Here’s what commuters say about commuting to Milan from it’s hinterland (suburbs, surrounding areas). See what has found out about commuters to Milan.

Is commuting to Milan one of life’s burdens or a lifestyle choice?

Whether it be London, San Francisco, or Tokyo, a common denominator in world-wide urban living is the professional that lives outside the city and commutes into his/her job. For some it is a burden, for others it is a pleasurable and relaxing way to wind down the day. See what has found out about commuters to Milan.

Seems like no matter where you live in the world whether it be London, San Francisco, Nairobi or Tokyo, you are always going to find professionals that have made the choice to live outside the hustle and bustle of the city and commute to work everyday.

You will also find that half of them will gripe about the train schedules not being on time, huff-n-puff about the buses and subways overcrowding and those travelling by car, will complain about the traffic.

There is however the OTHER half of commuters that are happy about the choice they have made. They are pleased that they don’t live in the dirty congested city. Yep, the trains are late and you might have to stand, but the rewards of living in a quiet and tranquil place where you call home and you are able to completely detach your self from the office and worries of the day, is far more rewarding and has the power to overcome the tendency to moan and groan.

Commuting from Lecco to Milan

I made the break- I moved to Lecco, a city 46 km north of Milan. I now have an apartment that overlooks both Lago di Lecco and Lago di Garlate as well as the Grigna and Resegone mountains (these are the mountains you can see in the distance from Milan on a clear crisp day).


Celia on a train

Before, in my small one bedroom apartment in Milan, although I was fortunate enough to live in the center, my view out the window was the building courtyard, my neighbour’s patio below, and a large white wall, all filtered through the burglar bars on the window.

Now, when I get back from a long day’s work or running around Milan for appointments, I am completely relaxed. That 45 minutes on the train helps me “wind down”. I take the Ferrovia di Stato Treni Italia and have rarely had to stand.

However keep in mind that high school and university students sometimes cause overcrowding at peak times and it may be difficult find a seat. In the summer, the students are off from school but there are more tourists.

Get a first class ticket or travel card and you will travel more comfortably and stress free.

Lecco, Lake Como /photo aber.nethy Picfair

Hardcore urbanites often say “what are you crazy? what are you going to do there- there’s no theatre, art galleries, trendy bars…” Well, there ARE theatres and art galleries and trendy bars, and if I want to go to an event or place in Milan, I hop on the train or get in the car (a 30-40 minute drive) and go. As far as seeing my friends, I see them much more often now then when I lived in the city. They all want to come for a weekend getaway or day trip to the lake. Living in the city seems to give you an “excuse” for not wanting to DO anything. How many times have you heard from your friends: “I’m tired, I’ve been working late hours”, “The smog is running me down”, “It’s raining and I don’t feel like taking the metro , I’ll never find a taxi”.

Although I do not commute everyday, as I work often from a home office, I have spoken with a number of people that commute to Milan by train, car and other public transportation. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Stefano A.- Finance analyst
I have taken the train almost everyday for the past 7 years. After 7 years I do not look out the window anymore. The station is a 3 km drive from my house, I get the train at 6.30am and then get to the office at 7.45. The train is reliable most of the time – the train is more reliable than my car! Troubles with train; lateness. I always travel in first class, too many young noisy people in the other cars. I don’t always find a seat on the evening train, but maybe get a seat after first or second stop. I like that on the morning train there is nobody. ”

Simon W. – Executive, Software Development 
“Don’t bother [driving]!! [After an accident that broke my leg] I am not driving … I take the train into Staz. Garibaldi and then get a taxi around so it’s great and I don’t miss it [driving]. In fact when I do start to drive again in 6 weeks I think I will still go by train because it’s better and if I must drive will avoid rush hour i.e. after 9.30am in the morning, but then I am lucky enough to be able to make a “lifestyle choice” and avoid it. I guess if you have to take either train or car in rush hour it’s a drag either way.”

Paola M. – Web designer
“I take the Ferrovie Nord – my complaints are mostly about the lateness of the trains, because to go from Saronno to Milan only takes 20 minutes, but instead, on average it takes 30 minutes! I’d like the trains to be quicker and more on time. In the train, I like to read, it relaxes me after a long day.”

Fabio P. – Financial sales
” I like my 45 minute commute everyday, it gives me time to read the newspaper in the morning. Before moving out of town, I lived walking distance from my office and often did long hours as it was easy to get home. Now, because I have to get a train at a certain time, I am more productive, finish my work and do not have to do long hours in the office.”

Tiziana N. – Travel marketing 
” I live in Brianza, going to Milan, the morning traffic at Monza is just horrific and always causes delays. I asked my boss if I could have more flexible hours and come in a bit later. After a one month trial, he told me I could keep the new hours. I avoid the heavy traffic hours and I get to the office without the stress.”

As with every choice we make, there is always the positive and the negative aspects to look at before deciding. Some people are just not the “commuter type”.

A few tips to make commuting to Milan easier:


Organize carpools – there must be someone in your office or business neighborhood that lives in your area. It is much more relaxing knowing that at least 2-3 days you are just a passenger. Ask at the bar you go to near your office, some bars will let you post an “ad” on the door or near the cash register.

Car pools – set the “rules” with your fellow car-poolers: establish driver days, cost division and pick up and drop off points.

Telepass – get the Telepass card to avoid waiting at toll booths.

Make a deal with your boss – rather than facing the 7.00 am traffic to get to the office by 8.30 am, ask your boss for flexible hours, propose a month’s trial period, when s/he sees you are more productive and more cheery with your colleagues, s/he may let you come in an hour later everyday.



Commuter train Lombardy, Italy /aber.nethy 

Abbonamento – weekly or monthly tickets. You save a little and you always know you have a ticket on you.

Travel first class – if you can afford it, a first class abbonamento mensile (monthly ticket) will cost about 35 euro more (about 1.75 a day) and will almost always guarantee you a seat and the first class car is not normally excessively noisy. Perhaps it’s something you can do during periods that you know you will be working harder than normal.

Strikes – keep up to date about strikes and interruptions in schedules: (or train company you travel with) 


Milan tram

Milan tram, public transportation

Abbonamento – weekly or monthly tickets. You save a little and you always know you have a ticket on you.
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Stand by the doors – unless your ride is quite long, or you find a seat right away, stay near the rear exit doors in case the tram or bus gets too crowded to make your way through the people. Especially if you have a bag or briefcase.

Strikes – keep up to date about strikes and interruptions in schedules:

No matter how you decide you’d like to get to and from Milan, it is always a good idea to plan it well, and do what you can to avoid the added stress of traffic and crowds.
Happy commuting!

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Article by: Celia Abernethy

travel advisor in italyCiao, I’m Celia, your travel advisor in Italy! Need help planning your trip to Italy? Learn about what to do and see, and where to eat and sleep. Ask me a question or request a custom travel plan. Book a consultation.