary or church", ultimately cognate to English/German Land) in which Celtic communities used to build shrines. Hence Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a Celtic tribe. Indeed, about sixty Gallo-Roman sites in France bore the name "Mediolanum", for example: Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum). In addition, another theory links the name to the boar sow (the Scrofa semilanuta) an ancient emblem of the city, fancifully accounted for in Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1584), beneath a woodcut of the first raising of the city walls, where a boar is seen lifted from the excavation, and the etymology of Mediolanum given as "half-wool", explained in Latin and in French.
The foundation of Milan is credited to two Celtic peoples, the Bituriges and the Aedui, having as their emblems a ram and a boar; therefore "The city's symbol is a wool-bearing boar, an animal of double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool." Alciato credits Ambrose for his account.
Milan appears to have been founded around 600 BC by the Celtic Insubres, after whom this region of northern Italy was called Insubria. According to the legend reported by Livy, the Gaulish king Ambicatus sent his nephew Bellovesus into northern Italy at the head of a party drawn from various Gaulish tribes; this Bellovesus was said to have founded Mediolanum (in the time of Tarquinius Priscus, according to this legend). The Romans, led by consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, fought the Insubres and captured the city in 222 BC; the chief of the Insubres submitted to Rome, giving the Romans control of the city. They eventually conquered the entirety of the region, calling the new province Cisalpine Gaul—"Gaul this side of the Alps"—and may have given the site its Latinized Celtic name of Mediolanum: in Gaulish *medio- meant "middle, center" and the name element -lanon is the Celtic equivalent of Latin -planum "plain", thus *Mediolanon (Latinized as Mediolānum) meant "(settlement) in the midst of the plain".
In 286 Diocletian moved the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Rome to Mediolanum. He chose to reside at Nicomedia in the Eastern Empire, leaving his colleague Maximian at Milan. Maximian built several gigantic monuments, the large circus (470 × 85 metres), the thermae or "Baths of Hercules", a large complex of imperial palaces and other services and buildings of which fewer visible traces remain. Maximian increased the city area surrounded by a new, larger stone wall (about 4.5 km long) encompassing an area of 375 acres with many 24-sided towers. The monumental area had twin towers; one that was included in the convent of San Maurizio Maggiore remains 16.6 m high.