6 Weeks Left to Visit Expo Milan 2015

White pavilion against blue skyIf you’re new to Milano, you might have noticed that this year is a big one for the city. Thanks to Expo Milan 2015, the city is humming with tourists and lots of great new stuff is popping up all around town. The World Fair itself has been welcoming record numbers of visitors in September and August. So what are you waiting for? You can browse some general Expo info and keywords on our website. And here are some more tips for planning your September or October visit.

Ticket Discounts
If you qualify for a student ticket and are planning more than one daytime visit to the Expo, you might want to get a season pass. It’s only €58 for students (€75 for all other visitors) and it can be purchased at the Expo site itself or an authorized reseller (remember that you can’t buy student tickets online because your ID needs to be checked for eligibility). Here’s the official price list.
Another option: if you’re thinking about using Milan’s BikeMi bike sharing, you could take advantage of their Expo discounts. With just a few euros more than the regular price for an annual subscription, you get one Expo ticket with your year pass (for a total of about €40). There are also discounts for week or day BikeMi passes with an Expo ticket. Complete info is on the BikeMi website.

Tree of Life with white lights and waterEvening Visits
For shorter, evening-only trips to the Expo, remember that the admission price is only €5. What’s new is that this price is now valid starting at 6pm instead of 7pm, so you’ll have an extra hour to enjoy the event at the super cheap price. And with the area open until midnight on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s an even better deal! If you go, don’t miss the Tree of Life light shows at 10pm and 10:30pm every evening (and 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays).

Expo Passport
Last, but not least, there’s a cool way to record your experience and bring home a unique souvenir: the Expo passport! You can fill up your Expo passport with stamps from all the participating countries, getting some cultural vibes from countries you might never fill your real passport with. You can find stands selling passports after entering the Expo site, and they’re just €5.

11 Brand New Attractions and Services in Milano Because Expo

2015 is a great year for Milano. Lots of travel publications are talking about the city as a top destination because of the huge event being hosted here: Expo Milan 2015. (You probably know all about the fair by now… if not, get more info in our practical guide to the Expo.)

To welcome all the extra visitors coming from near and far to the Expo, the city has spruced up, putting its best face forward. The hip canal area, new parks, new exhibits, the Duomo area, public transport and everything in between have all been revamped. So we’ve gathered a hefty sampling of all the new things going on around town, just for you. You’re sure to find a thing or two that you’re interested in!

Check Out the Renovated Navigli
The Navigli area has long been one of the coolest places in Milano for hanging out with friends, sipping a cool drink. Now it’s even better!
View of canal1 Darsena
: The historic harbor of the city was reopened in late April and was quickly embraced by the city as a place to hang out and enjoy the water. There’s a large walkway, a food market and a foot bridge. What’s not to like?
2 Mercato Metropolitano
: Fancy a snack? Or maybe a movie? Then this newly refurbished area near the Porta Genova station is the place to go! It’s like a farmers market meets street food meets outdoor amphitheater. Wander around the market and you’re sure to find something cool or tasty.

Chill in New Green Areas
Milan has its share of parks and greenery tucked in between its busy streets and tall buildings. Here are the latest editions.
Night view of castle and benchesWheatfield: A living art project created by Agnes Denes and sponsored by the Riccardo Catella and Nicola Trussardi Foundations and Confagricoltura. Local citizens planted the field a few months ago and now the field is growing, providing a nice green space in the city. The wheat will then be harvested when ready. It’s a nice place to take a stroll on the path that cuts through the field and admire the juxtaposition of agriculture surrounded by new skyscrapers.
Piazza Castello: The pedestrian area around the Castle has gotten a face lift, with added benches and trees. The white structures kinda match ExpoGate, which is located in the same square. Why not read a book in the shade and take in the scenery?

Browse Exhibit Collections in Brand New Spaces
Milano is home to lots of great exhibition spaces and museums… including two brand new ones!
Empty cafe interiorFondazione Prada
The fashion giant’s foundation just opened their amazing space for exhibits in an area on the outskirts of the city, completing an amazing renovation job on an industrial area. Before the grand opening, there was only one location in Venice, but now Prada’s home town is hosting a huge and very cool space for the foundation. Don’t forget to check out the bar area, designed by film director Wes Anderson. Inaugurated on 9 May, admission is €10.
Museo della Cultura (MUDEC): The Milan Museum of Cultures opened in late March of this year. Located in the hip Tortona neighborhood, it hosts exhibitions showcasing the diversity of world cultures. The two inaugural exhibits feature traditional African works of art and representations of world cultures in Milan in recent history. Admission, which includes an audio guide, is €13 for anyone under 26.

