Hey, welcome to Milan! We hope this guide will help you find your way around and integrate more easily! 🙂 This guide belongs to you, make good use of it and do not hesitate to share it and talk about it around you!

We are garagErasmus, the professional network for Erasmus students and this guide you are about to discover is the result of the Handshake project we developed in partnership with the Fondation Hippocrene. We wanted to offer a useful and practical tool to all young (or not so young) people arriving in big cities such as Brussels, Paris and Milan. We know how difficult it is to find your way around and understand how things work, so we have tried to put together some information in these few pages that may be helpful for you in your integration into your new life.

You will find information on: how to get to Milan, administrative procedures, employment and education, housing, health and medical assistance, etc. We invite you to visit the summary page to see which pages or parts of the guide you want to read, enjoy!

Pre-reading tip: If the websites listed in our guide are in Italian and you don’t know these languages, use the Google Chrome browser to visit the website and right-click: choose the option “translate into (the language of your choice)”.
If you have any comments to make, don’t hesitate to write to us at highereducation@garagerasmus.org.

 

Arrival

There are several ways to get to Milan:

By plane:

The main airport for international flights is Malpensa.

It has two terminals: No. 1, the larger one, serves international flights of major airlines, including intercontinental ones, and No. 2, mainly low-cost (e.g. Easyjet). A free shuttle bus connects the terminals (departure approximately every 20 minutes). You can get from Malpensa airport to the city with the Malpensa Express train (goes to Milano Cadorna and Milano Centrale stations, departing every 30 minutes, journey time about 40 minutes, cost – about EUR 13 one way). Buses of different companies from the Malpensa airport leave approximately once every 20 minutes (the cost of the trip is EUR 8). The journey time takes from 40 minutes on weekends to 1 hour or even longer on weekdays.

Other aiports:

Linate: The airport is located only 7 km from the center of Milani and it is reachable by public transport: bus number 73 stops in front of the terminal and travels to Piazza San Babila in the city center (metro line MM1).

Bergamo Orio al Serio: Located 45km from Milan it is served mostly by low cost companies and it is connected by bus. Service operated by Autostradale, Terravision or Orio Shuttle. The serve is provided from 4:35 until 23:40 every 20/30 minutes.
The trip takes 50 minutes and one ticket costs 7€ online and up to 10€ on the bus.

By train:

The main railway station, Milano Centrale, is served by the Trenitalia railway company. Both regular and high-speed trains arrive here from all major Italian cities and many European hubs (Barcelona, Zurich, Geneva, Munich, Paris, Vienna, Stuttgart, etc.). For high-speed trains check also Italo. Milano Centrale is connected to the MM2 and MM3 metro lines.

Another important railway station for travelers in Milan is Cadorna, where the express train from Malpensa stops. Cadorna is managed by Ferrovie Nord. These two railway companies as well as Italo use different tickets so be sure to buy the correct one.

Accommodation & housing

Milan is divided into nine administrative zones, known as municipi. The municipio 1 is the centro storico (historical center) of town and located in the heart of the city. The other eight zones are grouped clockwise around the center, starting with zone 2 to the northeast. The nine municipi — which all include a variety of smaller neighborhoods — are often identified by the landmarks or notable streets in that region.

We know that finding a house or a room (or even just a bed) in Milan seems to be a huge adventure, but we are here to give you some tips! To find property for rent, look out for affitto or offerte di affitto in online ads. For a one-bedroom apartment in a reasonably central location, you can expect to pay about 1,000 EUR per month, and a three-bedroom apartment will cost you nearer 2,000 EUR, or more. By searching online for stanze, you can find rooms to rent, which are a useful choice for younger expats or those with a small budget. Even student accommodation in Milan can be rather expensive, though, with about 400–700 EUR in rental costs per month. Vendita refers to property for sale. If you are considering buying a flat or house in the Milan area, we recommend getting advice from a property lawyer first.

