Milan is the 30th most expensive of 211 cities for expats, just one place above Rome, based on calculations by financial services provider Mercer.
Both Italian cities are getting comparatively more expensive, with Milan jumping 11 places in a year and Rome up from 44th place in 2013.
Based on the study, which compares the cost of over 200 goods and services, such as housing and transport, life is more expensive in each of the two Italian cities than Vienna, Stockholm and Helsinki.
For The Local's British Stockholm-based Assistant Editor, Sophie Inge, who has also worked in Rome, some aspects of life in Sweden are much more expensive.
“Generally, eating out regularly in Rome is not likely to break the bank (as long as you avoid the tourist traps) whereas in Stockholm you could only really afford it about twice a month on an average salary,” she said.
“Alcohol is also extremely expensive, with a glass of wine costing up to 120 kronor (€13).”
Travel and accommodation were however on a par in the two European capitals, she said, although the set-up in Stockholm makes it easier for expats to rent cheaper homes.
“It’s only when you rent in the centre of Stockholm that you have to pay through the nose. But the public transport system here is so efficient that it’s perfectly feasible to live in the suburbs and commute to work,” Inge said.
Overall the most expensive cities for expats are in Africa - the top spot was taken by Luanda, the Angolan capital, followed by Chad’s capital N'Djamena.
In Europe three cities made it into the top ten, all in Switzerland. Zurich was ranked fifth, closely followed by sixth-place Geneva and the capital, Bern, coming in eighth place.
At the other end of the scale, the cheapest expat city in the world was named as Karachi, in Pakistan.