Hang in the Piazza Duomo Area
Restoration works on the Galleria are finishing up and there are a few new tourist activities in the most central area of the city.
Rooftop of GalleriaHighline Galleria: Seemingly inspired by the relatively new NYC park that was built on an old elevated train track, this is Milan’s very own bird’s eye view of the city. Visitor can explore the upper level of the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and admire the Liberty architecture. Full price tickets are €12, but they’re half off until 20 June, and reduced prices are available for large groups. Open until 11pm.
Palazzo Marino: The office of the Milano city government also happens to be a spectacular palazzo dating back to the 16th century. There are 13 areas open to the public, 4 of which have never before been accessible. Admission is free and guided tours in various languages are organized several days a week.

Test Out the Enhanced Public Transport
With a public transportation system that already does a pretty good job of meeting the needs of the public, the city is still expanding its offer. Check out the latest additions below.
Electric bikes
: Milan’s bike sharing scheme has recently added ebikes to their fleet. Environmentally-friendly (they run on solar power), these bikes are great for longer distances and only cost a little more than the traditional bicycles.
10 M5 subway line: The newest underground line now goes all the way to San Siro stadium – just in time for the start of the summer concert season! For info on concerts, check out the TicketOne website.

Try Out Some Expo in Città Events
11 Expo in Città: Last, but not least, many of the above initiatives are included in the wide variety of events included in Expo in Città. This is a website that groups together anything and everything related to the Expo but located in the city and it’s a good way to get a comprehensive overview of what’s going on. You can browse by date, admission price, category or type of venue. You’re sure to find a cool event suited to your tastes! Browse on the Expo in Città website.

*photos from the Comune di Milano website and the Fondazione Prada twitter feed

Keywords for Cracking the Expo Milano 2015 Code

With an area covering 1.1km² and over 140 countries involved, it’s no wonder the 2015 Expo has created something of its very own language. To help you navigate the event, we’ve put together a list of keywords that will guide your visit to the unique celebration that is the Expo!

Rendering of Decumano
Photo from Expo2015 website

Cardo – a 350m axis that is the central pathway for the Italian Pavilion. It runs north-south, as the term was originally used for the main road in this direction in ancient Roman cities. Find out more about it in the Cardo section of the Expo website.

Casa dell’Acqua – 32 free water kiosks where you can drink still or sparkling water, provided by Gruppo Cap.

Cascina Triulza – one of the many Expo pavilions, it’s an old farmhouse that’s been renovated for the event. It houses civil society organizations and focuses on sustainable food practices and part of the UN’s Zero Hunger Challenge installations. More information can be found in the Triulza section of the Expo website.

Cluster – there are 9 pavilions hosting multiple countries or regions, but focused on a particular food topic located throughout the site. These include: Rice, Cocoa and Chocolate, Coffee, Fruits and Legumes, Spices, Cereals and Tubers, Bio-Mediterraneum, Islands, Sea and Food and Arid Zones. Find out all about these areas on the Expo website.

Decumano – a term originally used in ancient Roman cities to describe the road running east-west, this is the main drag at the Expo site. Also called World Avenue, the street is 1.5km long and flanked by the national pavilions and clusters. It symbolizes the connection between where food is consumed (the city) and where food is produced (the countryside). More information is available in the Decumano section of the Expo website.

Expo – also known as the World’s Fair, World Exposition and Universal Exposition. These events are held every few years at a different location around the world and generally have a main theme that participating countries focus on in their pavilions. The first Expo was held in London in 1851.

Expo Gate and Castle
Photo from Expo2015 website

Expo Gate – a location in downtown Milan (in Piazza Castello) where information is available about the Expo and where you can also get tickets. It’s open every day from 10am to 8pm. More information is available on the Expo website.

Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life – this year’s official motto and theme for the Expo. Participants are asked to focus on food, farming, resources and culinary traditions. Read more about the theme on the Expo website.

Foody – the Expo’s mascot, loosely based on Giuseppe Arcimboldi’s portraits made of different kinds of food. Before the inauguration of the event, the mascot traveled around the world promoting the Expo. Now, there’s a Foody Parade two times a day along the Decumano at 11:30am and 4:00pm. Learn more in the Foody section of the Expo website.

Pavilion – exhibition area for participating countries, international organizations, civil society organizations and corporations. Each pavilion has been funded, built and managed by the participating partner and hosts itineraries, exhibits, events and food tastings. Find out all about the 96 pavilions on the Expo website.

Pavilion Zero – located right at the main entrance of the Expo, this is meant to be a general introduction to the site. It has a few cool exhibits focusing on the theme and it’s definitely worth a visit! Find out more on the Expo website.

People Mover – the name of the environmentally-friendly shuttle that is available to get around the Expo area. They run every 5-7 minutes in a clockwise direction around the area. If you need to get from one end of the Decumano to the other, you might want to think about using the bus!

Rho – the name of the city just outside the Milan city limits where the Expo site is located. Remember that because it’s in Rho, which is technically not Milan, public transport tickets cost more than travel within the city.

Thematic Area – these are pavilions that feature topic-based itineraries with a specific focus. The areas include: Pavilion Zero, Future Food District, Children’s Park, Biodiversity Park and Art & Food (the latter is not located at the Expo, but at the Triennale building). Get more info in the Thematic Areas section of the Expo website.

Tree of LifeAlbero della Vita in Italian, an installation designed by Expo Artistic Director, Marco Balich. The wood and steel structure is based on designs from the Renaissance. It’s located in the center of Lake Arena, next to the Italy Pavilion. You can periodic water shows in the fountains surrounding the tree. Word on the street is that the sculpture will be relocated to Piazza Loreto in Milan after the end of the Expo, but a final decision still hasn’t been made. Read more about the structure on the Italy Pavilion website.

Zero Hunger Challenge – a UN supported initiative that was launched in 2012 with the objective of allowing all people to have access to nutritious food. The UN has created 18 installations representing this challenge, located in various locations around the Expo site, instead of in one pavilion. Get more info about this topic in the dedicated section of the Expo website.

Everything You Need to Know About EXPO Milano 2015

A few weeks have gone by since the official opening of the Expo, definitely the event of the year (or perhaps decade) for Milano. All the VIPs came out for the inauguration on April 30-May 1 and now the dust has settled, both literally and figuratively, on the Expo site. The last pavilions are being finished and the volunteers and workers have had time to get into their routines welcoming and assisting visitors. That makes now the best time to go!

So you’ve decided to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But before you go, you need some basic info on when to gowhere to buy tickets, how to get there and how to plan your day. All these details are available on the Expo website, of course, but we’ve put together a one-page summary for easily access, just for students!

Avoid the kids and wait a few weeks (or go at night)
The Expo is open every day 10am to 11pm, from May 1-October 31. That gives you lots of options for when to go. One thing to keep in mind is that during these first few weeks lots of local schools are bringing schoolchildren to the site for a field trip. Want to avoid the throngs of kids? Just wait until school is no longer in session: the last day of class is June 8. Keep in mind that school will start up again in the fall in mid-September.
If you can’t wait that long, by all means, brave the crowds. Or just go on an evening ticket, which is super-cheap (see info below). The field trips will be over long before 7pm!

