Written by Christopher Nye,
26th October 2018

Property in Milan or property around Lake Como? Lombardy offers high-end homebuyers an enviable choice, with easy access to skiing and watersports, fashion, a business centre and outrageously great shopping. No wonder the A-listers love it!

Combining beauty and business, fashion and fast cars, stunning mountains and cool clear lakes, Lombardy in the north of Italy has it all. But if you’re buying a home, your first choice won’t be easy. Should you opt for a city property in Milan or a lakeside home around Como?

Italy is famous for la dolce vita. The good life, spent enjoying al fresco meals and exceptional wines, breathing in the fresh air and gazing over stunning scenery. Italy also has some of the most beautiful cities in the world, and they come with some history! Art and culture sit stylishly beside high fashion and Ferraris. Browse fabulous shops in the historic centres of Florence, Milan, Rome, Siena, Venice and Lucca, while you’re walking in the footsteps of Michelangelo and Botticelli, Puccini and Dante.

Along ancient stone streets are the elegant palazzo houses once owned by Italy’s most elite noble families. In the surrounding hills you will find castles, palaces, country villas and wine estates that are perfect for relaxing and entertaining family and friends.

This is a country that can tame the most wound up businessman into a chilled-out kitten stretched out on a hammock, purring for more cream on his gelato! So where should you buy? Italy has a serious north-south divide, but each has its appeal. From the heat and beauty of Sicily or Puglia to the sophistication and, well, also the beauty of Milan and the Lakes.

And it is to the north that we head today, just that little bit more convenient to reach than the south.

Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy

Lake Como

Imagine relaxing on the terrace of your own villa, gazing across a sparkling lake with a backdrop of mountains, that change colour with every season. From your own mooring you could even take a leisurely cruise along to one of the pretty lakeside villages, to dine on local specialities at a waterfront restaurant. Risotto, fillet of perch, asparagus and other fish-based platters are popular here.

Lake Como offers privacy and exclusivity to those who buy a property on the water’s edge. The most prestigious villas don’t come up for sale very often, so it’s worth registering with an agent who can keep you notified of any prime properties that come on the market. Often, they will also have opportunities directly from celebrity owners that are marketed more discreetly.

Noble families, artists, writers, composers, royalty, world leaders and the cream of Hollywood have visited Lake Como.  Verdi, Wordsworth, Shelley, Puccini, Rossini and Leonardo da Vinci all found inspiration here. Since George Clooney bought Villa L’Oleandra nestled on Laglio’s lakefront in 2001, even more celebrities have visited and fallen in love with the lake’s charms. Estate agents are very discreet about who their famous clients are, but it doesn’t stop people guessing who may own the most expensive properties. Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and Bill Gates are currently topping the rumours.

If location is more important than size there are a number of villas that have been split into apartments. These may make a more cost-effective holiday home, requiring less maintenance. For a panoramic view of the lake consider buying a villa in a more elevated position further back from the water’s edge. You should also get more house for your money here. Lake side villas can set you back a few million, but you can find gorgeous apartments for around €500,000.

Life on Lake Como

Lake Como isn’t just about sitting back and enjoying the view, there are also plenty of sporting activities to enjoy. Summer leisure activities on Lake Como include wind-surfing, canoeing, sailing, water-skiing, jet-skiing and kite-surfing.

In the surrounding hills and mountains, you can experience climbing, trekking, mountain-biking, horse riding and hand gliding. There are seven internationally-known golf courses in the area and you could also visit the Formula 1 race circuit at Monza.

With Como being around an hour’s drive from Milan, it is within commuting distance for work, maybe even for nipping back to work in London, Paris or Frankfurt. Of course there is the shopping and all the other facilities a major city has to offer. To see what Lake Como has to offer visit the Lake Como website.

 

Getting there

Getting to Lake Como from the UK couldn’t be easier. Flights times from London to Milan are less than two hours. There are 33 daily flights from London, three from Manchester, one from Birmingham and two from Edinburgh.

There are three major airports around Milan: Linate, Malpensa and Bergamo. From Malpensa airport you can drive to Como in around 45 minutes and into Central Milan in about an hour. From Linate airport into Milan central only takes about 20 minutes.

Milan, Lombardy

Milan is the fashion capital of the world. Sophisticated and elegant, at the same time it is looking to the future with great opportunities for businesses and creative entrepreneurs. Here you can work hard while also living “La vita moda” (the stylish life).

There is an immense number of things to see and do in Milan and shopping opportunities abound. The city is home to some of Italy’s most renowned designer brands, as well as a wealth of independent boutiques and international stores. Via Montenapoleone in the fashion district “Quadrilatero della Moda”, is an essential destination for luxury shopping in the city. It is home to many big designer brands, from Gucci and Prada to Valentino as well as some of the best Italian leather goods.

Fashion houses have also branched out into spas, bars, hotels, galleries and restaurants and excellent dining can be found throughout the city. Buy a home here and you’ll never be bored. You’ll also probably be mobbed with guests too! A stroll through the elegant Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery to see the Duomo (Cathedral) is a must for your visitors, and you can always shoo them off to the many museums and art galleries when you want your home to yourself.

 

A visit to Castello Sforzesco and Brera Art Gallery, are two of the highlights of life in Milan, as well as evenings spent at the opera or ballet at The Teatro alla Scala. For more information about Milan visit the Official Milan Tourism Website.

Good for Business

Milan’s central location in Europe and excellent transport links make it a great base for any business. One of the biggest European financial markets, Borsa Italiana is in Milan, employing over 10,000 professionals. Plus, there are many Italian and foreign banks with branches in the city, along with ICT multinationals. Fashion and design are a big part of life in Milan and there are 12,000 companies in Milan involved in the fashion industry alone. Green energy is another big business here, with almost a third of Italy’s hydroelectric energy produced in the area. The Milanese work hard, but also know how to keep a good life work balance.

Even Milan’s business district is that bit more stylish. (Konstantin Tronin / Shutterstock.com)

Milanese architecture

The inventive Milanese have successfully combined the architectural style of the Renaissance with art deco, rationalist and modern architecture. The business district has a futuristic skyline and sustainable architecture. It plans to become a hi-tech hub, home to the likes of Google, Microsoft, Alibaba and Apple.

No surprise then, that Milan’s property market has been flourishing in recent years. The city centre seems to offer the best property investment opportunities right now. Other areas attracting investors include Lodi-Corsica, Stazione Centrale-Gioia-Fulvio Testi, and Navigli-Famagosta.

Getting around Milan

Of course, you’ll buy your own Ferrari here, but should you opt to slum it, bus, tram and metro (underground) prices are reasonable. The city has excellent bicycle and car share schemes, which also help cut pollution. Schooling is very good with many International schools and university courses teaching in English.

Healthcare in Milan

Milan has a network of 30 public and private hospitals offering state-of-the-art healthcare. Twelve of the hospitals even have emergency rooms offering dedicated assistance for foreign patients. There are also medical centres dedicated to the large expat community living in the city, such as the American International Medical Centre and the International Health Centre.

This video produced by the Comune of Milan as part of their bid for the European Medicine Agency (EMA) shows what your life in Milan could be like. La dolce vita indeed!

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