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Finding Accommodation in Milan

Are you planning a move to Milan? The prosperous heart of northern Italy offers expats both a businesslike atmosphere and plenty of cultural treasures. Our InterNations Guide on moving to Milan helps new arrivals with advice on administrative issues as well as tips for finding a new home.
The neighborhood near Milan’s navigli has both a traditional and an alternative flair.

The Nine Municipi of Milan

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. For example, zone 4 is known for its Porta Vittoria and Forlanini districts and is often casually referred to by either name.

Milan’s Neighborhoods: A Study in Contrasts

Your choice of accommodation will depend on the location of your workplace, the availability of transportation connections, your personal taste, and your budget. However, as in many cities, there are some areas of Milan you might want to avoid, due to issues like high unemployment figures, social tensions, above-average crime rates, as well as environmental problems and being in a general state of disrepair after once being home to the city’s industrial activities.

These less desirable neighborhoods can be found in parts of zone 4 (Ponte Lambro), zone 5 (Vigentino, Gratosoglio), zone 6 (Ronchetto sul Naviglio), and zone 7 (Quinto Romano). Other districts that used to have a similar reputation have undergone a process of redevelopment and are becoming popular again, e.g. Baggio with the spacious Parco delle Cave in zone 8.

On the other hand, housing in Milan also caters to more luxurious tastes. Well-paid expats with a big budget may be able to afford accommodation in the centro storico — e.g. in bohemian Brera or around Piazza Sempione. However, while its central location means good transportation links and plenty to see and do, apartments there can be small, expensive, and the area can get very busy.

Popular Residential Areas in Milan

Younger expatriates, especially singles and couples, might prefer some districts in zone 3. As the name implies, Città Studi houses a number of university campuses and facilities and is popular with students; Porta Venezia has a vibrant nightlife for students and other partygoers, a diverse multi-ethnic population, and a lively LGBT scene. There’s also a bit of alternative youth culture in zone 6, in the Porta Genova neighborhood near Milan’s navigli (historic canals), and plenty of nightlife in the Porta Ticinese/San Lorenzo area.

Expats on a generous budget that doesn’t quite cover the centro storico might want to consider the fashionable inner parts of Porta Romana in zone 4, with their shopping facilities, embassies, and luxurious residences. They may also want to look into some areas of San Siro (zone 7), the quiet, upscale, and well-connected district of Porta Nuova (zone 9), or the gated communities in Arese (zone 8).

If you’d like to save a bit of money and don’t mind a longer commute, you should search for slightly more isolated areas with decent transportation connections to the city center. Such neighborhoods can be found in Rogoredo (zone 4) or the former dormitory district of Quarto Oggiaro (zone 8). Some expats even move to the towns of Monza and Brianza, which offer plenty of residential areas, recreational venues, green spaces, and convenient transportation links.

Housing: Everything Comes at an Expense

To find property for rent, look out for affitto or offerte di affitto in newspaper classifieds or 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 let, 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.


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