So, how do you even begin to plan for a World’s Fair? Where to start? What to eat? Which shoes are least likely to give you blisters?
Don’t worry, we’ve got this. Except for the shoes, that’s on you. We are happy to announce that we will be selling tickets for Expo Milano 2015, and we wanted to give an overview of what you can expect from this event before you start to plan your trip.
First things first: What is it?
Expo Milano 2015 is a World Fair — meaning that from May to October the Expo will showcase exhibits from all over the world, highlighting the best in cuisine, arts, & entertainment from over 140 countries.
The theme of the Expo is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” so there is a huge focus on food and sustainability.
The concept of a world fair was recently popularized in the book The Devil in the White City (about the Chicago World Fair in 1893), but it’s hardly a new one. Several world’s fairs have taken place in Europe in recent years: Zaragoza in 2008, Hannover in 2000, Lisbon in 1998, Genoa in 1992, Brussels in 1958, and so on.
Fun fact: if you live in New York City, you can still see the giant Unisphere sculpture that was the iconic image of the 1965 fair — it’s in Queens.
This year’s Fair will host events corresponding to six major categories: Art and Sport, Theater and Music, and Fashion and Cinema Design. Something for everyone! There will be events, exhibitions, and activities designed to engage visitors in both visual and experiential ways. Some exhibitions will be mainly for viewing, other events may invite visitors to create something or interact with others.
The idea behind this fair is to educate everyone on the future of the food industry, and so they wanted to create as many different types of learning opportunities as possible.
Milan is sometimes overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice when people are thinking of traveling to Italy. We might forget that Milan is one of the top cities for fashion in the world after New York and Paris, and we may never have even known that Milan has over 100 diplomatic representative offices, meaning that it follows closely after New York as being the city with the most Consulates in the world.
Milan has also been a center of art and culture for centuries — Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper fresco is located here, and Milan was the capital of the Futurist art movement in the early 1900s.
Milan has given us the beautiful designs of Versace, Armani, Prada. It has given us the brilliant inventions of Leonardo da Vinci and the stunning work of Caravaggio. It has given us delicious risottos and the famous panettone cakes. It has given us the masterpiece that is Fabio.
We can’t wait to see what Milan gives us at the Expo this year.
What to Do
There are so many events taking place throughout the Expo from May through October, but here are just a few to start you off. We’ll be posting more updates on our social channels as we receive them (you can find our social channels in the sidebar of this blog), so keep an eye out!
- Cirque du Soleil has created a special show just for the Expo. It will run from May 13- August 30 in an open air theater and the theme of the show will be, of course, eating. Sounds good to us!
- Stop by the Children’s Park for an afternoon or two. This park is an interactive playground full of activities like pedaling bikes to create different musical tunes, an herb scent-identification site, and more.
- The Milan Children’s Museum, which is usually closed for a period during the summer, will be open for the duration of the Expo.
- In the US Food Pavilion, there will be a vertical garden growing up the side of the USA booth, and acrobats will be the ones tending to it. So cool!
For Art Lovers:
- Exhibitions of legendary artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio will be taking place throughout the duration of the Expo. There will also be an exhibit related to the Futurist Movement of the early 20th century (Milan is considered to be the capital of this movement).
- The ticket design itself is a work of art, modeled after works by Milan-born artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo (he made portraits out of images of food).
- The La Scala Opera House, one of the largest opera houses in the world, will be open for the duration of the Expo. Usually it closes for the summer.
- ArtExpo. ArtExpo 2015 is a project that’s been in the works since 2013, where artists, art lovers, and art collectors can meet each other and see the links that exist between business and art. This fair will take place from July through September.
- Milan Fashion Week will take place in September as usual, but of course will be complimented by fashion events and exhibits leading up to the week.
For Sport Lovers:
- On May 4th at 8:45pm, there will be a charity soccer match starring some of the greatest soccer players in the world. The charity will benefit child nutrition across the world.
- The Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in September in Monza, just outside of Milan.
What to Eat
Gelato Festival. Because, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be an Italian event without a focus on gelato.
Future Food District: This is more HOW to eat rather than WHAT to eat — basically this part of the Expo will demonstrate new ways for people and food to interact. The whole Expo is centered around new ideas for food production that are as good for the environment as they are for people, and so this pavilion will give us some concrete examples of this theme being played out.
Country pavilions. Each country participating in the event will have its own area that serves food typical of the country. And the food won’t be the only thing in theme: each country’s little pavilion will be designed in a style that represents the dining experience unique to each country (think a beer-garden-esque restaurant in the German area, gourmet food trucks in the USA area, and so on).
How to Get There
Milan is accessible by so many cities — Italian and otherwise — by train. Milano Centrale is a large station with frequent departures and arrivals daily. Here are a few suggested routes and travel tips. Also: if you have your heart set on a specific date or time for visiting Milan and/or the Expo, book in advance! It’s probably going to be really busy once the Expo begins.
If traveling from Zurich, there are trains directly to Milan (4 hours), or you can pass through the Lake Como region (about 40-50 minutes). Both of these routes are covered by the Eurail Italy Pass (you’ll need a seat reservation supplement for the direct train from Zurich to Milan), or you can book point to point tickets.
If booking tickets and traveling to/from the Lake Como villages, simply search for “Como” when looking for tickets.
Marseille-Milan (Riviera Connection)
New this year is the exciting Marseille-Milan connection! Who wouldn’t dream of riding a train along the beautiful French Riviera? Travelers can ride the Thello train the whole route starting in Marseille or hop on with a ticket or pass at any stop along the way: Toulon, Cannes, Nice, or Monaco. If traveling the opposite way, from Italy to France, you can start in Milan, Genoa, or Savona.
Enjoy a few truffles in Turin before heading off to Milan. And what’s in Alba, you ask? For one thing, it’s home to those little gold-wrapped Ferrero-Rocher chocolates. Ferrero also produces Nutella and the Kinder brand of chocolates.
The train from Turin to Milan on Trenitalia is only about an hour. If you want to stop in Alba, your route will look like this: Turin to Alba in about 1 hour, Alba to Milan in about 2 hours. The only thing to keep in mind with this routing is that you’ll have to change trains a few times.
For those of you who want to tour the popular cities, this route’s for you, and these cities need no introduction. It will be easiest to start south with Rome and head up to Florence, then further north to Milan. Rome to Florence is about an hour and a half on the high-speed trains; Florence to Milan is about 2 hours.
If you want more information on any of the products or routing mentioned above, you can visit these handy reference pages:
- Eurail Italy Pass
- Expo Milano tickets
- Trenitalia trains
- Thello trains
- Zurich to Milan
- Milan to Paris
- Rome to Florence