Egea sign for Expo ticketsSkip the ticket line and get tickets in advance
Student tickets can’t be purchased online because you need to show your ID to prove that you’re a student in order to get the discounted price. The official Expo price for students up to 25 years old is €29. You should buy your tickets at a the ExpoGate (in Piazza Cordusio, near the Castle Sforzesco fountain) or another authorized vendor in order to avoid waiting in line at the Expo site. (Be aware that even if you skip the ticket line at the Expo, however, you’ll still have to wait to pass through the airport-like security, so be prepared to queue up!)
All students enrolled at a Milan university have an even bigger discount for one ticket: €10! And Bocconi students get a bigger reduction still, with a price of just €7. Bocconi students should go to the Egea bookstore between 10-25 June to get this discounted ticket.
Another low-cost option is the €5 evening price for admission after 7pm. This a good option to get a feel for the Expo itself, but keep in mind a few important caveats: lines can be long for buying tickets (so, again, buy tickets in advance either online or at a ticket reseller in Milan) and some pavilion activities may be closed in the evening. Restaurants, of course, will be open, so you can choose one of the many international cuisines for your dinner. This is also a great way to enjoy the famous installation the Tree of Life, designed by the Expo’s artistic director Marco Balich, because the artwork features a spectacular lights show. Also, a few of the pavilions put on music and entertainment during the later hours, so it’s a pleasant way to the spend the evening. Turnstiles for entrance close at 9pm and the site closes at 11pm, but there’s talk of keeping the Expo open until midnight on the weekends. Yet another reason to take advantage of the cheap evening ticket!

Photo from Expo2015 website

Leave the car, take the subway
If you happen to have a car in Milan or if you’re subscribed to one of the many car sharing services in the city, you might be tempted to drive to the Expo. Resist the temptation! Parking is super expensive (€12 per car), advance reservations are required and you’ll need to take a shuttle to get from the parking lot to the pavilions.
The best way to get to the Expo is by taking one of the subway lines that stop there. Coming from the city, the red line (M1) in the Rho Fiera Expo direction is probably the easiest option. Other less-used lines are part of the Regional Rail Service, just look for S5, S6, S11 and S14. Remember, however, that Rho is outside the city limits and your usual monthly pass to use the public transportation won’t cover your trip. You’ll still need to get another ticket to get to the Expo: a round-trip ticket is €5. Complete info is available on the ATM website.

Internal scene with net
Photo from Expo2015 website

Channel your inner Indiana Jones and choose wisely
There are a total of 96 pavilions representing 143 countries at the Expo. That means that you absolutely won’t be able to see everything in one day. So choose wisely! You can visit the pavilion of your home country or that of your friends. Or maybe go to the places representing countries you may not get a chance to actually visit in the near future. Or make your choice simply based on the attractions at the pavilions: a full-on forest in Austria, a fun net walkway in Brazil, a slide in Germany, an immense plant wall in Israel, the scarcity project in Switzerland or the sand-like architecture in the United Arab Emirates. You can study up on everything the Expo has to offer by checking out their website.
Remember, the area is open from 10am to 11pm every day, so you can certainly pack in a lot during that time… but not everything!

Skip breakfast and come hungry
Remember how there are a total of 96 different pavilions? There are just about that many choices of where and what to eat, as most countries also offer a few options for visitors to taste the local cuisine. Prices vary greatly, from a few euros for a sandwich to a full meal of €40-50 euros. Some highlights: empanadas in Argentina, arepas in Columbia, foie gras in France, fish burgers in Holland, satay in Indonesia, kimchi in Korea, margaritas in Mexico, arancini at the Mediterranean cluster, lobster rolls in the US . Of course, this is just a small taste of all the Expo has to offer. So bring a few extra euros and an empty stomach and you won’t be disappointed!

#FoodSavingBEC Initiative for Undergraduate Students

Calling all undergraduate students! Are you interested in spending 1 week in Milan with 199 other students from around the world, to come up with innovative and creative ideas on how to decrease food waste?

With Expo Milan 2015 starting in a few months (the international fair will begin on 1 May of next year), the city is gearing up with a bunch of related events and initiatives, including the Short Food Movie competition, which was discussed in a previous post.

Another competition is #FoodSavingBEC, open to students enrolled in any undergraduate program at any university around the world.

Students participating in the week-long event will attend lectures with Bocconi faculty members and experts from partners of the initiative. They will also be divided into teams to find creative and innovative solutions to the problem of food waste and then vote for the top five ideas. The top teams will compete on the final day of the competition at the EXPO 2015 Italy Pavilion in front of a qualified panel of judges.

To apply for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, all you need to do is fill out the online application, upload a few documents like your transcripts, and submit a video introducing yourself and explaining why you should be a part of the competition, in English.

The 10 students with the most votes online will automatically be chosen to participate, while the other 190 students will be evaluated based on their entire application. And the top 5 students with the most votes who are from outside Italy will be offered round-trip airfare to Milan! All participants will be given lunch vouchers during the week-long program and students attending universities outside Milan will be hosted at a local residence hall.