Some useful resources for finding accommodation in Milan are listed below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/milanoaffittocasa/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rent.Milano/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/961885443832780/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/AffittoStudentiMilano/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/204469673444759/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/944858005533028/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1162454953883711/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/AffittoCaseMilano/

If you want to secure a spot in advance some online services can be helpful, check:

https://www.spotahome.com/
https://www.uniplaces.com/

 If you are a student you can apply for a spot in one of the various student residences that are normally more affordable, ask your university for more information on the available solutions. Another good idea is to join the Erasmus Student Network of Milan that can help you find a room or a flat. For more information take a look here: https://www.unimi.it/en/study/financial-support/accommodation/residences

Transportation

Milan overground lines of public transportation system consists of buses, trams and trolley lines and connects every corner of the city within and outside the urban area.

You can use the interactive map below to find the best solution to you journey in Milan if using the public transport network. Here you can find some practical information:

  • Milan’s overground public transport system works every day. Lines 90 and 91 run twenty-four hours a day; line 9 from 04.00 a.m. to 02.00 a.m.; tram lines from 04.30 a.m. to 02.30 a.m.; bus lines from 05.30 a.m. to 01.40 a.m. Click here to read more information about timetables.
  • In order to get on board you have to purchase a regular ticket. Click here to find details about tickets.
  • If you are looking for a journey on historical tram lines, we suggest to take these lines: 1, 3, or 33.
  • By using the surface transport system you can reach only one of the three airports of Milan: Linate City Airport. You can take the bus line 73 in Piazza San Babila, only a few steps away from Piazza Duomo.

MILAN METRO LINES  – The Milan subway system comprises four lines: M1 (red line), M2 (green line), M3 (yellow line), and M5 (lilac line), in addition to the Milan Passante railway ( Passante ferroviario).

HOW TO USE THE MILAN METRO – Before getting on the trains, you must validate your ticket or travel card and go through the turnstile. Please pay attention, all tickets must be validate even when leaving the metro stations.

PRATICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE MILAN METRO LINES.

LINE 1 / RED LINE – It is the most important metro line in Milan and it connects its most relevant areas from the city center to the suburban area of the city. This line runs every day from 05.30 a.m. to 00.30 a.m., from north-east to west. On Sundays and on holidays the metro runs from 06.00 a.m. to 00.30 a.m. The most important stops on the red line are Duomo, San Babila, Castello and Cadorna FN.

LINE 2 / GREEN LINE – It is the second metro line in Milan and connects some important touristic areas of the city, such as the Navigli area, Moscova, Brera district and Cadorna. It runs every day from 05.30 a.m. to 00.30 a.m., from north-east to south. On Sundays and on holidays the metro runs from 06.00 a.m. to 00.30 a.m.

LINE 3 / YELLOW LINE – This line runs from north to south in a single line. It runs every day from 05.30 a.m. to 00.30 a.m., and on Sundays and on holidays from 06.00 a.m. to 00.30 a.m. The most important stops on this line are Duomo, Montenapoleone, Centrale FS and Porta Romana.

LINE 5 / LILAC LINE – The lilac line connects the northern area of Milan with the western area. It runs every day from 05.30 a.m. to 00.30 a.m. On Sundays and on Holiday the metro runs from 06.00 a.m. to 00.30 a.m. The most important stops are Isola (Porta Nuova district), Monumentale, Portello (City Life district) and San Siro.

PASSANTE FERROVIARIO (PASSANTE RAILWAY) OR SUBURBAN LINE – It is an underground railway which runs through Milan. It has only 6 main stops in the city, which are Porta Vittoria, Dateo, Repubblica, Porta Venezia, Porta Garibaldi and Domodossola. You can use this line to move in Milan or to reach some cities outside Milan like Como, Varese, Cremona, Lodi etc.

LINE 4 / BLUE LINE – This new metro line is under construction. Milan’s new M4 metro line will change the city: 15 minutes. That is how long it will take, once M4 is up and running, to reach the Linate airport from Milan’s city centre, reducing the amount of time it takes to reach the rest of Europe from the heart of Italy’s business capital. Set to be 15 kilometres long, the line will have 21 stations, crossing the historic centre in just 30 minutes to connect areas on the eastern and western sides, from the Linate airport to the San Cristoforo station.

