The 2015 Expo in Milan is here at last, and the best way to explore Expo 2015 is to pretend you’re a child again! Rediscover a sense of childlike wonder and innocence as you wander among the pavilions created by 145 countries from all over the world (94 percent of the total), local government bodies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations all focused around the theme: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
The space occupied by the 2015 Expo in Milan resembles a city in ancient Rome. It is based on a grid system whose main axes are the Decumanus—1.5 kilometers long and 36 meters wide—and the Cardo (350 meters). The Italian Pavilion, which is on the Cardo, is designed like an authentic town district, and it’s here where you can find all the wonderful foods the country is famous for. At its center is the futuristic Palazzo Italia—five stories of biodynamic white concrete destined to remain open long after the 2015 Expo in Milan has closed.
The Tree of Life is the Italian Pavilion’s main attraction. Thirty-seven meters high, it is made of wood and steel and was designed by Marco Balich. But most importantly, it’s beautiful! And that’s especially true in the evening, when the interplay of light, water, and sound will astonish you. These singular sensations need to be seen to be believed, and are difficult to describe, but they will stay with you for a very long time.
The 2015 Expo in Milan is best described as an intelligent theme park, where every pavilion has its own interactive entertainment on offer, each with a unique take on this year’s theme, focusing on involvement, exchange, and sharing. Brazil’s offering entertains young and old alike with a bouncy rope canopy to climb. Qatar will astound you with its monumental pavilion. China’s corrugated bamboo roofs and field of yellow flowers will draw you in. But there’s a message here too. Switzerland, for example, has filled four towers with four products: coffee, apples, water, and salt. Visitors are free to help themselves, but are invited to consume responsibly, without leaving future guests empty-handed.
The 2015 Expo in Milan has space for everyone: 80 developing countries are joined together in cluster-based single themes such as coffee, cocoa, or climate. And the Cascina Triulza is home to a number of nonprofit organizations, including Save the Children and the WWF. The variety on offer is striking. Monumental pavilions rub shoulders with minimalist ones. A shop selling chocolates is next to a country of 100 million inhabitants. A work of art comes up against an ice cream parlor. But everything is brought together in a multicolored union of cultures, where a thousand flavors are celebrated together.
And speaking of flavor, there is no shortage of places to eat. The 2015 Expo in Milan is home to 150 eateries, including restaurants, fast food outlets, kiosks, street-food stalls, and much more. The choices are wide, as you can pick anything from fried grasshoppers to McDonald’s burgers, and from Japanese restaurants to risotto alla milanese, cooked to the recipe of renowned chef Davide Oldani.
In addition to all this, you can also enjoy a number of services, green spaces, and an area for children. Every day sees a series of events, shows and other initiatives. It’s impossible to see everything, so you will need two or three trips, and be sure one is at night. (Admission costs €5 after 7pm, or €39 for the whole day.) Last but not least, make sure you don’t miss Cirque du Soleil’s show Allavita!, which is running at the Open Air Theater through August. It’s a wonderful hour-long show with dances, gags, acrobatics, and light shows involving 48 artists (23 of them Italian), 124 costumes, and 14 separate acts!