Milan Details (M2TW Faction)
Milan is an Italian faction that begins with the cities Milan and Genoa under its control. These homelands are surrounded by mountains to the north and west and the Mediterranean sea to the south, making it relatively secure from surprise attacks from the more powerful Holy Roman Empire to the north or France to the west. Its weakness then is the other Italian factions, Venice and Sicily.
Milan's military is primarily defensive, generally not having units designed for offense.
Like the other Italian factions, Milan has access to the extremely effective Italian militia units, which really start to shine - literally - when their armour gets upgraded. Milan also has access to effective crossbowmen, which are trainable at cities. If there is a need for heavier infantry, Milan can train dismounted knights from medium-level castles, as well as the unique dismounted broken lances from high level cities.
Milan has actually a rather nice variety of cavalry units to train, ranging from the cheap merchant cavalry militia units to the powerful broken lances. The main weakness in Milan's cavalry is that it completely lacks light cavalry.
Milan has access to pretty decent crossbowmen, especially the Genoese crossbowmen, which are a militia type unit that has zero upkeep when in cities. Other than that, Milan lacks variety in their missile units.
Milan is one of the wealthier factions, and is capable of producing some of the most effective gunpowder units in the game, such as musketeers and monster ribaults. Milan also has access to decent cannon artillery for assaulting walls.
The following are some suggested strategies to use when playing as Milan:
Venice is Milan's rival. So why not attack it? If you are able to train a large enough force early in the game, it is suggested that you take the city of Venice. This will significantly boost your income due to its trade opportunities, as well as its advanced early game walls, making it relatively secure from attack. Once you've done that, you've basically delivered a hard blow to Venice, as it has lost its main source of income. Remember not to attack the city of Bologna, which is under the control of the Holy Roman Empire. You do not need to be fighting two factions at once, especially since the HRE tends to have a rather powerful military. So you now have the city of Venice, Genoa, and Milan. Might as well clear Florence out of your way and take the benefits of its fertile lands. At this point you've secured a pretty good kingdom, which is capable of generating a pretty large income. It is then up to you to decide what to do next. Finish off Venice? Head west into France before they start getting more developed? Or take a few of the Mediterranean islands?
If you do not intend on taking Venice's lands early in the game, then what you should do is become allies with the HRE, and take the island settlement of Ajaccio, which can be built into a castle. Doing this gives you access to the powerful cavalry and infantry trainable at the castle once you start upgrading it. Just be sure to have your eastern borders secure, as Venice tends to be a very untrustworthy faction. If you want to boost your income, take Florence. With these settlements under your control, you will soon be able to train superior castle-based units, as well as have a reliable income from the fertile and rich lands of your cities to support your military efforts. What you do next is entirely up to you.
 Faction summary
Very rich starting cities with an excellent starting navy. Shares the same powerful militia as the other Italian powers. Central position, option to expand anywhere. Very good late technology and access to the Carroccio Standard. Easily conquered rebel islands to the South and the town of Florence to the Southeast, also easily conquered and a sure way to stop the expansion of the Papacy. Genoa is a very rich city which will bring in thousands of florins in trade as the city develops.
Arguably the most hated faction in the game, other factions will try to destroy you early, especially the other Italians. Does not start with a castle region. Has to deal with tough rivals, France and The Holy Roman Empire. Mediocre cavalry at best. Starting with only two regions is tough.
Milan is a tough faction to play, to be successful, a leader will need to be ruthless and unforgiving in conquest and expansion. No ground can be given and no prisoners taken. The world is against you and you must stand strong. If Milan can manage to fend off the early assaults from other factions while developing a lucrative trading empire, she will prosper and continue to decimate her enemies with wealth and power. A smart leader will seek to consolidate his hold on Italy, taking the islands to the south and Florence. It would then be prudent to gauge the strength of your fellow Italians and attempt to destroy the weaker one. The objective should be to unite Italy under the one green banner, whether it is Venice or Sicily who is first to fall should depend on which is least able to fend off your assaults. Attacking both at once is inadvisable as they will most likely band together against their common enemy and destroy you. The Pope and can be a serious thorn in Milan's side. As you aggressively expand he will often demand you cease hostilities or suffer punishment. Milan is in a good position to destroy the Papacy, if his holiness proves too much trouble. This course of action should only be taken if there is no other choice, as other catholic nations will not take kindly to their religious leader being killed. If you choose not to expand southward you should turn your attention to the north and northwest. The settlements of Bern and Dijon in particular are both well placed settlements that you can secure early on. Bern in particular is a well developed castle and should be the fall back position if being beaten, or the invasion base from which you recruit your tough units. Dijon is also valuable as it provides lucrative land trade with all the surrounding settlements and is rich in resources. In the end, it is up to how you play your game, whether you wish to conquer Italy or attempt to take Western Europe, the choice is yours.