Milan is the capital of Lombardy and the second most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,365,156 while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,234,000. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres, ranking 4th in the European Union. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the middle and early modern age.
Milan is considered a leading Alpha Global City, with strengths in the arts, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research, and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy's Stock Exchange and the headquarters of the largest national and international banks and companies.