Administrative procedures

Before moving to Milan, you will need to familiarize yourself with Italy’s immigration requirements. Firstly, you need to find out whether you must obtain a visa to enter the country.

Nationals of EU and EEA member states as well as Switzerland, Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino do not need a visa, no matter how long they are planning to stay in Milan. Citizens of selected countries do not require a visa for short-term stays, though this also depends on the reason for their visit. Other nationalities may even need an airport transit visa if they want to change planes in Milan.

Getting through the Visa Hassle.

To see which visa category you belong to, you could contact your nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate or check the “Visa for Italy” tool provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It helps you determine if you need a visa at all, where to apply, and which documents to submit. The visa wizard takes the following criteria into account:

  • nationality
  • current country of residence
  • planned duration of your stay (fewer or more than 90 days)
  • reason for coming to Italy

The last category includes various options, from adoption purposes to taking up salaried employment.

Once you have acquired your visa and moved to Milan, all non-EU nationals still need a residence permit from the immigration office. Instead of contacting the Sportello Unico directly, it can be easier to fill out an application kit available at various post offices. To find your nearest post office in Milan with a Sportello Amico section, go to the Poste Italiane website.

Lastly, you need a certificate di residenza (residence certificate) — not to be confused with the residence permit mentioned above — from the anagrafe (registry office). This applies to everyone staying in Italy for more than three months, including EU nationals — don’t forget to get this certificate within the first 90 days of your stay in Milan. Depending on what you are planning to do in Milan, different documents are required for your application. The website of the City of Milan has detailed information on residence certificates, divided by “Documentation for EU citizens” and “Documentation for non-EU citizens”.

Once you have all the required documents, fill in the “application form of residence”, which can be found on the same site. Finally, you will need to make an appointment at one of the registry offices or send your registration documents via fax, email, or mail. All contact details can be found under the above link. You can also contact Milan’s central registry office by phone on +39 02 02 02 for more information.

The Codice Fiscale: Your Tax Identification Number.

As soon as you have your residence permit, or proof that you don’t need one as an EU citizen, you can use this to obtain your tax identification number (codice fiscale). The codice fiscale is used for more than just doing your taxes — you’ll definitely need one for your time in Milan, as it’s required for renting an apartment long-term and for opening a bank account, among other things. You will need the following documents for your application:

  • valid passport/ID
  • completed application form
  • residence permit or similar

The Agenzia delle Entrate (revenue agency) has also published a video on YouTube explaining how you can obtain your tax identification number (TIN). Depending on whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen, as well as your purpose for relocating to Italy, you can apply for your TIN at the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione  (unified immigration desk), at any police headquarters, or the offices of the Agenzia delle entrate (Italian revenue agency).

Health and medical assistance

In order to live in Italy, both European and non-European residents are required to obtain certain official documents in order to formalize their right of residence. All incoming European students should have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles the holder to get necessary treatments at the same cost as an insured person living in the country you are visiting.

The Codice fiscale is only valid for state-provided services, as private health is not covered. When accidents occur during the didactic activities in the school locations, students in international mobility are covered by injury and civil liability insurance. We strongly recommend that students ensure they have medical insurance before their arrival and we also highly recommend providing liability insurance to cover any accidental damage caused to other people or properties. 

In case of Emergencies: Call 112 for any type of emergency, including a medical emergency, fire or to contact the police.

Banking services

To open an Italian bank account you have to go be over 18 y.o. and you can go to any bank in person with your passport and Italian tax code (codice fiscale). The bank representative shall check your identity and go through your personal profile information to comply with the Italian regulations regarding Anti Money Laundering (AML). The bank representative shall therefore ask for your personal information and passport, and ask you to sign a few documents which often are offered only in Italian.

