What to know about living in Milan as an expat


Updated on Jan 01 • 5 minute read

If you're thinking of moving to Milan, you're in luck – it's a beautiful city with plenty of cultural attractions and amenities. However, like any other city, there are some things you should know before making the move. This article will give you an overview of what it's like to live in Milan as an expat. Read on to find out more!

What to expect when living in Milan

As with every important decision in life, it’s important to set the right expectations. We’ll give you information on the internationality of Milan, the work opportunities and the education options that are available in the city.


With a population exceeding 1.3 million, Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and attracts thousands of expats each year. As a result, Milan offers a blend dominated by the traditional Italian way of living with a touch of internationality. The expat community is predominantly made up of young working professionals, with the rest being students pursuing higher education in one of the universities in the city.

Despite the presence of expats in Milan, you should expect to predominantly be in the presence of Italian people.

As international as Milan is, we advise you to sign up for an Italian language course. After all, mingling with the locals is where the fun is!

Work opportunities

When it comes to the job opportunities in Milan, there are many multinational companies that hire expats. The most popular industries in the city are automotive, finance and fashion. Following the Growth Decree of 2013, the start-up scene in Milan grew to more than 2,000 companies.

The best websites to use when starting your job hunt in Milan are:

Education options

Higher education

Milan is famous for its three universities- Polytechnic University of Milan, The Bocconi University, University of Milan & University of Milan-Bicocca.

The Polytechnic University of Milan is one of Italy's best engineering universities with top-notch facilities and professors from around the world.

The Bocconi University is a private university that offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in economics, management, marketing and law. It's in the centre of Milan and has an excellent reputation.

If you're looking to study humanities or social sciences, then the University of Milan is perfect for you! With campuses all over Milan, it's one of the largest universities in Italy.

The University of Milan-Bicocca is a public university that focuses on sciences and technology. Located in an up-and-coming district in the north of Milan, it has some great programs in fields like biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Primary & Secondary education

There is a number of American curriculum schools in Milan, which follow the Common Core State Standards. The American curriculum is designed to prepare students for college and beyond. Subjects are taught in English and include mathematics, sciences, social studies, language arts and foreign languages.

British curriculum schools offer a traditional education based on the National Curriculum of England and Wales. Students are assessed using National Curriculum tests at the end of key stage one and two.

The Italian state run schools, known as scuole pubbliche (public schools), follow the guidelines set by Ministerial Decree n° 59/2013 which is an integral part of the national education law. The programme focuses on language and literature and is taught in Italian.

If you already know where to study, but you still need to find affordable student housing in Milan, you'll have many options to choose from, from furnished rooms to studios or even student residences.

Spending quality leisure time in Milan

The things to do in Milan are endless. The city has many bars and restaurants that stay open late into the night, with patrons often spilling out onto the streets after closing time. There's also a wide variety of things to see and do for residents living here, including museums such as the Pinacoteca di Brera, which houses a world-famous art collection.

The cost of living in Milan

As with every major European city, the cost of living in Milan can vary widely depending on your lifestyle and budget. You should expect to pay around €1,000-€1,500 per month for a basic shared apartment, groceries and restaurant meals. However, you can find cheaper accommodation options if you're willing to venture outside of the city centre.

The best neighbourhoods in Milan

Living in Milan as an expat can mean living anywhere across this vast city – __over 20 districts each with their unique character and community. The centre of Milan is expensive and overcrowded, while the outskirts are more affordable and have a slower pace of life.__ If you're looking to rent a home in Milan, you will have many options, from studios to furnished apartments.

Some of the best neighbourhoods for expats in Milan include:

  • Brera – This artsy neighbourhood is popular with expats thanks to its trendy restaurants, bars and galleries.
  • Navigli – This canal-lined district is known for its nightlife, and is a favourite among expats and locals alike.
  • Isola – A former industrial district that's now home to trendy art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
  • Monza – A smaller city located just outside of Milan, Monza is popular with expats looking for a suburban feel with easy access to the city.

Best ways of getting around town

Milan is notorious for its heavy traffic, so the best way of getting around the city is either on foot or by bike. In this way, you’ll get the chance to explore the city and learn about its secrets. There is a plethora of bike or scooter sharing services available in Milan that you can subscribe to to make your life easier.

You can also take public transport with bus, tram or metro systems available all over the city! If you are getting around by public transport, it’s best that you buy a travel card so you don't have to keep paying every time you get on and off.

Travel cards can be purchased from special machines or ticket offices around Milan. Or you can buy tickets online via a mobility app such as URBI.

Healthcare for expats in Milan

Given the international popularity of Milan, there are a number of excellent healthcare options available to expats in the city.

Many clinics and hospitals offer quality care, with most of them having staff who speak English. Another great resource for expats is the international health insurance provider, Cigna. They offer a variety of plans that are specifically tailored to expats living across Italy. They have a large network of doctors and hospitals that you can rely on.

If you're looking for a more affordable option, there are also several clinics and hospitals that offer lower costs and quality care. One expat favourite is Centro Medico Poli, which has English speaking doctors and nurses on staff.

How and where to get groceries

The most popular supermarkets in Milan are Esselunga, Carrefour, and Conad. All of these stores have a large selection of food items, as well as pharmacies and other services. If you don't speak Italian, be sure to bring a translation of the items you're looking for, or use a smartphone app to help you out.

Another option is buying groceries from local markets. These markets usually have a smaller selection than supermarkets, but the prices are lower. The most popular markets in Milan are Mercato di San Giovanni and Mercatone Uno.

Living in Milan as an expat can be a unique and rewarding experience – there's never a dull moment in this vibrant city! Make sure you do your research before making the move, so you're aware of what to expect and can find the right neighbourhood and living situation for you.

Please reach out to content@housingnanywhere.com if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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