EXPO Milano 2015 is expected to bring 20 million visitors to the revitalised metropolis, drawn by the stylish lifestyle, designer fashion, gourmet food and blockbuster art.
Milan is a master of reinvention. One would expect nothing less revolutionary from the city where Leonardo made a mark. Italy’s fashion capital is forging hip new districts, foodie experiences and a futuristic skyline. For style and a contemporary buzz, no other Italian city comes close to Milan. The frenetic city is finally improving its metro system, sprucing up its parks and combatting pollution, including dabbling in cycle-friendly routes and `no traffic days.’
For now, most visitors cling to the art-studded city centre, the designer fashion district and bohemian-chic Brera, with its galleries and hidden courtyards. Beyond this bubble, futuristic new neighbourhoods are emerging, transforming the city skyline. In the Porta Nuova district near Garibaldi station, a cluster of designer towers converges on the elevated new Piazza Gae Aulenti. This newly desirable route channels visitors down chic Corso Como, favoured by the Milanese fashion set and footballers on a roll.
All this frenetic activity is prompted by Europe’s biggest event since the Olympics. EXPO Milano showcases food and sustainability, and has attracted around 150 countries, including Great Britain. Staged between May and October, this worthy forum aims to be an educational exchange rather than an exhibition, transforming the lives of the world’s poorest citizens. Country pavilions will be clustered together within food themes, such as spices or coffee. As a hip, hard-core, double espresso city, Milan is expected to deliver without froth. But there is also a fun side to the fair as the food theme capitalises on the city’s cultural assets.
Beyond the catwalk and fairground, the city’s artistic heritage is in pretty good shape. A seamless art trail now flows from the Brera collection of old masters to the latest, visitor-friendly art museums, Gallerie d’Italia and the Museo del Novecento. The trail takes in the newly-restored Cathedral, Opera House and Palazzo Reale, the venue for a Leonardo da Vinci blockbuster. Milan’s `princes of patronage’ are also on the ball, with both Prada and Armani opening fashion and design museums. On `planet fashion’ you sleep, taste, breathe the designer brands, even live their dreams. Milan has haute-couture hotels for every mood – from cool to quirky, fairytale to fashionista.