Milano (aka Milan) is one of the three big industrial town of Northern Italy (the other two being Torino and Genova).
It is also the capital of Italy's computer industry and it hosts the SMAU trade show.
Milan was ruled by some of the most ruthless Renaissance bastards ever, namely the Sforza and the Visconti. They were not quite as nasty as the Medici, but not for want of trying.
Milan has an interesting structure: a medieval centre, full of twisty little streets, reaching up to the Mura Spagnole, a beginning of the century ring with some beautiful but underappreciated Art Nouveau buildings, and a vast boomtown wasteland, full of Mordor-like blocks of flats.

It has many beautiful churches, the Last Supper, a castle, the remarkable La Scala opera house, oodles of scared Japanese tourists, and a very nasty climate. Milan in August is Hell, believe me, I have been there. On the other hand, in winter it is frequently cold and miserable.

There are 5 universities in Milano:

  1. Universitá degli Studi di Milano: the state university, big, old (Renaissance times) and quite good. Sprinkled all over town, but with the central offices in Via Festa del Perdono, in a gorgeous Renaissance building. Another big chunk, mostly scientific, is in Cittá Studi. A smaller part has been exhiled to Bicocca, where the buffalo died of cold and the eagle was kidnapped by Albanian stockbrokers.
  2. Universitá cattolica: the Catholic one, it is good in humanities and bad in the rest, including user service. Home of the nastiest library in town.
  3. Politecnico: offers only Engineering and Architecture, and it is a good school.
  4. LUISS: somewhat posh, but good for languages.
  5. Bocconi: home of would-be tycoons, in reality an MBA factory. Bocconi boys sprout a tie, an attaché case and a suit on enrollment day, and it is all downhill from there.
Where to eat in Milan: if on the cheap, eat pizza and sandwiches in bars. If splurging, ask a Milanese but avoid the restaurants in the Galleria. They are traps. A brave visitor will try to have cassoeula, but only in wintertime.

Ivano Fossati sings in his I treni a vapore

Delle cittá importanti io mi ricordo Milano,
Livida e sprofondata per sua stessa mano.

Among the important cities, I remember Milano
Livid and sunken by its own hand.

Milan is the center of Italy's fashion, business (the country's main stock exchange is here), publishing industry and computer industry. This probably happens because it got an early start with the Industrial Revolution - Milano also used to be a big iron/steel industry center.

When in Milano, don't go to Lambrate: go to Cittá Studi instead. Or to the Navigli.
At baffo's request...

The MILAN is a man-portable anti-tank missile. It is manufactured jointly by Germany’s DASA (Daimler-Benz Aerospace) and France’s Aerospatiale SA for use by NATO armed forces, and is sold around the world in an effort to lower the acquisition cost of the system. There are three versions of the Milan; the first was introduced in 1972. Since then, the weapon has gone through two revisions; the MILAN-2 and MILAN-3 are in use with various armed forces. In addition to the original manufacturers, licensed versions have been built in Britain for use by that nation’s military as well.

The MILAN’s closest competitor/predecessor is the U.S. DRAGON antitank missile system. The DRAGON is larger, requiring a two-man team to fire and displace; however, both are man-portable and both are wire-guided. The MILAN uses a SACLOS guidance system (Semi-Automatic Command to Line Of Sight) which is quite similar to the system used on the U.S. TOW missile – the operator must keep the aimpoint centered on the target after launching the missile. Electronics in the launcher module track both the aimpoint and the missile in flight, and attempt to keep the aimpoint occluded by the missile, eventually resulting in a hit.

Originally, the MILAN used the infrared radiation of the missile’s rocket exhaust to locate it in the sighting ring. The MILAN-2 had an electronic infrared flashlamp mounted on the rear of the missile in order to present a higher contrast tracking target and defeat spoofing or interference by multiple IR sources downrange. I’m not sure whether the MILAN-3 uses the same system.

In order to carry the missile, the launcher and missile round come in two separate modules. To fire, the crew snaps the modules together and fires, discarding the missile module when done. This is similar to the U.S. Stinger MANPADS, although it is physically larger, and the STINGER is fire-and-forget.

Some stats on the MILAN system taken from FAS:

  • Max range: 2,000m
  • Min range: 400m (the missile needs to arm itself and the launcher to acquire the missile, thus the minimum)
  • Length: 918mm
  • Weight (Missile): 6.73kg
  • Diameter (Missile): 125mm
  • Wingspan: 267mm
  • Rate of Fire (Trained crew): 3-4 rounds per minute
  • Warhead: 2.70kg, explosive content 1.79kg, shaped charge side-attack
  • Armor Penetration: 352mm RHA-equivalent
  • Time of Flight to Max Range: 12.5 sec
  • Missile Speed: 720kph (max)

The U.S. Army is currently replacing its infantry AT weapons with the Javelin, a fire-and-forget missile system using a packaged all-up round like the MILAN. The Javelin, rather than requiring operator guidance all the way to target, is supposed to lock onto its target and then track it autonomously using millimeter-wave radar.

Info taken from the FAS, Jane's Infantry Weapons 1990, and DASA.

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