Before Plan for a Trip Book Your Accommodation In Milan
Milan is a city of lavish wealth and almost frightening elegance. Think bankers in bespoke shoes that cost more than your computer, wealthy donnas with Prada handbags and professionally blow-dried hair, elderly ladies walking toy poodles down the Via della Spiga. It’s all very pretty to look at, but it can make a mere mortal feel a bit dowdy and down-at-the-heels.
But in 2015, the city will welcome the hoi polloi with open arms. Expo 2015 – the latest of the world fairs that have been held since the mid 1800s – will be held between May and October, bringing droves of visitors to Italy’s second largest city. This Expo will focus on food – a topic close to any Italian’s heart – specifically issues surrounding sustainable agriculture and global nutrition.
The 1.1 million sq metre fairgrounds will be laid out like a classical Roman city, with symmetrical avenues, a canal, and a huge artificial lake surrounded by pavilions. Explore the ‘future food district’, watch cooking demos, wander a plaza full of street musicians and dance performers, or indulge in nighttime wine-tastings. At least 144 countries will participate. In years past, world fairs have introduced or popularised such now-ubiquitous foodstuffs as cotton candy, ice-cream cones and hamburgers. So come to Milan to find out what we’ll all be eating in 50 years.
As frilly as a fairy-tale wedding dress, the Duomo di Milano is the world’s fifth-largest cathedral. This Gothic marble vision has 135 spires reaching skyward, 3200 elaborately carved statues, ancient and enormous panes of stained glass, and an early Christian crypt containing the remains of St Carlo Borromeo in a rock-crystal casket. The church took some six centuries to complete; be sure to dedicate at least half a day to taking in its glory. Don’t miss the roof, especially on a clear day, when you can see the Alps towering in the distance.
Trending topics in Milan:
Italy is mad for coffee – the nation gulps some 14 billion cups of espresso each year. Milan alone has 600 cafes, where baristas grind, measure and pour with the precision of scientists and the vision of artists. So why, then, would Italy need Starbucks? That’s the question on many a Milanese tongue as rumours fly that the Seattle-based megachain is looking to open in Italy in the near future. Could the classic cappuccino soon be a Frapuccino? Stay tuned.
Most bizarre sight:
So you’re shopping in Milan’s elegant, glass-vaulted Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II when you notice a well-dressed man or woman doing something… odd. Standing in front of the 19th-century bull mosaic on the floor, they place their right heel on the bull’s testicles and rotate three times. This bizarre tradition of unknown origin is said to bring good luck. Not so for the bull – years of fortune seekers have worn a hole in his manhood.
Classic restaurant experience:
The breaded veal cutlets known as ‘veal Milanese’ in much of the world are cotoletta alla milanese here in the city of their birth. For the crispiest, juiciest, most golden butter-fried cotoletta in town, take a taxi to the city’s old meat district, where cosy Trattoria del Nuovo Macello has been battering and frying cutlets since 1928.
See more Best Restaurants in Milan