Contributing Writer: Alyssa Gregory
More than 130 countries. 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area. 6 months. One common goal. All these things make up the Milan Expo 2015.
The theme of the Milan 2015 Expo, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, encourages countries to showcase their best technology hoping to solve a prominent need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone.
What this boils down to, for me, is that I can sample more than 130 countries food in one place. Plus, many of the countries have interactive exhibits that showcase their technology. To prepare for my one day only Milan trip I read almost all the short summaries of each of the countries’ exhibits and even more top places not to miss at the Milan Expo blogs.
To make the most of my limited time I have created an itinerary for my Milan trip with the top 5 must-see places I’m going to try to cram into my 8-ish hour day along with my reasoning of why it’s on my list.
- Brazil (G4)
Walking on top of the world! Suspended 6 meters over the Brazilian pavilion, which is full off growing crops, and interactive touchscreen tables, is net visitors can walk on. Visitors’ movements trigger sensors that cause changes in the volume, sounds and lighting. I wonder if a person can take their Brazilian fruit smoothie up there and watch the 50-meter video wall displaying Brazilian food production.
- Ireland (H7)
Keeping it as green as it’s island, Ireland’s theme is “Origin Green.” While I’m looking forward to the fresh green food, what I really want to drink in, besides some of their beer, is their Irish shows and performances that take place in Ireland Plaza.
- Netherlands (G18)
The child in me still thinks of the expo as a world’s fair. The Netherlands, thankfully, have the same childlike mindset I do. The Dutch festival has something for all ages from tastings to kids’ treasure hunts. And no fair is complete without a Ferris wheel, which was actually invented for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 to try to one up France’s Eiffel Tower. So it’s only fitting that I ride a Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. And though the fair foods will be slightly different, “bitterballs” instead of funnel cakes and “stroopwafels” instead of caramel apples I’m still ready to devour it all.
- Switzerland (G21)
Switzerland’s exhibit teaches a lesson teachers have been trying to get through our thick skulls since Kindergarten: if you take it all then there’s none left for the next person aka personal responsibility.
In the Swiss pavilion are four towers full of water, salt, coffee and apples. The lesson is one of sustainability. Visitors can access the towers by elevators and once, at the top, it’s a free for all. You are free to take as much as you want. This is when the guilt, I think, would start to set in because the resources are limited and have to last for the full six months of the Expo. So, if you take it all what will visitors get to see when they come? Hopefully, the visitors before me learned the lesson and took just a bit.
For pretty obvious reasons this is on my list. Represent! Plus after almost a month in Italy I’m excited to stroll down the Coney Island boardwalk eating American favorites from a food truck.
We’ve all heard of the Eiffel Tower raised for the World Fair in Paris in 1889. Personally, I think it is one of the prettiest pieces of architect of all time! Well for each Expo/World’s Fair they try to make their own centerpiece. Milan’s symbol, the Tree of Life, plays of the sustainability and feeding the world theme. During the day, every hour there roughly four minute show of is a music show featuring the work of five contemporary Italian composers. At night, the shows last for 15 minutes and morphs from just a music show into a water show with special effects, trick of lights and fireworks. Everyone can see the show but only lucky ones like me who are under the age of 25 can enter inside the tree. For those over 25, I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules.
With more than 130 different countries to explore this is just a rough outline of what I plan to do on my Milan trip. There’s a lot of distracting exhibits in between each of these so there’s no telling where I might end up. But I’ll keep you posted with a follow up article of which exhibits I actually make it to. And the most important information how much did consuming food from foreign countries all day add up to.
Open for only six months the Milan Expo is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Be a part of history and join Florence for Fun to experience Milan. Learn about sustainability and eat your way through various countries all without leaving the Expo.