The bank account works immediately or within a few hours after the bank representative has identified you and has completed entering all needed information into the bank system.

Italian banks offer a full range of services equivalent to those offered to Italian residents and/or European Union citizens. These typically include: online banking, cheque books (check books), automatic utility bill payment, debit card and credit card. Other banks only offer a basic service for the bank account to those who are not residents.

Education

On top of the over 900 Public and private schools under the Italian curriculum, Milano offers a comprehensive network of foreign and international schools. Milano is one of the most popular European destination for university studies: it hosts 11 university-level institutions and seven arts academies, among the most reputed in the world. The Deutsche Schule Mailand, the Swiss School of Milan and the French Lycée Stendhal de Milan follow the curricula of their home countries, awarding qualifications recognized in both their home countries and in Italy. 

17 international schools offer a full curriculum taught in English, plus a second or third EU language. Depending on the school, the completion of such courses awards the international baccalaureate, the international diploma or the British and American diplomas, recognized by universities in over 80 countries. Just to mention a few, you can choose between:

 the American School of Milan, the St. Louis School of Milan, the ICS International School , the Canadian School of Milan, the Bloom International College, the British School of Milan Sir James Henderson, the International School of Milan and Monza , the Collegio San Carlo,, the Montessori Bilingual School, the St. Joseph International College, the H – International School of Monza, the Bilingual School of Monza, the Bilingual European School, the Andersen International School, the Mile School. For EU officers or European Union lovers, special mention should be given to the European School of Varese (about 50km north of Milano) which hosts about 1,300 students from 47 different nationalities in five language sections (Dutch, English, French, German and Italian) and awards the European baccalaureate. 

The higher education system of Milan is represented by 14 universities, which offer 210 study programs. In addition 81 Bachelor programs at 14 universities, 82 Master programs at 11 universities, and 47 PhD programs at 6 universities.

You can find an overview here:
https://www.yesmilano.it/en/study/universities-in-milano
https://www.expatarrivals.com/europe/italy/milan/education-and-schools-milan#

Employment

At a Glance:

  • Despite Italy’s economic troubles, it is still possible to find work in Milan, especially if you are practically experienced in your industry.
  • Milan offers some of the highest salaries in Italy, but unfortunately also has the highest cost of living, and salaries are lower than in many other European cities.
  • Working in Milan means you are covered by the state social security system.

The country also has joint social security agreements with a number of other nations.

Contact your home country’s foreign chamber of commerce and ask if they can provide a business directory of their members in the Milan area. Many job vacancies in Italy are never advertised, so this could be a good starting point for unsolicited applications. As far as your own qualifications are concerned, Italian language skills are important: in many jobs, they are essential, and even in international companies, they are a significant bonus.

If you are not sure whether the HR department of a potential employer will acknowledge your foreign credentials, please get in touch with the Centro Informazione Mobilità, Equivalenze Academiche (CIMEA). The CIMEA is responsible for recognizing foreign qualifications in Italy. In some fields of employment, like health services or education, this may even be a requirement for job seekers from abroad.

Try these Milan specific job sites as a starting point:

Find a recruiter to help with your job hunt.

Finding the right talent in Milan can be tricky for busy hiring managers. Big international companies use recruitment agencies to help them connect with the job seekers that are right for them.

Looking online will give you a sense for the job openings that are out there, but if you’re looking for a job in Milan as an American or from elsewhere in the English speaking world, talking to an agent can really speed up your job search by eliminating any language barrier.

Some of the larger and more popular agents in Milan include:

  • Stanton Chase is a large executive search firm working in Milan across sectors as diverse as non profit and banking. They’re worth looking up if you’re after a professional job.
  • With a 40 year history, Amrop is well established in Milan and offers recruitment consultancy and headhunting across many roles including retail, tech, finance and professional services.
  • With a global presence, recruitment giants at Michael Page are used to dealing with candidates and clients from all over the world. They cover many industries in Milan, and can give advice on the local market for expat new arrivals.

