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Life Abroad: Milan

We continue our Life Abroad series on the TransferGo Blog by taking a look at one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Milan. Milan is a world-renowned cultural and economic centre and a major hub of fashion, arts, entertainment, media, research, finance, healthcare, the media and, that most Italian of pastimes, football. This combination of factors, along with the city’s rich history, has made Milan one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Milan Quick Facts

Population: City proper: 1.3 million, Metropolitan area: 3.2 million, commuting area: 4.2 million. The area known as Greater Milan is incredibly large and has a population of more than 8 million.

Currency: Euro

Average rent:
1-3 bedroom apartment in the city centre €979 -€2,085
1-3 bedroom apartment outside the city centre €663- €2,085

Average salary: €1,665 per month after taxes.

Cost of Living:
To get an idea of the overall costs of living in Milan here is a comparison between Milan and London and Berlin.

Consumer Prices are 6.24% lower than in London
Rents 46.96% lower than in London
Restaurant Prices are 10.63% lower than in London
Groceries Prices are 16.29% higher than in London

Consumer Prices are 22.33% higher than in Berlin
Rent Prices are 43.46% higher than in Berlin
Restaurant Prices are 48.13% higher than in Berlin
Groceries Prices are 39.57% higher than in Berlin

A Quick Look At The City

One would be hard pressed to find any aspect of Italian life that is not centred in Milan. While Rome is the political capital of Italy, Milan is the undisputed capital for the arts, media, fashion, music (from opera to modern), education and finance, and is indeed one of the most influential cities in the world in all of these areas. It also has two top flight football teams and residents of the city are expected to support one of them!

The city is divided into nine administrative Borough Councils, which are responsible for the operation of most local cities.

As is to be expected from such a diverse and influential city, the city is packed with restaurants which range from 5 Star rated to quint family owned cafes. Bars, coffee shops and cafes are found in every area of the city. The nightlife is vibrant and enjoys a worldwide reputation for the range of clubs and venues available.

Getting Around

There are three major forms of public transportation in Milan all operated by the same entity.

The Metro (subway) is not as extensive as in Paris or London but serves most of the major tourist destinations and many of the areas within the city centre.

The trams lines are extensive and very convenient. They cover almost the entire city.

The bus system covers all of the same areas as the metro and tram lines plus a number of outlying areas.

The same tickets are used for each system. A one way ticket is €1.50, a monthly pass is €35.

Milan has two international airports.

Banking in Milan

Milan is the financial capital of Italy.  However, that fact does not necessarily mean that opening a bank account is easy, especially for expats.

Banks in Milan are free to set their own rules, which can lead to a certain degree of frustration.  The good news for expats is that most of the major UK banks have offices in Milan (although they follow Italian banking rules) and banks like UniCredit have offices throughout Europe.

In general you will need the following documents to open an account:

  • a valid identity card for each client in case of a joint account
  • each holder’s tax code if it is a joint account
  • proof of address (any bill on which your name and address are listed)
  • a certificate of residence

It should be noted that a large number of Italians do not have current accounts, which differs greatly from the rest of Europe.  Internet banking is also very popular in Italy.

Banks have somewhat odd hours so it is important to choose a bank with an office near your home or office.

Many transactions are taxable and fees can be somewhat high. However it should be noted that the fee to send money to Milan through TransferGo is a mere 99p.

Major Banks in Milan

Here are some of the major banks in Milan:

  • Banca Nazionale Del lavoro
  • Banca Popolare Di Milano
  • Piazza Filippo Meda, 4
  • Mediobanca
  • Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena
  • San Paolo Imi
  • UniCredit S.p.A


Italy is ranked in the top 10 in the world in terms of the quality of healthcare services, although some public hospitals can be overcrowded. Milan’s healthcare system is considered to be one of the best in Italy.

Italy considers healthcare to be a right. The national health plan, known as Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, provides free or low-cost care to all Italian citizens and residents who legally live in Italy.

Private parallel insurance is also available at a reasonable cost. Private care may be difficult to find in smaller cities and rural areas.


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