London vs Milan: thinking about relocating to the “City of the Big Smoke” or to the “Drinkable City”?

There are lots of similarities, pros and cons, and many more aspects. However, the final choice is yours.

First, let’s talk about similarities of these two cities.

Milan and London are very similar cities. Due to their part in the long history and common ancestry. Milan stretches within the Lombardy region and was founded several centuries before the Common Era, and London only a few decades into the Common Era, but a combination of geography and educational and financial opportunities made both cities the cultural, industrial and financial hubs of their respective countries.

London with its massive urban area is the second city in the EU, while Milan ranks fifth.

Both Milan and London have their history as a financial and commercial centre dating back to the middle ages. After the Risorgimento (Italian unification) in the late 1800’s, Milan was the industrial lender of the new nation.

The two cities are home to the countries’ main stock exchanges and headquarters for the largest banks. Large national and multinational companies have chosen to locate their headquarters in both Milan and London.

And of course, we should not forget about fashion legacy of these two capitals, one official and one proclaimed.

Both cities are highly notable in the world of fashion and design, Milan is clearly the leader in both categories. The who’s who of international fashion, including Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are all headquartered in Milan. Milan’s semi-annual Fashion Week is one of the most important events in international fashion.


London vs Milan: Now it is time of comparison!


Anyone who has ever visited Italy will probably tell you that the coffee is better in the fashion capital of the world. The truth is, London’s coffee isn’t too bad, but you have to know where to find it.

In Italy, it’s possible to have a good quality espresso anywhere in town and be charged no more than €1, while in London it costs at least 70 cents more.


Making time for meals and rest:

In Italy, timing is important, and it must always be respected.

People have lunch around 1 p.m. They have diner in the evening. Mornings and afternoons are for work. The night is for fun and rest.

While in London office workers are most likely to grab a sandwich or smoothie on the go, in Italy you take time to have a slow lunch followed by a must “un caffé”



Italians are masters at killing time, which has a code name – cazzeggio.

In any bar at any time of day, you will find a couple sharing a glass of wine or a quick espresso not really worrying about the expired lunch time or any other duties of the working day.



Working in Italy can be a nightmare. All because of the famous bureaucracy system which is very, very complicated. This is of course assuming you’re working for an Italian company. Working in an international company will be much better as it will insulate you from some of the bureaucracy and probably encourage a US/UK style of business over an Italian one.

So there you have it, now it’s time to make a choice: whether you want to drink spritz enjoying the view of Duomo or admiring the almighty Big Ben, sitting on the board of the red bus.

London vs Milan: bureaucracy