Milan Expo 2015 is an excellent reason to explore Italy’s
second-largest city, which is
famous for fashion, music, design and cuisine.
There is so much to see and do, to taste and experience that a visitor
should plan a careful itinerary so
that each choice can be enjoyed to the
Let’s look at some the highlights for a
No trip to Milan is complete without
a visit to the world-renowned Duomo.
This Gothic cathedral, dedicated to St
Mary of the Nativity, is the largest in
Italy and the fifth-largest in the world.
It took nearly six centuries to complete.
Underscoring the cathedral’s central
role in the city’s history, the structure
is the spoke of a system of radiating
The plan of the cathedral comprises
a nave with four side aisles, crossed by
a transept. The roof is open to tourists,
allowing a spectacular view of both the
structure and the city.
During the six-month Expo, a special
tour for visitors is on offer, and the
opening time has been extending to 9am-11pm. Facing the Duomo Piazza is
the Milan Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II,
which connects the Duomo and La Scala
opera house, the city’s two famous
The galleria, named after the first
ruler of the Kingdom of Italy, is a land-
mark in its own right. It is one of the
world’s oldest shopping malls, celebrat-
ing its 150th anniversary this year.
It contains luxury retailers, book and
art stores, and restaurants and cafes.
Some of these venues are among the
oldest in the city.
Locals believe if a person spins
around three times with a heel on the
testicles of the bull from the Turin Coat
of Arms there, it will bring good luck.
Not far from the Duomo is the Cas-
tello Sforzesco, built in the 15th century
by the duke of Milan.
The castle, once a fortress, today
houses some of the city’s best museums
and art collections.
And speaking of high art, Leonardo
da Vinci’s famous “Last Supper’’ can be
admired on the walls of the refectory of
Santa Maria delle Grazie.
It covers an end of the dining hall at
the monastery. The last major restora-
tion of this fragile painting took 21
years and was finished in 1999. Visitors
have to book ahead to view it and can
only stay in the room for 15 minutes.
Exploring the modern look of Milan
The redevelopment of Navigli, the
city’s most picturesque district, was
completed in time for Expo. Pedestrian
paths, greenery and markets in the
Darsena area link the Naviglio Grande
and the Villoresi canals.
The area provides a chance to dis-
cover a new concept in “urban living”
and is an excellent venue for an evening
stroll alongside the bustling Naviglio
Grande and its outdoor cafes.
Don’t miss Piazza Gae Aulenti, one of the most modern new squares in the
city. It is highlighted by an ornamental
water feature that is lit at night. Among
the buildings surrounding the piazza
is Italy’s tallest skyscraper, the Torre
UniCredit. Near the tower is an artistic
exhibit called “Panorama.” It features a 15-minute video showing the scenic
sites, artistic gems and commercial
highlights of Italy. Also not to be missed is Isola, near
the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova. This
one-time blue-collar area is being
transformed into a “place to be seen”
in Milan, with its brasseries, cafes and
On the edge of Isola is the Bosco Verti-
cale, a pair of residential towers cited as
among the five most beautiful, innovative
skyscrapers in the world by the Interna-
tional High-Rise Award of 2014.
The site is an example of nature in an
urban setting. Each tower houses trees
of up to six meters in height that help
mitigate smog and produce oxygen. The
almost 1,000 trees will help moderate
temperatures in the buildings.
Art and exhibitions
Fondazione Prada, occupying a for-
mer distillery, is an institution dedicated
to contemporary art and culture. The
foundation is co-chaired by Miuccia
Prada, a member of the famed luxury-
goods family, and her husband Patrizio
Bertelli. The foundation has combined
preexisting buildings with three new
structures. Selections of artworks from
the Prada Collection are presented in a
series of thematic exhibitions.
The current Serial Classic exhibition
running through August 24 focuses on classical sculpture and explores the
ambivalent relationships between origi-
nality and imitation in Roman culture.
The Museo del Novecento on the
Piazza del Duomo is the place to see
famous works from the cubist school,
the Arte Povera movement and Italy’s
futurist artists. The museum holds one
the nation’s largest collections of 20th
La Tiennale di Milano, a design and
art museum, is currently hosting an
exhibition inspired by the Expo theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
The exhibition, “Arts and Foods,” focuses on the aesthetics of eating ritu-
als dating back to 1851 when the first
World Expo was held in London.
Food and drink in Milan
The Milanese love their aperitivo pre-dinner drinks meant to whet the
appetite and socialize with friends.
There is no end of places to go for
aperitivo. One is the Bar Luce inside
Fondazione Prada. It was designed by
film director Wes Anderson in the style
of a typical Milanese café.
Ceresio 7 on the penthouse floor of Dsquared2’s headquarters on Via
Ceresio is another popular drinking
stop. Here you can watch the fashionis-
tas of Milan while enjoying apertivo on
a pool terrace. For a change of pace, try
Un Posto a Milano bistro at the Cascina
Cuccagna, a refurbished 17th century
“urban farm” near Porta Romana. Stay
for dinner. All the food served here
comes from local, seasonal sources.
For the more hip, Deus ex Machina
Store and Café on Via Thaon di Revel
in the Isola neighborhood is a cool
place to hang out for a drink and even
dinner. For a similar vibe, Lacerba on Via Orti is one of the hotspots for
Milanese young people who like to
socialize away from tourist crowds.