Your guide to living in Milan

Moving to the Ambrosian capital? Read on to learn everything you need to know.

4 min read

Dreaming of moving to Milan? Great choice! Milan is widely considered the coolest city in Italy, and with good reason—it’s a European metropolis that’s in tune with the times, and full of things to see and do. But what’s it really like to live in Milan? To give you some insight, we’ve prepared a brief guide on the capital city of Lombardy, complete with tips, pros and cons, and more.

Living in Milan—pros and cons 

Milan is one of the most vibrant cities in Italy, and Europe at large. In fact, in Il Sole 24 Ore’s ranking of the most livable provinces in Italy, the Ambrosian metropolis ranked first in both 2018 and 2019. Why? Well, for starters, Milan is a particularly international city. In addition to welcoming thousands of workers from all over Italy, 18% of the population is of foreign origin, and over 150 ethnic groups can be found in the Milanese capital. It’s also a lively and innovative place that’s constantly changing and improving—a powerhouse in the fields of tech and publishing, and the Italian home of fashion, design, and contemporary art. 

In addition to being the commercial, industrial, and financial hub of Italy, Milan is also home to countless museums, theaters, and cultural venues, as well as internationally known monuments such as the Duomo and the Teatro alla Scala. What’s more, Milan enjoys a state-of-the-art public transport network, making it an interconnected, accessible city for tourists and inhabitants alike. In short, Milan is a city for just about anyone.

However, living in Milan also has its drawbacks. Precisely because of its size and scale, Milan is also fast-paced and expensive—and like many metropolises, it suffers from a lack of green spaces. The onset of the pandemic completely altered the daily life of the city’s inhabitants, and lockdowns have had major consequences for the general sense of livability there. In fact, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the circulation of the virus was much higher than in other areas of the country and the impact of restrictions on non-essential activities, spaces, and cultural areas contributed to a decline in the city’s GDP—and a rise in unemployment

Lack of space during the lockdowns also caused many Milan residents to re-evaluate their priorities as well as their presence in the city—leading Milan to lose around 12,000 inhabitants in 2020. And while Milan’s chaotic atmosphere and vitality are a huge part of its draw, public transport is often congested and slow, and the city’s location in the Po Valley not only fills it with pollution, but it causes harsh winters and hot and humid summers.

The cost of living in Milan  

If you’re set on moving to the Milanese metropolis, it’s helpful to get an idea of the city’s cost. Sites like numbeo—in English—can offer you an overview of the rent levels and other costs. This will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to earn to sustain a life there. On average, according to in-domus, a flat for a single person costs around €1,300 per month. 

An apartment in the center is notoriously expensive, and if you don’t want to share with flatmates, rental costs can be prohibitive. However, migrating out to the suburbs can save you hundreds of euros per month. Remember—make sure there’s a public transport stop near your new home so that you can reach the city center whenever you need to. And if you love nature, it’s worth looking for a house or apartment near a park, forest, or lake.

If you want to live in Milan as a student, the cost for a room ranges between €450 and €2,000 per month, bills excluded. A student living off-campus spends an average of about €985 per month, including expenses for entertainment and free time (source: in-domus). Check that your accommodation is in close proximity to your university so that you can save yourself time and hassle. 

Moreover, take a look at our Moving Cost Calculator to quantify your moving expenses.

Even N26 has chosen Milan

As the city of Italian finance, it’s no wonder N26 has chosen Milan for its Italian headquarters. We‘re the mobile bank of the 21st century that adapts to your needs and lifestyle—even in the busiest of cities. With no queues at bank branches or paper documents to sign, we offer accounts for individuals, professionals, and freelancers that you can manage right from your smartphone—anytime, anywhere. So what are you waiting for? Discover all our accounts and sign up today!

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