Life as Digital Nomad in Milan, Italy
by Josien - 23 May, 2019
We all know that this city has a rich Roman history and it’s the fashion capital of Europe. But is Milan also a great city to stay as a 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 bars for digital nomads
You can’t have bad coffee in Italy. Just simply can’t. And, if I may speak for all digital nomads, 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 digital nomad
Europe can be expensive, but 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 an Italian city!
Coffee is around € 1 EUR and a sandwich for lunch around € 7 EUR. If you don’t go to the tourist 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 omelet € 12. But I have to say it’s worth it if you’re in need of really 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, antipasti, 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 a HUGE plate of delicious pasta for only € 9 EUR, and that is really cheap. The ambiance is cozy, Italian, and friendly. Highly recommendable!
Con 1. Language barrier
So you think you’re in a first-world country, and in a modern, international oriented city: everybody speaks English. Right? 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 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 you learn to speak Italian!
Con 2. WiFi Connection
The Italians are very traditional folk. They go to coffee bars to socialize, hear the local news, gossip, read the newspaper, or play a game of chess. They are less focussed on their mobile phones. There are very few coffee bars with a strong a wifi connection you need as a digital nomad. 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 or have a wireless hotspot with you. You will need one as a digital nomad in Milan!
Con 3. Co-working / meeting other digital nomads in Milan
Milan is a great city to shop, wander around and learn about Roman history, but it’s not really appealing for a digital nomad. There’s a small co-working community and a few bars where you’re not alone when working from your laptop. But that is about it. Maybe we should start our own co-working space for a digital nomad in Milan!