Cost of Living in Milano

With some tips to save you money and make the most of the city!

Milano is a lively and cultured city which is easy to fall in love with. People from all over Italy, Europe and the world come here to work for a company, start a new business, and study at a Milanese University, Polytechnic, or Academy. They love to come and live here, because Milano means high quality of life and outstanding education and networking opportunities

This article provides estimates for the cost of living in Milano in terms of accommodation, public transportation, food and leisure. With some tips to save you money and make the most of the city!

Housing

Like for any global city, rent is likely to be your biggest monthly expense in Milano. A way to save is to share an apartment with other roommates. Cheaper options include living in student dorms and other kinds of residences, although eligibility is limited and rules can be strict, especially for younger people. See our Rents section for more details and advice.

For those looking for off-campus solutions, prices for a single-room studio (monolocale) or a share vary notably depending on the neighbourhood and distance from the centre. However, Milano is a compact metropolis and has a very efficient subway and public transportation system, so that in half an hour or 45 minutes you can be pretty much anywhere you want in the city. So living in the periphery might be a good idea, especially if the apartment is close to a subway station.

To give you an idea of rent prices (average vs central areas)* :

Single-room studio apartment (monolocale):

City average 600-900€
Central areas 700-1200€

 

Share - single room (stanza singola)

City average 450-700€
Central areas  600-900€  

Share - bed in a twin room (posto letto in camera doppia)

City average 350-500€
Central areas 400-500€

*source: merge of data published by real estate agencies in Milano.
 

An estimated 40-50€/month should be added for utilities - although several landlords provide full-package leasing agreements where all housing expenses are included. Watch out forriscaldamento (heating) and spese condominialii (general expenses), as these can be hefty extra costs.

More info and tips on what to do and what to avoid when renting a room or house, on our Rents section

Public Transports

ATM is the municipal company running public transit in Milano. For the cost of a single ticket (2€), you can travel on 5 metro lines and an extensive network of trams and buses running across the city. The ticket is also valid on the underground rail link (Passante) and the urban stations of the regional railway network (Trenord). The monthly pass for people younger than 27 is 22€, while 39€ is the regular price for adults. You can also buy a year-long pass at a significant discount (200€ for young people, 330€ for everybody else).

Milano is a benchmark city for sustainable mobility in Europe. It was one of the first cities to embrace bike sharing and car sharing. It currently provides a wide selection of electric bikes, scooters, cars, and other vehicles at very convenient prices.

For instance, BikeMi lets you cycle on the city's roads and bike lanes at a minimal cost. With a yearly pass, costing only 12€ if you're younger than twenty-seven and 36€ if you're older, you can use your city bicycle for 30' free of charge. Once you dock it, you just have to wait 5 minutes and you can take another bike (again, at zero cost for the first half hour).
 

See more about mobility options in Milano

Food

Italians live for eating well and in Milano you can find a dizzying choice of grocers and supermarkets, street markets and farmer's markets, eateries and food shops appealing to all kinds of palates and pockets. As point of reference, the cost of an espresso is 1€ pretty much everywhere, and a take-away pizza (margherita) costs 4/5 euros.

Universities and firms often provide access to cafeterias which serve good food at reasonable prices (7€ per meal on average), special deals with cafes (bar, in Milan) and restaurants can get you a lunch for less than 10€. Dinners are usually pricier, as there are usually no set menus. If you are on a string budget, please note that there is nothing more Milanese than eating “la schiscetta” (home made lunch box).

The estimated monthly budget covering food and personal care products hovers around 200€ for a single-person household.

Wanna taste more? See our Food section.

Leisure and culture

Milano is the Italian capital of business, knowledge, media, style. It is a truly European city replete with fashion&design events, trendy food spots and nightlife venues. No matter the reason that has made you come to the city, you want to be part of all this. Going out is a way of life here.

Milano offers restaurants for every pocket. However, you should budget for at least 30€ for a dinner out, and 20€ if it is a pizzeria.

A very cheap alternative to dinner is the happy hour of aperitivo, an evergreen habit in Milano, usually consumed at end of office hours (7-9 pm). An aperitivo should cost no more than 10€ – which include the cost of a cocktail plus a platter of food/access to a buffet.  For a beer or glass of wine you should count at least 5€.

An average ticket for Alla Scala Theater performance (absolutely worth seeing at least once in one's life!) starts at 70€ and goes up to 200€  for operas and ballets, while 55€ is the average price for classical concerts. A membership card for young people under 30 is available and gives you 25% discounts and free access to many events.

Our tip: check for available seats in the upper gallery, since these tickets can be discounted up to 15€: the sight of the stage might not be the best, but the overall aesthetic experience is unique. Plus, you may chatter with a real melomaniac during intervals - by using the upper gallery they can afford not to miss one representation; moreover, they say the sound from the Loggione (as they call the upper gallery) is the best.

Food4Thought? Entrance to civic museums costs 5€ for adults and 3€ for students, while tickets for blockbuster exhibitions are sold at 12/15€. If you live for culture rather than food, you should definitely consider getting a Museum Pass Lombardy, a yearly card that gives you you access to most galleries and museums in Milan and the rest of the region for only 45€ (27-64 y.o.)/ 30€ (15-26 y.o.).

Over 1.2 million books and audiovisuals are accessible for free in any of the 25 Municipal Libraries (Sistema Bibliotecario di Milano) spread throughout the city. An additional circuit of bookstores and venues acting as collection points make library services even closer to inhabitants. Libraries provide free consultation of daily newspapers and weekly magazines, quiet spaces for studying, and organize book presentations, and free cultural activities for all ages and tastes. Digital loan is also available.

Food4Thought? Entrance to civic museums costs 5€ for adults and 3€ for students, while tickets for blockbuster exhibitions are sold at ≥12€. If you live for culture rather than food, you should definitely consider to subscribe for the Lombardy Museum Card, a yearly pass to most of the regional galleries and museums for only 45€ (27-64 y.o.)/ 30€ (15-26 y.o.).

An average ticket for a performance at La Scala (absolutely worth of trying once in life!) starts from 70 - 200€ (opera/ballets) or avg. 55€ for concerts. A card for young people under 30 is available which entitles to a 25% average discount and access to many free events.

Our tip: check available seats at the upper gallery were tickets can be discounted up to 15€:sight is not the best but the overall experience is unique.

Over 1.2 million books, audiovisuals and digital resources are accessible for free in one of the 25 Municipal Libraries spread through the city. An additional circuit of bookstores and venues acting as pick-up points makes library services even more close to you. Libraries provide reference for your research, free space for studying and free cultural activities for all tastes. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to fill your daily life with fun&culture.