Social life

Milan has 54 parks scattered around the city, including 21 gardens. All of these are free to visit and some have special features and are for certain age brackets. There are parks that are open 24 hours; others have specific opening and closing times and are not open 7 days a week. To find a park near you and all the information you need, go to comune. milano.it and click “Aree Tematiche” (Thematic Area), “Verde” (Green), then “Parchi” (Parks).

Milan has a rich variety of museums and art galleries showcasing some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures, as well as special interest museums about science and archaeology. In addition to the City-run museums, other important institutions are Fondazione Prada, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Palazzo Reale, Triennale di Milano, Gallerie d’Italia, Cenacolo Vinciano, Pinacoteca di Brera, Museo del Duomo and Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. For 12€, you can get a 3-day museum pass that will allow you to enter all City-owned museums, including the Sforza Castle, Museo del Novecento, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Archaeological Museum, Museo del Risorgimento, Palazzo Morando Costume Moda Immagine, Civic Aquarium, Milan Natural History Museum, and the Ulrico Hoepli Planetarium. You can purchase tickets on milano.midaticket.it or directly at the museums. Milan has many historical sites that you can explore without entering a museum. There are tourist information panels throughout Milan highlighting the most significant historical sites and tourist attractions. Each panel has a code that when scanned will translate the information into seven different languages, so keep a lookout for these panels when walking around the city. To help you navigate the cultural and artistic heritage of Milan, visit yesmilano.it

Reminder: In Milan, there are also a number of media libraries (mediateca) where you can access the internet as well as digital and audiovisual devices. For example, there is the Mediateca Santa Teresa located at via della Moscova, 28. You can book a computer in advance by emailing b-brai.microfilm@beniculturali.it. For questions, call 02 366 159.

Sports The City has 11 pools and 6 sport centers available to the public to provide greater opportunity to exercise. To find a pool or sport center near you, download the “Sport a Milano” app on Google Play or the App Store or look on the milanosport.it website. The website also includes information about opening times, cost, courses available, how to register, and public transportation directions. The City also offers 400 recreational spaces where you can exercise. Do not forget to check out the free activities! Many associations also organize sports activities. You can go to the Informagiovani (via Dogana, 2) or visit your local library for more information.

Useful vocabulary

Useful Italian expressions:

Ciao = Hello
Come stai? = How are you?
Bungiorno = Good morning
Buonasera = Good evening
Grazie = Thank you
Prego = You’re welcome
Piacere – Nice to meet you
Mi sto divertendo molto – I’m having a great time
Per favore = Please
Mi chiamo … = My name is …
Lei di dov’è? – Where are you from?
Arrivederci, alla prossima – Goodbye, see you next time
Bella giornata oggi, vero? – The weather is lovely today, isn’t it?
Vorrei un caffè, per favore = I would like an espresso, please (when you order coffee in Italy, it automatically means espresso)
Sinistra = Left
Destra = Right
Mi scusi, non capisco – I don’t understand
Cosa vuole dire? – What does that mean?
Parla inglese? – Do you speak English?

Check this website for more italian expressions: https://storylearning.com/learn/italian/italian-tips/basic-italian-phrases
Additional tip: If you already know the basics of Italian, with garagErasmus you can boost your level of Italian for free!

ACCELERATOR OF ITALIAN LANGUAGE

garagErasmus Foundation and Erasmus+ INDIRE have set up  this project to give to exchange students the opportunity to improve their basic-intermediate level of Italian and, over all, widen their knowledge about Italy (culture, habits, customs… and even cuisine!).

Sessions are aimed at people counting with a basic-intermediate level of Italian (equivalent to B1, more or less!) and will be held 100% in Italian. They will always follow the same structure, with a first strictly pedagogical part and a second more informal one on the customs and traditions of Italy. The wonderful team of language teachers of the Dante Alighieri Language Institute of Recanati will be in charge of them: below there is a preview of the programme for this edition.

Find more information at https://garagerasmus.org/accelerator-of-italian-language-culture/