3 years, 3 months ago
Expo Milano 2015 ‘Food Is Life’ international visitor event opens in Italy’s Design Capital, Milan, in May.
Expo Milano 2015 starts on May 1st. ‘Food Is Life’, as a theme might sound simple and not particularly exciting? But this is Milan. Arguably the grandest of quite a few grand Italian cities, certainly jostling for top place in the glamorous category and if we know one thing for sure, it doesn’t do anything ‘simple’ or ‘not particularly exciting’. This is the place that considers it a crime to ignore aperitivo hour, looks at your shoes before your face and wouldn’t think twice about asking you to go home and change if you turned up for dinner looking less than madly beautiful. So when Milan says ‘Food Is Life’, it probably isn’t going to be expressing the theme with three stands and a cress and cotton wool grow-tray.
For a hint of how big the ambitions for Expo Milano 2015 are, check the dates: May 1st to October 31st (we thought Salzburg and Edinburgh had stamina). That’s almost six full months of energetic focus on food, feeding and the future of our most basic requirement in 1 million square metres of stunning space designed to reflect the urban planning of Ancient Rome and entertain endlessly.
There are robust ideas and radical thinking from a diary full of conferences and debates that make the average TED Talk sound tame. Over 140 individual countries are participating to the full and dozens more are joining forces to ‘Cluster’ and excite interest in what we eat, how we eat, why we eat and how we can all do it a lot better. Unsurprisingly, food is being served in abundance, everywhere, and celebrations include The World’s Biggest Restaurant and the Supermarket of the Future, as well as countless smaller and equally delicious opportunities to indulge.
Art and architecture, theatre, music, film, literature and performance create a packed six months of exciting, challenging and diverse events. A vast open-air auditorium (think Colosseum but without the bad bits) has been designed exclusively for the Expo and is staging everything from rock concerts and opera to Cirque du Soleil. And the famously inclusive Italian attitude to children is loud and clearly stated by an Interactive Children’s Park dedicated to astonishing, delighting and endlessly entertaining young foodies of the future in their millions.
Speaking of millions, Expo Milano 2015 predicts 20 million visitors between May 1st and October 31st so if you’re one of that number this summer there will probably be times when you feel a bit expo’d out. For those rare moments, you have the rest of Milan.
Even the most high-minded and politically conscientious visitor to Expo Milano 2015 isn’t going home without shopping at least once. It’s a city rule we’ve tried to break in the past but the glossy, gorgeous and infinitely tempting emporio of Milan are consumer catnip and it takes a tougher will than ours to resist. Via Montenapoleone and Via Della Spiga are where the achingly smart of the city get dressed up but the prices are commensurate with the designer names and it’s perfectly okay to just go and have a look. Clever visitors, wander around and see who’s wearing what and then head south towards the glorious Ligurian Coast to stock up on bargains at Serraville Designer Outlets. Add the beach into your day and you can feel better about being the holiday person who made everyone else go shopping.
If the Expo’s art and architecture aren’t enough for you, Milan used to be Leonardo da Vinci’s stomping ground so it’s not short on permanent collections and artistic icons. The Last Supper fresco in Santa Maria Delle Grarzie is the masterpiece everyone wants to see so you have to book ahead and you’re only allowed to view for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a lot longer to wander round the magnificent Brera Gallery which has one of the finest collections of Italian Renaissance paintings in the world. And we definitely suggest you don’t miss Pinacoteca and Biblioteca Ambrosiana for the Da Vinci drawings, they are breathtaking.
Milan‘s a Southern Italian city so it’s hot in summer. But the Milanese don’t mind too much. It’s not that they’re particularly tough, they just have places like Cinque Terre a couple of hour’s drive away and they’re under two hours by car from the legendary Italian Lakes (you’ll make Lake Maggiore in and hour and a half). So if you’re around for the Expo at the height of the season, you could think about staying out of town by the water – coast or lake – and dipping into Milan for culture, shopping, eating, drinking and Expo Milano 2015, obviously.
We have also put a list of the six most amazing apartments in Milan together and you can view them here.