A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: August 2017
How to rent a place in Milan
Finding an affordable room in Milan can be sometimes so complicated that it would require a specific application of John Nash’s Game Theory. A lot of our friends claim it was easier to finish their Master thesis than finding an accommodation in this trendy and dynamic Italian metropolis… But no worries, there is no reason to freak out! Despite the challenges, there are several ways to find a room that satisfies your needs. Here at Housing Anywhere, we are doing everything to support you and facilitate the process of finding a room in Milan by offering a vast range of accommodation and a completely secure booking system. If you follow our tips and check the rooms posted on our platform regularly, you will not experience any problem.
Hi guys! We are Giulia and Leonardo and we are here to give you some useful tips on the most dynamic metropolis of Italy: Milan. Even though one was born in Venice (Giulia) and the other comes from Rome (Leonardo), we both travelled a lot, in Italy and abroad, for studying and working reasons. Trust us, we know how hard it is start living in a new place, and how helpful and precious it can be to receive suggestions from those who already know the city. Therefore we gathered additional information for you to make the best out of your new adventure in Milan. Read further to find information about transport and the best neighbourhoods to live, but also some useful tips on how to be cool in the local culture and lifestyle. Book a room and enjoy your new life in Milan!
Living in Milan and its neighbourhoods
Work hard, party harder
Milan is the economic and financial capital of Italy, but also a dynamic hub for new trends and innovation. It is a city with an international profile, open to foreigners and diversity, that offers a wide variety of leisure activities and cultural experiences. Although Italians often refer to it as a workaholic city where weather is cold and foggy, Milan is much more than that. From the highbrow arts of La Scala Theatre to a football match at San Siro stadium, or the hip new things at the Fashion Week and Design Fuorisalone, there is no way you can get bored in this vibrant metropolis. It does not matter if you join the posh or the hipster crowd, at 7 pm everyone will be meeting their friends or colleagues to share a drink during the classic aperitivo. Absolutely the best.
Travel fast anywhere
Milan is a large metropolis with a modern and efficient transportation system. The city is easily reachable by plane via its three different airports, i.e. Malpensa (50 mins away from Central Station by bus or train), Linate (25 mins by bus) and Orio al Serio (1 hour away by bus or train) and well connected with the rest of the country by train. Within the city, the underground is the fastest way to travel around, thanks to a network of four different metropolitan lines. The most typical means of transport is the tram, considered the symbol of the Lombardian city, even though car sharing is becoming more and more popular as it allows you to take and park a car in every corner of the city. You can also go green and use the bike sharing system offered by the municipality of Milan, but only if you are ready to face the traffic jam of an Italian city.
What to do to be a local
Milan is an international city and you can find anything you like, but here is a list of 5 things that you need to know if want to be truly embedded in the local lifestyle:
1. Street food. Milan has a diverse offer of snacks you can consume on your way to uni or work, but you have not experienced Milan if you have not tasted a slice of pizza from Spontini or a typical panzerotto from Luini;
2. Aperitivo. The essence of Milan’s lifestyle: for a fixed amount (normally around 10 euros) you can get a drink and unlimited access to an open buffet of delicious food. Spritz, Negroni or Sbagliato are the cocktails to choose;
3. Beer in Colonne. Columns of San Lorenzo is the prominent location for student life in Milan. Students gather around the roman ruins in the square to enjoy a beer with their friends after class or in the night;
4. Shopping. Every Milanese is updated on the latest fashion trends and you will definitely have to keep the pace. Whether you like the top brands of Quadrilatero della moda or the upcoming fashion designers of Corso Ticinese, there is definitely a lot to choose among.
5. Nightlife. Milanese people love to go out for fancy parties in the centre or the Navigli area, but when it comes to having a beer with friends, nothing is better than the traditional brewhouse in the Lambrate district.
