Driving into and out of Milan in rush hours is horrendous. Better use metro/train if possible. Milan has its nice quarters but, in my op., is a rather ugly city with too much horrible fascist-era architecture. Good for shopping and foodie culture no doubt though.
Sunnisider, I already wrote in this thread that I don't like Milano. I have been living in Milano for 6 month and I escaped. I must say that I find even Doha (where I am now) better!! And this says much!!
Said that, what I meant is that the image that Milano offers is the result of its history: the history of a city made of millions of workers and factories, in the last 100 years, and not only a glittering window of fashion and elegant restaurants. We can't forget this and consequently we can't erase the ugly (I agree) architecture that this history implies, included the (ugly, I agree completely) fascist buildings. Moreover, I think that those buildings are protected by the "sovrintendenza delle belle arti" (I don't know how to translate it) because of their historical value.
If you want a glittering city made for the rich ones and without a soul, come and see Dubai!!!
Ciao Nin. Milan is expensive. But nothing compared to London. If we use that as a benchmark I would say that Milan is 25%/30% cheaper then London. English is spoken. But don't expect too much. I would say that basic English is widely spoken. Good English is truly rare though. As a European citizen there's no need for health insurance. But I don't know now how it works with Brexit and all. You should ask. The rest of your questions are kind of hard to answer to. It mostly depends on where will you live. Milan is a big city. I hope it helps! Have fun in Milan.
I wouldn't know about any english books on the city, sorry. I think it's ok for dogs anyway, I don't know how it works in England but here in Italy dogs are forbid to enter some places (e.g. supermarkets), but since I don't have one I don't know in detail. Milan hasn't got much parks compared to other cities, but you'll find small areas where dogs can be left untied here and there. I'm sure you guys will manage!
I’ve lived in Milan for 15 years, but bear in mind that I (happily) moved away in 2006. I still go there from time to time, so I’ll try to match what I know of the nowadays Milan with what I experienced.
Milan is the most international and varied town in Italy. There are arrogant posh business people and squatting leftish in the “centri sociali” (I’m told there are still a few). There are theatres, exhibitions, many occasions for spare time and culture. If you want to do volunteer and social commitment activities, there is a rich set of options. So, these aspects were good things for me. Another good thing is that public services are pretty good (better than the capital, Rome), good public transport, fairly efficient public offices, libraries, sports places. Moreover, Milan has an important artistic heritage, with many museums, churches to visit. In certain areas there are even good parks and lake or mountains are within easy reach. Finally, if you’re looking for a job in fields like hi-tech, IT, biology, Milan is a right place, as a right place for that can be in in Italy (i.e., there is better around Europe, especially for what concerns salaries). If you’re a university student instead, Milan has among the best universities in Europe.
Then the negatives: basically I have never been able to withstand the conservative and workaholic attitude of the average Milan people. You are in front of a traffic light with your car, trying to get where the hell you should turn next, and they start horning you like crazy, because you’re lagging by few secs after the green. They are always in a rush, stressed, nervous, they always talk about work (mostly moaning about it), things to buy, how their lives are stressful and the like. And all that rush for what? To have a short out-of-town trip on the weekend, when they get struck in the traffic like every day, and to die of stress or air pollution (there are high levels of it and local politicians never do anything about it, yet they keep being voted by moaning milanesi).
Now things might have changed, after all, Milan society and politics have steered from the worst conservative mindset of 1980s and 1990s and the recent EXPO exhibition has bring new vitality. But to me, those sort of people have always been the symbol of the modern middle class: mediocre, ordinary, wasting life in the rat race and constantly unhappy about it. Living with that sort of mentality was sad, depressing, irritating. You should consider that if you plan to settle in Milan, but living there for a short time, like 6–24 months, might be worth it.
I would rather stay in London.... :-)
well, to be honest I have been living in Milan for 6 month when I was 32 and "kidless". The right moment to be there, lots of things to do in the evening, an excellent cultural life, lots of young people, interesting job....but, with two small kids, you will take all the worst of Milan without having the possibility to enjoy the best side.
HAve you visited it? Well, if you look for a place outside, first choose the school and then choose where to live as you would not want to get crazy with commuting. Also consider where is your job.
If your job and or schools are in the North (porta Garibaldi) consider going to Monza.
