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

Kandinsky: A Journey Beyond Space and Time

Palazzo Reale in Milan is hosting “Vassily Kandinsky. The Centre Pompidou Collection” through 27 April.

The exhibit, curated by Angela Lampe – an art historian and curator at Centre Pompidou in Paris – and in collaboration with Ada Masoero for Italy, it is a wide-ranging retrospective focusing on one artist, with over 80 essential works of Kandinsky’s art, in chronological order.

The narrative of the artistic and mental journey of one of the fathers of abstract art, through all the stages of his course, is well-curated and very captivating. From the very first hall, visitors are immersed in a voyage that constantly changes viewpoint, following the growth and pursuit of painting of this great artist from last century. He was an artist who, in addition to painting, practiced art in other fields: music and theater, where he sought to defend the spiritual in art, the title of one of his most important essays.

The exhibition includes over 80 works of art: from Old Town in 1902 to Sky Blue in 1940, along with Windmill in Holland (1904), In Grey (1919), Yellow-Red-Blue (1925), Accent in Pink (1926), Colourful Ensemble (1938). The visitor can walk through the sections of the exhibit in an ideal journey through Kandinsky’s art from his debut to his culmination, from the years in Russia, to those in Germany and France until, savoring a unique and unforgettable experience and delving into a setting that will have the power to transport them beyond space and time.

Vassily Kandinsky. The Centre Pompidou Collection
Milan, Palazzo Reale, through 27 April
Admission: €11 – €9.50 – € 5.50
(Exhibit promoted and produced by the Councilorship for Culture of the City of Milan, Palazzo Reale, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 ORE and Arthemisia Group)

Getting Ready for Carnival in Milano

Did you know that Carnival lasts longer in Milano?

A typical Catholic and Christian celebration, Carnival involves parades, parties, masquerading and sweet treats. Once a year, the world is turned upside down as a few days of follies and eccentricities precede the forty rigorous days of Lent that lead up to Easter. Everybody has heard of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, of course. In Italy, Venice and Viareggio hold masquerades and parades just as beautiful (and there are many others, each one different, all over the country!). Around the world, festivities culminate on Mardi Gras, which is the last day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.

Locals celebrating Carnival at the DuomoAll over the world, except in Milano.

That’s because a slightly different liturgical rite, called the Ambrosian Rite – the Rito Ambrosiano named after a fourth century bishop of Milan – is followed here and in the surrounding areas. As the legend goes, Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, was away on a pilgrimage; when he announced he’d be back in time for Carnival, the people decided to wait to celebrate with him, so that now it lasts four days longer than any other Carnival – until Saturday, called appropriately sabato grasso (or Samedi Gras). Then, Lent starts on Sunday instead of Ash Wednesday.

As a consequence, Samedi Gras is the hottest day in Ambrosian Carnival, when the biggest events are held and confetti colors the whole city. Of course, the main events take place downtown all around Piazza del Duomo – all you’ve got to do is go in centro on Saturday afternoon to find yourself surrounded by masks, traveling entertainers, music and party noise!

This year, Samedi Gras will take place on Saturday 8 March, which also happens to be International Women’s Day.

So, to start off the festivities, here’s what to do. First of all, make sure you try out the most famous Carnival dessert, chiacchiere. Find out more about this delicious tradition.

And don’t forget, you’ll need a costume! Check out this information on Halloween costumes (all stores included in the article will be all decked out and supplied with Carnival costumes in the days leading up to the final day of celebrations).

Remember When…

As study abroad students are finishing up their exams and packing up their things to either travel around the globe or head back home, it’s time to start thinking about what souvenirs you should bring home to friends or family, or keep as a memento of your time in Milano! Here’s a list of ideas. What are yours?

“I heart Milano” memorabilia – Whether you opt for the classic white t-shirt, a different color or a mug, pencil or keychain, this design has taken off in Milano too, like many other cities around the world since it was started in the ’70s in NYC.

Soccer jersey – For all the soccer fans out there, there are plenty of sports stores around town that sell popular jerseys for footballers from the two Milano teams, Inter and AC Milan. Just pick your favorite and wear it with pride!

Souvenir of Milano monument – With three icons to choose from – the Duomo, the La Scala opera house or Leonardo’s Last Supper – there are lots of little souvenirs for you to remember the city. Whether you choose a little statue of the Duomo to keep on your desk, a La Scala poster from the opera you attended or a book on Leonardo, the choices are endless.

Recipe notes – Italian food is renowned the world over, so why not put together some of your favorite recipes from your time in the bel paese? Ask some friends or just jot down a new way of cooking your favorite meal so you don’t forget. And maybe pass it along to some friends back home!

Italian foodstuffs – Italy is also well-known for its edible products, from olive oil, vinegar and saffron to chocolate (think Ferrero anything, gianduiotto or chocolate from Modica). Be sure to stock up on whatever you can’t get back home, and let your friends try something new.

Italian beverages – For anyone who enjoys having a drink every now and then, it’s not a bad idea to take home a memento from an excellent Italian vineyard. Wines with DOCG status (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, the highest quality category for Italian wines) from Lombardy include Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico, Valtellina Superiore, Sforzato di Valtellina and Moscato di Scanzo, but there are so many good wines from the region and all over Italy that it usually just depends on your own personal tastes when choosing the best bottle. And what’s more, there are also some delicious beer brands that are hard to find outside Milano. The classic brand Menabrea, made west of Milano in Biella, is just one example of a pretty high-quality brew. But remember, when flying you’ll have to check any luggage with these tasty liquids and be sure to pack with lots of padding!

Milano movies – Update your DVD collection with a few movies set in Milano. Here are just a few titles:

  • Che Bella Giornata (2011)
  • I Am Love (2009)
  • The International (2009)
  • Si può fare (2008)
  • Chiedimi se sono felice (2000)
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)

Memorabilia from your alma mater – Last but not least, don’t forget to pick up something from the university that hosted you while abroad! Milanese universities (including Bocconi) have various items, like t-shirts, mugs, bags, pens, etc. at their book stores which you can get to show off your college spirit.