Moving to Milan
How to deal with administrative issues
Italy is commonly known for its long, bureaucratic system. But no worries, moving to Milan is not so complicated: here are some useful tips on how to deal with administrative issues as soon as you arrive in the city. If you are not European and you therefore need a visa for long stay in Milan, you will need help from your own embassy and ask for a residence permit (in Italian permesso di soggiorno) at the nearest post office. For any additional question, you can always ask information at the Immigration office (Sportello unico per l’immigrazione) in Corso Monforte 31. Once you have the residence permit, you need a tax identification number (codice fiscale). But, how do to it? Bring a valid passport/ID, completed application form and residence permit to the local agenzia delle entrate (tax office) or contact the nearest embassy. For more info, check also this video published by The Agenzia delle Entrate which explains how to obtain your tax identification number (TIN). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J29yi6n5ebQ)
Duomo and city center
This area is the real heart of Milan, famous for the Gothic cathedral dominating the Duomo square. On the right of the Duomo, you can go for a walk in the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a majestic 18th arcade hosting luxury retailers and expensive cafes. In the same district, you can also find La Scala Theater, the 20th Century Museum and the Royal Palace, famous for its art exhibitions. The University of Milan, or Statale, is at a walking distance from the Duomo and if you are going to study there, you will be luck enough to see all this every day. However, this area is quite expensive to live, so read below for further suggestions.
From art and fashion to aperitivo and relaxing time in the park
The Brera district is known in Milan for its narrow and cozy streets, exclusive boutiques and upcoming art galleries. It is the perfect area if you want to go for a walk and sit in a trendy bar for the traditional aperitivo. If you are an art lover, make sure you will visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the foremost museums of Italian fine arts. In the surrounding areas, we also suggest you passing by the famous Castello Sforzesco to take a walk or a run in Parco Sempione. If instead you are a fashion victim, don’t miss the Quadrilatero della moda in the South-East of Brera, known with its top luxury stores and high fashion retailers and considered one of the most influential fashion districts worldwide.
Navigli and Porta Genova
Cozy but busy
Mostly populated by youngsters, this area is the closest to Catholic University and IULM and the place to be to if you are looking for the typical Milanese nightlife. Characterised by two small canals (navigli) and the recently added dock (darsena), this vibrant district follows the rhythms of student life: quiet during the day, and busy from aperitivo time till the end of the night. But Navigli is not only a party district: art studios and little galleries populate the small side streets and make the entire district romantic and fascinating. We suggest you visiting the area also during the day, especially during on Saturdays when the local flea market, Fiera di Senigallia, takes place. Who knows if among bizarre antiques and second-hand books and bikes, you will find a precious design object.
Porta Nuova and Porta Garibaldi
Renovated, modern and astonishing
Originally an industrial area, this district has recently gone through a redevelopment plan and has now become the most upcoming district of Milan, known for its train station, business headquarters and futuristic architecture. The heart of the area is the Gae Aulenti square, where you can find the iconic Unicredit Tower that with its 231 feet of height is the highest building in Italy. Right behind it lies the famous skyscraper Vertical Forest (Il Bosco Verticale) that in 2004 won the prestigious International Highrise Award, by Italian architect Stefano Boeri.
Città studi, Ventura and Lambrate
University area, lower prices
Most universities, from the Polytechnic to Bicocca, are situated along the direction of these areas. Even though slightly outside the centre, these districts are closeby to Porta Venezia, popular for its shopping streets and known as the gate to the city centre. Città studi, Ventura and Lambrate are all relatively cheap and well connected via metro and tram to the rest of the city; therefore we highly suggest you checking out apartments here if you are moving to Milan. Most of your friends will be living in this area anyhow, so why not?
Porta Romana is a safe and residential area in a paracentral location at only three underground stops from Duomo and 5 tram stops from Navigli and Colonne di San Lorenzo. It may not be the cheapest area in town, but students normally choose to live here, given the close proximity to Bocconi, IED and Catholic University. In 2015, Prada inaugurated a new venue of its Foundation dedicated to contemporary art and culture in an iconic building designed by the architectural studio OMA, directed by REM Koolhaas: don’t miss it!
Learn more about accommodation and living in the following cities around the world