8 Best things about being an expat in Milan
Living in Italy for many is a dream come true. After visiting the romantic villages of il bel paese, strolling the cobbled stoned streets of charming little hamlets of ancient, medieval towns or shopping in Milan the fashion capital of Italy, it’s hard not to fall in love with the country and its people.
For many, the thought of living in a different country is daunting and the idea of moving to Italy just remains a daydream. There are so many challenges that come with it: learning a new language, adapting to unfamiliar culture and customs, or even just finding your way around.
For those who have made the decision to do so, however, there are countless benefits. Expats often find their lives enriched by the experience of living abroad and exploring what this new place has to offer them.
Ask any expat in Italy and they will tell you the best things about living in Italy are the food, the climate, and people. Milan has all of these things but there is a special atmosphere and quality about it.
Milan is like no other city in Italy. It’s diversity, culture and metropolitan way of life are just a few things that make living in Milan unique.
Let’s explore some of the best things about being and expat and the best things about Milan.
Milan has a rich art and design cultural scene / photo Hangar Bicocca
Milan is a vibrant city with so much to offer
Milan is sometimes thought of as a drab, financial hub but there is an exciting vibe in Milan that not only offers local tourist attractions, museums and fashion, there are exciting art districts such as the Via Tortona and Naviglio areas where local artists and upcoming designers hold exhibits, international theater performances and live music.
Large exhibitions and masterpieces can be seen at the Triennale Milano, Prada Foundation, Hangar Bicocca and of course, the Pinacoteca di Brera to name a few.
Creativity is everywhere
Creativity is everywhere in Italy. Art, design and architecture are a part of everyday life in Milan, and it is encouraged in all parts of society. Everything from the display on a coffee-bar counter to the sophisticated fashion boutique windows offer a detail of creativity.
Creativity can be found even in company lounge areas and business venues / The Hub Milano
Creativity is not only expressed as fashion or art, even company lounge areas and business venues use design elements and color to articulate their corporate culture. It could be something non-descript like an unusual lamp – there is always a touch of originality.
Milan is a ‘green’ city
Milan is a city where old meets new, especially in the new Porta Nuova district, where eco-efficient steel and glass skyscrapers reflect a new future for Milanese architecture and sustainable living.
Milan is working towards becoming one of Europe’s greenest cities. The city sponsored ForestaMI project aims to have 3 million trees planted by 2030.
Urban expansion projects such as the Scalo Milano Outlet village is expanding to include not only forty-five new stores but also an area of 1,500 square meters for coworking. The idea is to provide professional office facilities and encourage residents who can work remotely to stay nearby, thus reducing city traffic congestion, pollution, and promote a sustainable commuter culture.
Diversity is welcome
Diversity is often broadly defined as an acceptance of the LGBTQ community, racial and cultural differences or simply being different. In a general sense, the people of Milan do not see sexuality, skin color or religious belief as an issue. In respect to other cities, especially within the past two years, there is an increased empathetic sentiment that “we are all in this together.” That is not to say that prejudice does not exist, but Milan has truly become a modern metropolis with a wide range of people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds.
All your friends will want to come to visit
It’s not just the expat who benefits from this new experience, but also their friends and family. Having a friend in Milan is the best excuse for a trip to Italy! After overcoming the struggles of finding your way around and fumbling to try to learn the language, there’s nothing more satisfying than showing your friends and family around. They will be impressed that you know your way around all the short-cuts and back lanes.
You learn that style has nothing to do with fashion
Style is more about how you carry yourself than what you are wearing / Harmont & Blaine @ScaloMilano
No one knows how to wear clothes with a sense of style better than the Italians. Italy is home to some well-known fashion brands, such as Versace and Gucci. Replicating classic Italian style is not just a matter of wearing bold, red jeans or a scarf, it’s understanding that style has nothing to do with fashion. What is right for one person is not right for another and elegance is defined as making a good impression, or bella figura. Style is defined by the way you carry yourself, how you speak and how you interact with others.
An Italian friend is a friend for life
Italians love practicing their English with foreigners, which is a great way to make friends. Learning Italian is complicated at first, but it is easier when you have something to talk about. Go beyond the elementary-level lessons and join a cooking class, a gym or a skills workshop and meet locals with common interests.
Italians have a deep sense of family and connection. When friendship is reciprocated, they will become a friend for life.
You learn to cook by osmosis
Kitchenware and utensils by Alessi / photo Alessi @Scalo Milano
If you weren’t a foodie before coming to Italy, you’ll become one. If you didn’t know how to cook, you will learn, even if only in theory. The main topic of conversation in Italy is food, food preparation and food quality. You’ll learn that eggplants should be eaten in October and spinach in January. You’ll learn that hazelnuts should come from Viterbo and cherries from Vignola. You will learn that Alessi makes the most beautiful kitchenware and utensils and that there are white wines which perfectly pair with red meat. You will learn to recognize hints of spices and that chopped carrot is the secret to a perfect ragù. Food is so much a part of the culture, you will learn about it without even trying.
If you’re thinking about moving to Italy to a creative vibrant city, then Milan might be the perfect place for you.
- Scalo Milan @Casa – Scalo Milano arrives at your home: buy via Whatsapp and receive your purchases where and when you prefer.
- Esselunga Locker – Conveniently collect your shopping in the Esselunga Locker.
- Luxury delivery -Our elegant concierge, with jacket, tie and white gloves, is ready to deliver your purchase to the one you love.
- ATM – There are two ATM points at your disposal.
- Motoparking– Traveling on two wheels? Discover the services designed for you and your motorcycle from Scalo Milano Outlet & More.
- Helmet deposit.
- Pet friendly – Do you want to go shopping with your most faithful friend? Scalo Milano welcomes pets.
- Catering – Do not miss the delicious proposals of the Food Court of Scalo Milano Outlet & More.
- Children’s play area – A free outdoor play area.
- Maps -A valuable tool to help you find your way around shops, services, bars and restaurants.
- Re-Chargino – Charge your mobile phone battery for free while you shop!
- Wheelchairs -Scalo Milano is equipped to welcome all visitors.
- Free Wi-Fi -You have 90 minutes of navigation per day.
- Hairdresser and beauty -After shopping, take some time for yourself, come to Number One for a cut, styling or beauty treatment!
- Tailoring Service -Tailoring service: you shop, we’ll take care of the tailoring repairs!
- Electric car charging -A few meters from entrance 1 of Scalo Milano there are two charging stations for electric cars.
- Shuttle Service – Easily reach Scalo Milano Outlet & More from Central Station and Largo Cairoli, in the heart of Milan.
- Amazon Locker – Amazon Lockers are self-service collection points that offer Amazon customers the opportunity to collect their shipment in complete autonomy.
- Info point – Always available for assistance.
- Free parking -At Scalo Milano, parking spaces are plentiful and free.
- Umbrella rental – Did you leave your umbrella at home?
- Tax Free shopping and customs advice -For citizens of non-European countries there are even more advantages!
Article by C. Abernethy for Easy Milano
Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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