By Simon Brandon
Italy’s second city is a temple to arts and fashion with some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery on its doorstep.
An economy focused on the future
Milan, Italy’s financial and business capital, is in Europe’s top five for GDP per capita, and is looking to the future with confidence. Last year, Italy’s first fintech district opened for business here and the city has already started pitching for some of the post-Brexit spoils should companies look to move operations out of the UK.
Stage and screen spectacles
When it comes to cultural life, Milan is a European heavyweight. The city hosts two major film festivals each year — the Milano Film Festival and the Milan International Film Festival — while La Scala, one of the world’s leading opera houses, has an extensive programme of opera, ballet, concerts and other cultural events.
Home to the fashion elite
Milan is the hub of Italian glamour. Milan Fashion Week — one of the “big four” along with London, Paris and New York — takes place twice a year. Most of the big Italian fashion houses, including Versace, Prada and Armani, have their headquarters in the city.
Natural beauty nearby
The Alps are visible from the city centre and skiers don’t have far to travel in winter. The Bergamo ski area, which includes five resorts and 140km of pistes, is within 90 minutes’ drive. When the snow melts, the Italian Lakes region, which bends around Milan to the north, is even closer: Lake Como is an hour away by train.
Expats well catered for
There are several thousand English-speaking nationals living in Milan and the expat community is thriving and tight-knit. There are about a dozen international schools, including the British School of Milan, which was rated “excellent” by the UK’s Independent Schools Inspectorate last year.
Photographs: Getty Images; Dino Fracchia/Alamy; Getty Images/iStockphoto; Dreamstime; Marco Catteneo