City guide – Milan
The metropolis of Milan is famed for its global reputation in culture, arts, fashion and design. From historical landmarks, to elegant modern structures, through chic fashion houses and towering skyscrapers, there are marvels on every corner. It is opulent, glamourous and contemporary, attracting people from all over the world to visit this north Italy hotspot.
It is also a global city with prominent headquarters for international companies and banks, as well as top-class educational institutions. It is a key location for the Italian economy, being home to Italy’s Stock Exchange, as well as host city for one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world. For art lovers, there are a lot of significant pieces housed in Milan’s museums and landmarks, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper fresco in the refectory at Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Over 9 million people visit Milan each year, but plenty of foreign visitors decide to call Milan home and make the move to relocate to the city. The attraction is clear – better weather, a healthy work/life balance, a good family-centric attitude and plenty of local culture to get immersed in.
With a good economy that sits as eighth largest in the world, Milan offers a range of job opportunities. Like most European countries, it did feel the sting of the world recession, so there is competition for jobs locally. However, many British expats will move to the city due to inter-company transfers or job offers within their own industry.
Milan is located in the wealthy Lombardy region and, as such, the cost of living is high, more so than in southern Italian cities. The cost, however, is comparable to London, for example, in terms of accommodation and services. Milan has some of the most expensive properties in the country, but there is a lot of choice and living outside the city centre presents more options with good commuter links.
There is a strong work ethic in the city, but this is well balanced with social activities. It’s certainly not all work and no play. As well as cultural landmarks and places of interest, there are many natural sights to visit and explore, given the city’s close proximity to the Alps, Italian Lakes and Dolomites.
Generally, most people will speak English but having some command of Italian will help with getting to know the local community, though there is unlikely to be a language barrier issue in the business world. The thriving expat community in Milan can help new arrivals to settle in quickly.
Those moving with family will be pleased to hear that education is exceptional. There are excellent state-funded private schools, which are free for all residents including expats. If children are young enough to pick up a new language, it’s certainly worth considering as they will benefit from learning Italian to make friends. There are international schools for those on shorter contracts, but these are expensive and there is stiff competition to get places.
Healthcare is also of high quality. For those expats with an Italian identity card, access to the free and low-cost state healthcare system is possible. Many expats will take out private healthcare plans to cover the cost of medical treatment and services, which is of fantastic quality with short waiting times and state-of-the-art facilities.