Tutto Expo


Expo: a user guide

Food blogger Serena Palumbo, born in Italy but now living in the US offers us some precious tips

An image of the main road at Expo Milano 2015: the

An image of the main road at Expo Milano 2015: the Decuman 

There are many reasons why you should visit the Expo 2015 in Milan. As I mentioned in my first impression article, this is Italy's opportunity to shine and prove that it is not just well known for the two "F - Words" (Food and Fashion, obviously).  The Expo is huge and it's easy to get overwhelmed, so I decided to put together some tips for travelers and visitors to allow them to make the best of their time visiting it.

The Expo can be reached by subway, train or bus. I recommend not using a car because, as it often happens in Italy, public transportation in this case is the best way to get there.  The only problem is that the subway and the train stops are pretty far away from the entrance of the Expo. While it is virtually impossible to get lost because everybody is walking in the same direction, it can be quite irritating to have to walk half a mile before you even get into the area where pavilions and clusters are housed. That said, I realized when I left that the way back is somewhat easier, so I promise you won't collapse on the way to the train back to Milan.

The ticket to the Expo costs a whopping €39.00. You can save a bit buying it online but it isn't exactly cheap. But fair is fair and I gladly paid the full price to see the Expo. Only, you would imagine that they would give you a map, right? In America they would give you a map. Maybe it's just me becoming more of a New Yorker every day, but I was EXPECTING a map and I wasn't given one. While walking to the Expo grounds, I overheard some millennials talking about the Expo app. It made me feel a bit old and crusty, but I checked if, in fact, there was an app and it turns out there is one and it's also pretty good. So don't be a New Yorker, ASK for a map or even better get into the interactive experience like any millennial would (try not to feel old in the process, please, it isn't fun!).

One of Foody's friends during one of the parades that animate each day the Expo 

One of Foody's friends during one of the parades that animate each day the Expo 

The Expo is huge and there is a lot to see. Depending on how much time you have in Milan, you may want to dedicate at least one day to it. If you are staying in Milan for a longer time, you could take a piece of advice from my friends Domenico and Maria and visit at night. I was told that the Expo at night is really magical. The pavilions that in the sunny summer days are fun to explore and visit, become even more beautiful at night, all light up like Christmas trees. There are two important perks for night visitors: the price of admission is only €5 and the crowd of day trippers and school kids is nowhere in sight. The Expo at night would be a really fun date since there are so many good places to eat!

If you are American and visiting the Expo, you'll notice quickly that Italians don't use air conditioner as Americans do. When you enter the pavilions or the clusters you should not expect a blast of cold air to greet you. Yes, they are cooler than the street outside, but pavilions and clusters are by no means the ice box that Americans have come to expect in the summer. So be aware that you will be disappointed, make peace with the "Italian way" of cooling a room and visit the Expo nonetheless. Soon you'll realize that having cold air blasting on you everywhere you go is not good for you anyway. Or maybe it's just me being Italian...

This is an invite for everyone, not just americans: come visit us at our temporary restaurant at Identità Expo!

This is an invite for everyone, not just americans: come visit us at our temporary restaurant at Identità Expo!

The Expo is a great experience for kids too! While visiting I saw many students with their teachers: they were mostly concentrated in front of the Brazilian Pavilion with its trampoline style net. But the Expo has a lot to offer to the little ones, starting with the mascot of the event, Foody and his friends. Kids can familiarize with the characters on youtube before seeing them in real life during one of the many parades at the Expo.  Check out the daily schedule to learn when the characters will stroll down the Decumano to mix and mingle with visitors and take plenty of pictures of course.  Aside from the entertainment and educational value, Expo 2015 partnered with Chicco, an Italian leading brand in products for infants and children, to make the experience as easy and comfortable as possible. You can rent strollers and access areas with changing tables, which is quite innovative since Italian public restrooms are usually not equipped (or ill equipped) to change a diaper, as I learned last year. All restaurants outside of the pavilions offer high chairs and bottle warmers on request, so your little one will be able to enjoy their meals with you. If your kids want to play a bit there is a Children Park with an educational theme and, inside the MSC area, a dedicated space where they can try the latest Chicco toys. 

What are you waiting for? Grab your sunblock and comfy shoes and prepare to have a great time at the Expo!

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Serena Palumbo

Serena Palumbo is an Italian living in New York. In the daytime she's a lawyer and her evenings are dedicated to cooking and blogging for her site Lemonade25 and The Daily Meal. When not in the office or in the kitchen, she loves reading books and comics from Marvel, going to the cinema or to a theater, getting lost in the streets of New York and traveling with her family.

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