I’d never been to an Expo (Universal Exposition) before and if I am honest I had never really heard of them before (you may possibly find that shocking coming from someone who is 32). Sorry! We booked flights to Milan before we actually started research into what there actually is to do in the city. A quick google search of ‘things to do in Milan in May 2015’ brought the Expo 2015 Milano to my attention. Still not really knowing what it was – I bought two evening tickets at (in my opinion) the bargain price of €10 each. So a bit of history about Expos – the first Expo took place in 1851 in London and up until the middle of the 20th Century they were primarily focused on the Industrial Revolution. Following World War II the focus shifted to human progress until the focus shifted again in 2000 to look at sustainable development. The Expo 2015 is being held under the theme ‘Feeding the planet, energy for life’ and embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet.
The Milano Expo 2015 has been running since 1st May 2015 and will run until 31st October 2015 and showcases over 140 countries from around the world. It is estimated that over the six months the Expo is open it will attract in excess of 20 million visitors. There had been a lot of reports in the media at the beginning of May that the Expo was not finished. We visited on the evening of 10th May and yes we did a few piles of wood that still either needed to be moved or made into something – it looked finished to me! In fact it looked fantastic….
We got to the Expo by underground from the Duomo stop (right under the Duomo in the heart of Milan) on the red line to RHO Flereamilano and it cost us €5 return each. As we had pre-booked tickets we went straight to the entrance lines. Please note that if you only have an evening ticket, like we did, they are very strict and do not let you enter until bang on 7pm. There isn’t any shade so if you have fair skin like me, don’t forget to cover up or wear sun cream especially as lines do not move quickly due to security measures. Everyone and I mean everyone must pass through airport style security. Yes – bags, belts, watches even you have to pass through a metal detector all under the watchful eye of the security guards, the police and the military. Security is tight!
The Expo is huge and I mean huge! At 1.1 million square meters don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as there is so much to see and do. The first exhibition you come to as you cross over the walkway from the entrance into the heart of the Expo is Pavilion Zero which takes you on a captivating journey to explore how much humankind has produced, the transformation of natural landscape, and the culture and rituals of food consumption. You could visit this pavilion alone and not be disappointed with you visit. However, this is simply the start of a great journey through countries and cultures. When you exit the pavilion turn left and keep on walking. Here you will find the main walkway and this really is where the magic happens. Here you will find, on both sides, buildings each representing a different county and each is very different indeed.
I can totally understand why you can buy a season pass for this place. I think it would be possible to spend the full 6 months it is open here. Milano Expo 2015 has become the largest restaurant in the world as there are more than 150 restaurants, bars, food & beverage corners, kiosks and street food stations. Each building representing a country offers local food and/or drink which means you could sample something from a different country each day.
But if you are adamant that you will only eat Italian food in Italy not to worry as you can eat in Eataly where you can find tasty local cuisine. I must admit all the exploring was thirsty work so we treated ourselves to a refreshing cocktail in the UK pavilion.
In summary we had a great evening which in reality was not enough time to see and experience everything on off at the Expo. Unfortunately, our time in Milan was short and fully accounted for otherwise I would have definitely been back. Not only is this place fun, but also educational so great for kids and adults alike. Don’t forget to grab a map on entrance (although for the life of me I couldn’t find one written in English). If in Milan between now and the end of October 2015 I think you’d be crazy not to visit the Expo at least once.