If one country just feels too limiting for your fall travel, consider organizing your trip around the 2015 Milan Expo, where 145 countries show off their best in cuisine, wine, agriculture, technology, art, and culture. The Expo’s one-mile promenade winds between 53 national pavilions: huge structures that showcase each country’s unique culture and contributions.
With the theme, “Feeding the Planet; Energy for Life,” the 2015 Milan Expo or “Expo Milano 2015” focuses on sustainability, slow food, and the technology that will support the planet long term.
Just one train stop six miles northwest of downtown Milan, the Expo covers 1.1 million square meters, and 20 million visitors are expected. If you are one, or think you may want to become one of them, rest assured that the Expo goes above and beyond meeting all of your expectations, as well as those of your family members. Even better, it’s loaded with great ideas for your next trip!
Whether you’re a wine lover, a world traveler, or a culture vulture, the Milan Expo has something appealing just for you. We break down the different activities that the Milan Expo offers to travelers of all stripes:
2015 Milan Expo
. . . For the Architecture and Design Lovers
Expertly designed pavilions will draw the art and architecture lover’s eye. The Milan Expo’s centerpiece is the 120-foot Tree of Life, built to display light, music, fountain and firework shows regularly.
Most participating countries rely on their pre-eminent architects to turn their pavilions into unforgettable masterpieces. The stunning United Kingdom pavilion, designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress, centers on an elaborate, metallic honeycomb, a tribute to the critical role bees play in our crop supply and food chain. Russia’s intimidating architectural presence features a swooping, 100-foot-long mirrored canopy over the entrance. The multi-level American Food 2.0 pavilion by architect James Biber is equally impressive. Created with the James Beard Foundation and U.S. State Department, the pavilion includes the newest addition to sustainable farming: a vertical, multi-story, partially hydroponic farm that produces 42 varieties of vegetables, grains and herbs.
The biggest doesn’t always mean the most impressive. Estonia’s much smaller pavilion is a sleek, split-level, wood-clad space filled with serene music that provides visitors with a sophisticated take on a country they may have overlooked. Inside, alcoves invite visitors to learn more about life in the Baltic States. The vast array of architectural choices sends visitors home with a whole new take on what’s possible for structures.
. . . For the Foodies
Pretty much the entire Expo is built for foodies. Here, kitchen kings and queens find as many national cuisines as there are participants. While some eateries exist in the country’s pavilion, others take the kiosk route, offering more affordable dishes for those fine with standing in line. You’ll find caipirinhas from Brazil, Belgian chocolates, and chicken satay from Indonesia. America’s contribution (we’re slightly embarrassed to admit) is “Food Truck Nation,” an assemblage of trucks doling burgers, lobster rolls other food truck specialties through small side windows.
As the birthplace of the Slow Food Movement, Italy takes pride in showcasing meals that take time to prepare and eat as well as fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains grown simply and with few chemicals. Foodies will be in heaven.
Eating food is just the beginning of what the 2015 Milan Expo offers the culinary inclined. Each day, they can view live cooking shows and even participate. Guests can register to participate every day before 2:30 at the Expo Center. Some of these shows demonstrate cooking techniques, while others pit chef against chef, tasking them with making a good dish from the leftovers of the chef before.
The foodie’s drive to understand where the meats, grains, and produce they use come from will propel them into the Organic Pavilion. There, ecological and sustainable food production systems display their advantages and hopefully spark conversations and collaborations between forward-thinking scientists and citizens.
. . . For the Oenophiles (Wine Lovers)
If you’re in Italy, you can’t get away from wine. 2015 Milan Expo has created an entire wine library dedicated to the history and culture of the fermented beverage (and some distilled spirits, too.) On the three floors of the Biblioteca del Vino, you’ll find the history of wine production, as well as information about the patrician villas and wine cellars of ancient Rome where wine was first made. Some of the world’s best sommeliers lead wine-tasting experiences, educating wine lovers about taste, aroma, mouth-feel, and how to blend wines with food to evoke the best experiences.
Wine experiences don’t end at the Biblioteca del Vino (of course not! It’s Italy!) Every Friday and Saturday, “VINO, A Taste of Italy” presents opportunities to taste three wines for 10 euros in the Hortus of the Pavilion. Escape the sensory stimulation and relax with a glass of fine wine with friends and loved ones here.
. . . For Historians and Culture Vultures
Alongside the oenophiles, those who drink in knowledge like wine will find plenty of intoxicating experiences at the 2015 Milan Expo.
Organizers have prompted each country to explore and display their area’s story of how humanity has interacted with the food that sustains it. Exhibits reveal resourcefulness in times of both famine and abundance. Looking at the creative ways inhabitants have turned the foods most available to them into delicious dishes fascinates everyone in the group. They also cover the interaction of culture and history in how food keeps families and communities together. Finally, these exhibits give visitors a glimpse into how each country plans to promote sustainable agriculture going forward.
. . . For the World Travelers
Despite the sustainability theme, the 2015 Milan Expo has its share of slacking exhibitors: those countries just looking to get more tourists. These exhibitions can be fun, too, particularly after all the opportunities to learn about vertical farms and organic foods have exhausted themselves.
To this end, many national exhibits display what makes their terrain, culture, and cuisine unique and exceptional. At the Brazil exhibit, visitors scramble across a huge net over a faux-rain forest. The United Arab Emirates pavilion will transport you from the lush Mediterranean climate to a desert canyon. The Czech Republic allows visitors to rest while looking at beautiful vistas of their lakes, rivers, streams and unique geology – while enjoying a delicious beer in the beer garden, of course.
. . . For the Technophiles and Gadget Lovers:
Leave it to Germany to present tech most aggressively with their Bee Active show that puts visitors into the perspective of two bees as they fly over German fields and orchards, into the city, past places and people who farm, produce, distribute and consume food. Smaller nations, too, have taken the opportunity to display their technical innovations. In particular, Slovakia’s “AeroMobil”—a car that can fly—is the most futuristic answer to the dreams of designers for decades.
Round Out Your Milan Expo Visit with Olde Ipswich’s Emilia and Piedmont Gourmet Discovery Tour
Those who would like to start getting a taste of the Milan Expo, can start following its Facebook page here. It announces the daily events, cooking classes and entertainment. Organizers have also created an extensive Milan Expo 2015 website.
If you’re interested in going to Milan Expo 2015 during October and would like to extend your trip at a more relaxed pace, Olde Ipswich Tour’s Piedmont and Emilia Gourmet Discovery tour takes you into the incredible gastronomic regions of Northern Italy well known for their outstanding wine and food. There, our expert guides open your world with tours of private farms and vineyards, ruins and museums. Cooking classes and evening entertainment send you home with experiences and talents you’ll cherish for years to come. The tour takes place from October 2 through 13, plenty of time to catch the best of Milan Expo 2015. There are still some spots left. Call us any time at 877-356-5163 or request our European travel brochure here. Find lovely photos and experiences from our tours when you follow our Facebook page, too.