What an opportunity! What are you waiting for? Go to the #FoodSavingBEC website to get more information and to apply. And for a quick intro on what it’s all about, watch the video below:

Short Food Movie @ Expo 2015

Short Food Movie and Expo logos

Want to win a trip to Milan and the Expo? If you have some video making skills under your belt (or a desire to learn) and a passion for food, you could win by participating in the Short Food Movie initiative. Whether you’re interested food production, cooking, nutrition or you want to create a message aimed at abolishing hunger around the world, you can create a short video and share it with the world, both online and at the Milano Expo 2015.

Short Food Movie and Expo logosVideos will be on the Short Food Movie website, in addition to Pavilion Zero at the Expo itself. Pavilion Zero is the first area visitors will see as they explore the grounds of the fair. Designed by Michele de Lucchi, a large part of the project is a huge panel of TV screens focusing on food issues. This where the videos submitted by people from all over the world will be played (without audio).

When you’re creating your video, you should keep the main Expo themes in mind: improving the quality and safety of food; ensuring a healthy, quality nutrition for all human beings; preventing the key societal diseases of our time, related to nutrition; innovating the whole food supply chain by means of corporate and technology research; educating to a proper nutrition; enhancing food traditions as cultural and ethnic values.

Of course there are also a few rules you need to remember for the competition. Videos should work with and without sound (sound will be included when uploaded to the website, but not at the Expo installation), no logos can be included, they have to last between 30 and 60 seconds and copyright rules can’t be infringed upon.

Also, when you upload your video, you’ll have to choose one of the following categories:

  • Food & Life
  • Food & Nature
  • Food & Sustainability
  • Food & Culture
  • Food & Production
  • Food & People
  • Zero Hunger Challenge (UN initiative)

You could win a trip to Milan and tickets to Expo Milan 2015! The public will vote for their favorite videos and the 15 with the most votes will be eligible to receive this great prize. A panel of judges will choose 3 out of those 15 videos as winners to come to the event. Check the website, as details are forthcoming. Voting starts on 10 November 2014.

So warm up your camcorder (or mobile phone, tablet or camera with video recording functions), get your creative juices flowing and be a part of the Expo!

All About the Expo

What do Paris’s Eiffel Tower, Brussels’s Atomium and Seattle’s Space Needle all have in common? They were all built for a world’s fair hosted by the city and are now major tourist attractions, decades after their original construction.

World’s fairs generally focus on the innovation and technology of a specific and they aim to bring together experts from around the world. The very first expo dates back to 1851 and was held in London, while the most recent were held in Yeosu, South Korea in 2012, focusing on smart cities, and in Shanghai in 2010, with the theme of the oceans and coasts.

Tram on Milan street with Expo signMilan Expo 2015
If you’ve been in the city of Milan recently or even just tried to read up on the city for a future visit, you’ve probably heard something about Expo 2015. What is this event and what does it mean for residents, students and visitors?

The Expo event that will be in town next year is a continuation of this tradition that has been around for over 150 years. And, as is fitting for a country with a long and varied culinary history, the Milan edition’s theme is nutrition and food. Stands from all over the world will participate (there are currently 147 official participants).

Construction
As we count down the days until the event begins in May of next year, many residents have mixed feelings about the Expo because of all the construction that seems to have invaded every corner of the city! Whether it’s for the subway line that has been opening up slowly over the past few months, projects for skyscrapers in the CityLife area, the park at Porta Nuova or the terrace that’s being built in the Navigli area, it’s hard to get around the city without running into a construction site. The good news is that the works are planned to end by the start of the Expo, so the city should have a shiny new feel to it for all the extra visitors next year.

Public bikes with Expo logoWorking at the Expo
From an economic point of view, the influx of people is a good thing for the local service industries like hotels and restaurants. But it also means there are quite a few openings for people with international skills at the fair itself. There are even two sections for students, one for internships (the Youth Training Program) and one for students or new graduates who already have some professional experience (the Experience Development Program). Applications are now being accepted, but the recruitment and selection process will take place later in the year. It’s a great opportunity, especially for international students who have language skills.

For general info and updates on the Expo 2015, go to their website.