Visiting Milan in 2015: Sightseeing and Expo Milano
ABOUT THE EXPO. Since the World Fair's first incarnation at London's Crystal Place in 1851 it has come to represent the planet's premier staging ground for outstanding advances in human culture and technology. For the 2015 edition of this famous event Italy will assume the prestigious title of host nation, and hence, over 184 days, the capital of Lombardy will be transformed into a vibrant international hub of shared ideas, innovation and entertainment.
Milan Expo 2015 will take place from May 1st until October 31st, a period during which it is expected to attract around 20 million people. The theme of this year's expo can be summed up as 'feeding the planet'. Visitors will get to explore the overriding issue of nutrition, both with regards to the health of planet Earth and the human species. The journey will incorporate the diverse culinary customs of people from all across the globe. Of course, the gastronomic aspect of the expo will be focused to a certain extent on that of Italy. At the crossroads of the staging site's two main streets, the Cardo and Decumano, sits the sprawling Italian Pavilion. It is within this area that all visitors and participating countries can meet to share in the culture and traditions of the host nation, as well as discuss and exchange ideas with regards to the overall theme.
Other participating nations have their own self-built pavilions located at various points along the 1.5km long Decumano. If the offerings of one particular country tickle your fancy then simply wander inside and revel in the showcased delights. The pavilions aren't the only thing there is to enjoy at next year's Expo Milano, there's also Mediterranean Hill, the Open Air Theatre and the Lake Arena. The first of these is situated at the Decumano's eastern extremity. It's intended to signify the floral biodiversity of the Mediterranean region, particularly that which humans cultivate for their own benefit. At 12 meters in height the hill is also an excellent summer vantage point from which you can look out across the entire expo site.
The Open-Air Theatre is like an ultra-modern variation on the timeless Greco-Roman design. The auditorium partially resembles that of the kinds located at ancient sites such as Delphi and Fiesole, while the canopy covering the stage is comprised entirely of solar panels. The theatre can accommodate up to 11,000 people and if you choose to head along expect to see concerts, theatrical performances and official ceremonies.
The Lake Arena is the single largest open space for visitors to the expo grounds. It is composed of a huge circular pond surrounded by a foliage rich plaza capable of containing around 20,000 people. The water that supplies this landmark comes from the Villoresi Canal, an important piece of 19th century infrastructure whose original purpose was to provide irrigation. There's 3000 seats looking in towards the central fountain and 'Tree of Life'. This arrangement is intended to facilitate the viewing of a vast range of events that will taking place across the duration of the expo. Look out for artistic performances, aquatic games and even fire shows.
GETTING TO THE EXPO. Expo Milano 2015 is a paid event that takes place a few kilometres outside central Milan. For information on how to reach the expo grounds and to purchase your entry ticket/s head over to this page on the event website.
CITY SIGHTSEEING MILAN. The presence of the World Expo in Milan means that, naturally, it's going to be a fine year for sightseeing in the Lombardian capital. Coincidently, 2015 is a period in which City Sightseeing will be revamping its popular tour of the city to include, amongst other things, a free walking tour app. Though the tour buses do not travel to the Expo site they do explore almost every corner of central Milan. Venture between three comprehensive routes and enjoy easy access to all of the city's best attractions, such as San Siro Stadium and Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio.
Having said this, there is one aspect of Expo Milano that City Sightseeing Milan includes in its itinerary. Hop-off at stop 1, Sforza Castle, where on either side of Via Beltrami you'll encounter the magnificent Expo Gate. Consisting of two huge transparent buildings this dual structure is intended to provide visitors with a bright and airy meeting place. The materials and design employed in the gate's construction are also intended to symbolise minimalist impact on the natural environment, hence in-keeping with the overall theme of the Expo.