I have been in Milan now for a month and I thought I would write down a few things I wish I had known before moving here. I made a top 10, but because the post gets very long if I write all ten in one post I have cut the post in half. So come back next week for the rest of my tips! Some are about living here and some are about things to visit. Maybe I will make another list when I leave again, which is in three months (time flies). So in no particular order:
1. Get a public transport subscription
Especially if you are a student or under 26 it is really cheap to have unlimited access to the public transport. It only costs 22 euros per month and all you need is a picture (can even be a copy of the picture of your ID-card/passport) and 10 euros for the card itself. You can charge your card for 4 months maximum.
You could also brave the public transport without a ticket, especially in the busses and trams it is really easy, but if you get a fine it will cost 36 euros.
Something else to know for the public transport: there is a very useful app called ATM Milano, where you can check schedules, nearest stops, plan routes and some other things.
2. Go to the top of the Duomo
While you are in Milan, you have to go the top of the Duomo at least once. You can read more about the Duomo here, because I wrote about my own visit last week.
3. Phone subscriptions
If you want to be able to call/text/have internet access, there are a lot of different providers in Milan. Easiest is using you own phone and getting a ‘ricaricabile’, which is a subscription you pay for per month. You pay for the subscription by charging your phone with money (like prepaid). By not having enough money in your account, you stop the subscription. The cheapest ricaricabile cost 10 euros and you can get 1GB or even 2GB of internet and 200 minutes, but it depends on the provider.
4. Gelato, where do you find the best stuff?
When in Italy, you have to eat gelato. The best gelato that I have encountered so far is from Cioccolati Italiani. You can find them close to the Duomo, but they have a couple of stores throughout Milan and even in other countries. Check out their locations here. Another really good gelato can be found at Grom. They also promote their fair products and they also have an overview of what is in their gelatoso if you are lactose intolerant or vegan you can check which gelato you can eat. I most often go to the one on Piazza Gae Aulenti (Porta Nuova), but you can check there stores here.
One of the things I had no idea about is the necessity of a deposit of three months when you want to rent a room in Milan. This is very common in Italy, but in the Netherlands there is usually no deposit or of one month rent. So when you have found a room in Milan, make sure to know if there is a deposit, how much it is and if you need it in cash.
Read the other 5 tips next week!