Milan often attracts attention thanks to its status as an international fashion centre and as Italy’s commercial heart, and for six months from 1 May the world’s gaze will be very firmly fixed on the city as it hosts Expo Milano 2015, a series of varied events and shows.
The exhibition site stretches for three kilometres and 144 countries will take part; 20 million visitors are expected to visit the city, many travelling on Expo-themed aeroplanes. With these kinds of numbers involved, it is unsurprising that Expo Milan 2015 will dominate daily life in Milan throughout the spring and summer.
Expo ambassadors have been drawn from a variety of fields and include writers, athletes, actors, architects, chefs and musicians. Fashion designer and Expo ambassador Paul Smith describes Expo as ‘exciting, innovative, creative.’ The event will be the perfect opportunity to showcase Milan’s many charms on the international stage. ‘Expo is a great opportunity. It’s a way to raise awareness for Italy, Milan, our beautiful landscapes,’ says former Olympic kayaker Antonio Rossi.
MTV will hold its annual EMA awards ceremony in Milan, to coincide with the climax of Expo. ‘We’re thrilled to bring the 2015 MTV EMAs to Milan,’ says the event’s executive producer Bruce Gillmer. ‘It’s an iconic city where art, fashion and music collide.’
Global Blue will also be taking part in the event. The company’s first Global Blue lounge, in the heart of the Milan, will welcome visitors from the beginning of April. A range of services will be available – including advice from expert shopping consultants – as well as its tax refund facility.
The first Expo was held in London in 1851 and since then the event has taken place in a range of locations. Each Expo focuses on a different theme and it’s fitting that, for a country that boasts one of the world’s finest cuisines, food is a central focus at this year’s event. A new show from Cirque du Soleil, based on the event’s key theme, has been devised, and look out for recently opened restaurants, such as Larte (in association with event sponsor Altagamma), designed to showcase Italy’s cuisine and culture.
Italian gourmet food company Eataly will showcase some of the country’s finest products, from fine wines and extra virgin olive oil to confectionery, in its stores across Italy and also in the US. It will also demonstrate the importance of high-quality produce in Italian cuisine. If you’re in the US in the first part of 2015, Eataly will be exhibiting a collection of historically significant statues, pinnacles and gargoyles temporarily removed from Milan’s Duomo. These pieces will be shown in New York for the first time at the ‘Eataly per Duomo’ event which will be open to the public until Expo begins in May.
With the theme of food at its heart, the 2015 Expo has found a perfect partner in Milan. ‘Living in America I realise more and more how Italy leads in the field of food,’ says basketball player Danilo Gallinari, who was born in Italy. His feelings are echoed by acclaimed chef Davide Oldani: ‘The most important theme of Expo is healthy eating. It is only with great quality products that it is possible to produce great cooking, especially healthy cooking.’
The city is set to showcase its acclaimed cuisine, high-quality produce and myriad cultural attractions to an international audience. It will be Milan’s time in the spotlight and the city looks set to shine.