Home of Italy’s stock exchange, an industrial powerhouse and the internationally accepted arbiter of taste in fashion and design, Milan is a seething metropolis. At times it can seem brash and soulless but beneath the veneer is a serious sense of history and place. The grand Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, lies at the geographical heart of this one-time Imperial Roman capital, and expresses the love of beauty and power that still drives the city today. Art collections old and new, unparalleled shopping, one of Europe’s biggest trade-fair complexes, sparkling nightlife, the prestige of opera at La Scala, the mark of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius, a religious addiction to calcio (football), and endless opportunities to eat the best of Lombard and Italian food make Milan much more than the puritanically work-obsessed city it is often portrayed as. The city’s next big date with destiny is Expo 2015, a world exhibition.