I am originally from Venice, I am currently living in Hong Kong and I have been pondering the same question for quite some time.
Obviously, your mileage may vary, but these are the reasons that would push me to live in Milan:
A. Excellent public transports: by all means, Milan has modern transport services “by modern standards”, not by the (admittedlypoor) Italian standards. After years of neglect, Milan is now equipped with an excellent metro system (still expanding),the administration is openly trying to curb the traffic congestion in the city center and is pushing people to use bicycles.
B. Three airports: Milan has three airports serving the city. Linate(the small city airport, mostly used for Italian / regional routes), Malpensa(the International routes hub) and Bergamo(the Ryanair hub). This gives people of Milan a fantastic range of opportunities to travel, from budget airlines to long-distance connections.
C. Bullet trains: Milan’s Centrale Station is the hub for hi-speed trains connecting the North of Italy to Rome and Naples. This allows people of Milano to reach Turin and Bologna in 1h, Florence in 2h, Rome in 4 hours and Naples in 5 hours. No expensive airplane tickets are needed, no need to go through the hassle of airport security.
D. Cultural attractions and events: Milan is the Italian Capital for cultural attractions (matched probably only by Venice and Rome). If you live there you will find a constant stream of top-notch Museum exhibitions, classical and rock music concerts, musicals. For those of us design-inclined, there is once a year the Salone Del Mobile event (a world-class interior design exhibition spread all over the city). For those more fashion conscious, there is the Milan Fashion Weekattracting crowds from all over the world.
E. Food scene: Milan has a fantastic food scene. After the successful 2015 Food Expo, a myriad of new restaurants — with Italian and foreign kitchens —popped up giving people endless opportunities to try new food, cuisine, etc.
F. LessBureaucracy: in Italy, bureaucracy is terribly inefficient but luckily in Milan — the Italian business capital — bureaucracy has a considerably reduced footprint and limited ability to ruin people’s life.
G. Geographical proximity to many other Italian and European cities: from Milan you can reach in 2h by car/train the beaches of Liguria or the mountains in Cervinia. In 2.5h hours you can be in Venice or Florence by train. In under 3h you can be on the slopes in Switzerland or to the beach in Cannes. In just a 1.5h flight you can be in Palermo or Catania. In under 2h by flight you can be in London, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Athens. In 6h you can be in New York. Everything is close, but you still live in Italy. Priceless.
H. Lively job market: Italian’s job market is pretty depressed everywhere except than in Milan. If you are looking for a job in Italy, Milan is the place to be. Salaries are also above average, compared to other Italian cities (but still below what you would get in Germany or the UK, taxes are also punitive).
I. Multicultural scene: Milan is also a foreign culture hub, thus making social interactions much more interesting.
Regardless of the above, there are a few downsides to also take into account:
- Cost of living: Milan is (together with Rome) the only Italian city where cost of living is getting on par with the Northern European’s cities.
- Real estate prices: Milan is (together with Rome) the only Italian city where real estate price did not collapse after the 2011 crash and are now inching closer to the prices of London, Paris & Frankfurt (new buildings in proximity to the city center start easily from 7.5k Euro/sqm).
- Milanese people: Milanese people are overly focused on their career and making money. A big slice of them are not interested in social interaction if there is not abusiness-related quid pro quo. If you cannot make friends in Milan just remember that it’s not you: it’s them. For this reason, if you do not have strong family ties or close friends already living there, Milan can oftentimes turn into a city of great solitude, even for young people.
Thanks for the A2A Joseph Sales