If you plan to travel to Milan, keep in mind Italy is part of the European Union. Therefore, you must pay in euros for all goods and services you purchase while in Milan. If you are not familiar with this currency, remember that the subunits of the European sole currency refer to coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (coins also come in 1 and 2 euro), whereas bills go from 5 euro to 500 euro banknotes.
Unsurprisingly, banks offer the best exchange rates in Milan. There is a high density of banks in the center of the city, but branches, for that matter, can be spotted throughout the city. Most of the banks open approximately between 08:30am and 1:30pm and between 2:30pm and 4pm. Some branches also operate on Saturday mornings.
Exchange offices are also available in Milan, but the exchange rates are not very convenient or, in all cases, not as convenient as the ones offered by banks.
ATMs (bancomat in Italian) can be spotted throughout Milan. They are a solution at hand if you are in need of a fast means of acquiring cash. These ATMs accept a wide variety of cards, but it’s best if you own cards endorsed by major companies like American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard. High rated hotels, restaurants and shopping venues also accept payments with the card, but keep in mind smaller businesses still only accept payments in cash.
In Milan there are plenty of post offices managed by Poste Italiane. They are called ufficio postale in Italian, and the services they offer also include monetary transactions, such as money exchange. Stamps (francobollo in Italian) can be purchased sale points like the post offices themselves, tobacconists’ or newspaper stands. In order to learn details about the address of each of the post offices in Milan, the services they provide, opening hours and the like, please visit Poste Italiane.
In order to make calls to Milan from abroad, you must first dial the country code of Italy (0039). Then, you must enter the code of the city, which is 02. The rest of the landline phone number consists of 6 to 8 digits.
In Milan there are plenty of Internet cafes where, for a small amount, you can get connected to the Internet. This is a short list of them (the list is not complete; keep in mind that most of the high rated bars, restaurants and cafes of Milan provide their guests with free connection to the Internet; this is also the case with Milan’s best hotels):
Hard Disk Cafe
Punto Futuro Italia
As an alternative, you can also check out the free WiFi spots of Milan. Even if not plentiful, they are at hand, mostly if you have a device fitted suitably for wireless connection to the Internet. In order to learn more about the wireless coverage of Milan, connection rules, and WiFi spots, please visit La Rete Wireless di Milano.
Write down the following emergency phone numbers so you can use them in case you need them if the situation occurs:
Police (Polizia): 113
Fire Department (Vigili del Fuoco): 115
Ambulance (Ambulanza): 118
Milan is an international destination, which is why the English language is largely spoken and understood in most tourist oriented businesses (attractions, shopping venues, hotels, restaurants). The official language is, of course, Italian. Knowing a bit of Italian is also recommendable if you plan to spend a vacation in Milan and understand better the locals and their customs.
One hour ahead of GMT (wintertime)
In Milan there are 2 tourist information office managed by Provincia di Milano. One of them is located in Milano Centrale, and the other in Piazza Castello, neighboring on the epic Sforzesco Castle.
If you are a citizen of the European Union, you only need a valid identification card in order to enter Italy. You will be required to present a passport in case you travel from outside the European Union. You will also need a visa in case you are a national of a non-European country and plan to stay in Italy for more than 90 days. Visas are also necessary for tourists who, regardless of the duration of their stay in Italy, come from certain non-European countries. Please visit Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to learn if you need a visa in order to visit Italy.
Health insurances are also necessary if you want to visit Italy, mostly if you suffer from chronic conditions likely to get worse while in Milan. Better safe than sorry!
You can not visit Milan and not indulge in shopping, in particular if fashion is your thing. Keep in mind the prices of the goods purchased on the territory of Italy have the VAT included, but don’t expect to have the VAT refunded. Even for non-European citizens the reimbursement procedure is slow.
Yet however pleasant might shopping in Milan be, make sure the amounts you buy don’t exceed certain limits (200 cigarettes, 1 liter of alcohol and 60 milliliters of perfume): you will not be able to export such amounts from Italy in case you don’t prove the goods will not be used to commercial purposes (reselling).