Milan, located in northern Italy, is the country’s second-largest city. It is the centre of the wealthy Lombardy region and is home to a large expat population.

Living in Milan as an expat

While Rome is the political and historical heart of Italy, Milan is its financial leader and cultural trendsetter. Home to the country’s stock exchange and the offices of many multinational corporations, modern Milan is a buzzing commercial centre that’s best known for its fashion industry.

The city has a reputation for being incredibly work-orientated, but the work-life balance remains favourable compared to fast-paced metros such as New York or Hong Kong.

As a key element of the lifestyle in Milan, fashion is a top priority for many residents and the Milanese people seem to do everything with style. They are also passionate about food and sports. As such, there are plenty of restaurants, shops and cultural attractions, and watching one of the city’s top two football teams, the globally renowned AC Milan and FC Internazionale, in action at the local stadium is a must.

Properties in Milan are some of the most expensive in Italy, but the choices are varied and include everything from inner-city apartments to spacious suburban villas and beyond. An extensive public transport system makes it easy to get from home to work and school.

Cost of living in Milan

Milan's high quality of life does come at a price, and it has the highest cost of living of any Italian city. Accommodation in the city is particularly expensive but, fortunately, expats can save on medical costs as the public healthcare system is both excellent and highly affordable.

In the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Milan was ranked as the 49th most expensive city globally out of 227, positioning it slightly below Frankfurt in Germany and above Philadelphia in the United States. This indicates that while it is relatively expensive for an Italian city, it compares more favourably on a broader international scale.

Families and children in Milan

There is plenty for families to get up to in and around Milan. Despite being known for its man-made attractions such as the Duomo and Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper, natural beauty is within easy reach too. Milan is near the Italian northern lakes, the Alps and the Dolomites – a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site – all great fun for families to explore.

Milan also has a good selection of public schools, but expats who don’t intend on staying too long might prefer to send their children to one of the city's several international schools.

Climate in Milan

The climate isn’t typically Mediterranean, but summers are hot and humid, with temperatures rising above 30°C (86°F). Winters are cold and wet with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing.

Expats who enjoy working in Italy's commercial centre while bathing in the splendour of one of the most fashionable cities in the world will find Milan to be a glorious expat destination.