Cost of living:
Milan is expensive by Italian standards; barring vacation spots and some exclusive suburbs, Milan is the most expensive city in Italy. But you'll perceive the cost of living differently based on what you're used to and how much you're earning. Generally, I find that save for some exceptions the quality-to-price ratio tends to be very good (one of the best in the world, I'd argue) and no more expensive than other global hub cities like New York, London, and Paris, with a top-drawer selection of permanent and temporary exhibitions, performing arts, dining, and other entertainment options (the only difficult things to find are english-language films, however this has been improving in recent years). In addition, cost of living falls dramatically the farther away you move from the city center; and Milan is a very dense city with many vibrant neighborhoods and a good public transport system, so don't feel like you need to live right in the center. The cost of living becomes very affordable if you are willing to commute via rail from the suburbs, however while the commuter rail system generally works fine, when it fails it fails hard.
Although knowledge of English in Italy is not very good, Milan is as good as it's going to get. The city plays host to a large number of foreign tourists and business travelers, and although the Milanese have a reputation for being cold workaholics, I'm sure most people will be happy to help you to the best of their abilities.
I do not think there is a difference between the various consumer savings banks. IntesaSanPaolo and UniCredit are the two biggest ones, however there is also a multitude of small savings banks; maybe just remember to stay away from Monte Paschi di Siena, since they've been on the cusp of going bust for a few years now. If you explain you're an expat looking to open an account at any branch in the city center I'm certain they'll be happy to set up an appointment with a helpful english-speaking consultant and walk you through the process.
Healthcare is universal in Italy, however depending on your country of origin you might not be able to immediately access the system (normally, only EU residents are able to). Your employer's Human Resources department should walk you through registering for a Codice Fiscale (an Italian tax identification) and a Tessera Sanitaria (national health service card). Some Italians, generally those in high-income brackets, have private health insurers on top of the national health service, which normally reimburse them should they visit an expensive private clinic independently of the national health system (some hospitals will also offer a better service package for those willing to pay additional fees, and a private insurer will normally reimburse this as well). I know people who have contracted health insurance policies through a large insurance group called Allianz, however I do not have any personal experience with private insurers.
I would highly recommend to start learning the language ASAP. Not because English isn't widely spoken, but because you'll enjoy life a lot more knowing the language. The cost of living is definitely lower as compared to many big European cities; the salaries are lower too. I would also suggest to maybe open an online bank account that has almost zero fees and can be operated with an app in English. No idea about vet. Welcome to Milano! It is a beautiful city. PM me if you need any specific info.
Expensive but beautiful. It is the city that never sleeps in Europe, it has beautiful shops, open every day up to 22 o’clock, tons of very good restaurants and pastry shops, people are always working, always friendly and funnily sarcastic. A walk in the night around Garibaldi is just as romantic as in Paris, you can ride a bike almost everywhere and there is always a lot to explore: our legendary home entrances, the historical places, the many museums. Something big is always going on in Milano, forbidden to get bored.
I love my hometown very much, came back living here as with London out of EU, the only places that matches here is Milano.
A vibrant city surrounded by amazing nature: lakes, mountains, valleys. Close to Switzerland and France, cheap international flights.
The most organised and modern city in Italy (trust me, after 3 years in Naples and Rome it was a big change), still you are in Italy and able to enjoy all the best of it: wonderful food, elegant city and its inhabitants, nature and la bella vita in general.
Need to have guts to deal with bureaucracy but just accept it as a sacrifice.
Very international place but still need to learn Italian to survive.
Living here and loving it.
Hi Gaelle, obviously I agree with you (lol). I'm quite partial to Milan, mainly because I think it combines lots of the aspects that people like about Italy (like the good food) with an international feel.
In terms of job opportunities Milan is definitely one of the best (if not the best job market) in Italy. That applies to both Italians and expats.
I have friends with limited knowledge of the Italian language that have still been able to find jobs here working in positions where the company explicitly needs a mother tongue. However being able to converse well in Italian (in addition to speaking English) will put you at a unique advantage in finding a job here.
I hadn't realised Milan was so bad!
In fact, it isn't. It's a very nice city with lots to see and do, and some millions of people are living there very happily.
Estate agents will point you to the best places to live, where you will be around like-minded people, and with the best possible commuting options, as you will find when you do your exploratory visits.
Sounds like a great opportunity to me, hope you enjoy it.
I'm a newbie, I've just found this forum! I've been living in Milan for a few years now and i really like it here. Like all cities there are some lovely areas and some not so lovely areas. Perhaps you may want to consider somewhere on the metro line for easy access to the city centre? I'm not so sure about the east side of milan, but the north east areas of cernusco sul naviglio, gorgonzola and many other places along the green line are lovely and despite being on the metro line are very pretty! Milan is very multicultural and full of people who find themselves here for work like yourselves or for a partner so i'm sure your wife will have no problems making friends. There are also lots of various groups for english speaking people (have a look at the online magazine easymilano) and i know there's also a group called Moms and Tots. Hope this helps a little, best of luck!