Life as Digital Nomad in Milan, Italy
Milan, the Italian fashion hotspot, capital of Lombardia, the home of The Last Supper and above all the Italian finance centre is situated in this pretty city. In the North of Italy, in the shadow of the Alps and the Swiss boarder, this historical city sparkles.
We all know that this city has a rich Roman history and you can find a lot of archeological spots. But is it also a great city to stay as Digital Nomad? Will you find many like minded people, co working spaces and is the wifi in the coffee bars reliable? I have tested the city and summed up my pro's and cons. I hope it will help you with deciding to go or maybe go somewhere else!
PRO 1. Coffee and coffee bars
You can't have bad coffee in Italy. Just simply can't. And, if I may speak for all DNs, we love coffee! Can't do, act, behave without it! Good thing that Italians are super proud of their coffee and you can literally grab it at every street corner! Happy us!
So you can imagine there are many coffee bars to work (although the wifi...) and hang out.
PRO 2. Not too expensive for a European city
Europe can be expensive, although it depends on where exactly you are. Milan is sort of in between all prices. Rome and Barcelona are way more expensive for example, but Porto and Bukarest are cheaper. Not too bad for a Italian city!
Coffee is around € 1 EUR and a sandwich for lunch around € 7 EUR. If you don't go to the touristic places ofc! Cause when having breakfast or coffee at CorsoComo10 (which is a hidden terrace with a lovely garden), you pay a little extra: coffee € 3,50 and omelette € 12. But I have to say it's worth it if you're in need of real good food.
PRO 3. The food
I don't think I have to tell you about how great Italian food is and that pasta, pizza, anti-pasti and limoncello are at it's finest in Italy itself of course. So whether you're staying in Milan or another Italian city, I think the issue 'food' is covered. Nothing to worry about!
The best Italian restaurant and with REAL cheap ass prices: Da Giannino - L'angolo d'Abruzzo. Tripadvisor claims it's pricy, but it's totally not. You have HUGE plate of delicious pasta for only € 9 EUR, and that is really cheap. The ambiance is cosy, Italian and friendly. Highly recommendable!
CON 1. English speaking community
So you think you're in a first world, modern, international oriented city: everybody speak English. Well, think again! Not only the old generation, but also many young Italians don't speak English or are not feeling confident enough to speak it. In my case: not really connecting with the locals (except the bartender and waitress).
Lovely as the most of the Italians are: they do try to make you feel at home. With many hand gestures they get a long way, so don't be afraid that they won't communicate. And the more time you spend in your favorite coffee bar, the faster the locals will try to connect with you. In the end they're a curious nation anyway.
CON 2. Wifi connection
The Italians are a very traditional folk. They go to coffee bars to talk with each other. Hear the local news, gossip, read the newspaper or play a game of chess. There are very few coffee bars with the strong wifi connection you need. The ones that do, are the touristic bars: higher prices and no like minded people.
My advice: make sure you can work from the place you're staying.
CON 3. Co working / Meeting other DNs
Milan is a great city to shop, wander around and learn about the Roman history, but it's not really appealing for Digital Nomads. So chances are little to meet many other DNs. There is a small co-working community and a few bars where you're not alone when working from your laptop. But that is about it. Too bad, cause it has much going for it!
Planning your trip to Milan? Don't forget to pay the lakes in the north of Italy a visit too! They're beautiful and a must see when you're around. Read all about it in this paperback Lonely Planet Travel Guide for Milan!