The theme of EXPO 2015 in Milan will be “Feeding the planet, energy for life”, for a more supportive and less contradictory alimentation
The Universal Exposition will be held in Milan, from May 1 to October 31. On an area large almost 1,1 million square meters, people from all over the world will be able to visit hundreds of pavilions and thematic routes dedicated to the topic of nutrition. Italy, with a wide and deep-rooted culture of food, has chosen to deal with the difficult issues and contradictions that today afflict the world in the field of nutrition, from the desire to integrate production processes less harmful for the environment, to the disastrous situation of Third World countries.
The Origins of EXPO
Not many know that the first recognized Universal Exposition dates back to 1851, in London. The event was planned with the idea of showing to all visitors the technological and cultural progress that mankind had reached at that time. The Crystal Palace was built for this occasion and it served to present the most powerful steam engine ever created until then and a canteen that could provide meals for more than 1,000 people at a time, a record number for the time. The great success of this event led to the planning of many other Expositions, the most famous of which is the one of Paris in 1889: held one hundred years after the French Revolution. It was in this occasion that the Eiffel Tower was built, now symbol of the French capital. In 1928 the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) was founded, an intergovernmental international organization designed to organize and define the objectives of the Expositions. From that moment on, countries had go through an application process in order to host an EXPO and they had to prove to be more valid than other competing countries. Moreover, the difference between the International Expositions, smaller and focused on specific issues, and Universal ones, which take place every five years and have a different organization, was ratified. The last Universal Exposition was held in Shanghai in 2010 with the theme “Better City, Better Life” and it has seen 73 million visitors in six months, an unprecedented success. Milan, already the site of an International Exposition in 1906, has managed to prevail over the Turkish city of Izmir for the choice of location for EXPO 2015 and it’s now preparing to welcome at least 20 million visitors from all over the world.
EXPO Milan 2015: Topics and Organisation
With the opportunity to host an event of this magnitude, Italy has the chance to improve its image on the international context and to start an economic recovery capable of stopping the serious crisis that brought the country to its knees. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the slogan of EXPO Milan 2015, a theme well suited for this country, but that also brings great responsibilities. The objective of this EXPO is to leave an immaterial legacy – in contrast, for example, with the Paris Exposition of 1889 – that should raise awareness and teach something to the visitors, to make them go home with clearer ideas. Among the covered topics there will be the fight against food inequality, the delicate question that opposes malnutrition, in the poorest countries, to the diseases caused by the excessive and improper eating habits, in industrialized countries. Moreover, there will be a discussion about the methods that can be applied to make food production more environmentally friendly, supportive and genuine, especially making use of scientific knowledge and of the latest technology. Much of the Exhibition will be devoted to the relationship between man and food in history and in different cultures, with routes designed to let visitors know the tastes and traditions of the peoples of our planet.
Just as it happened with the “gianduiotti” in Turin during the 2006 Winter Olympics, in front of Castello Sforzesco there will be a building, the EXPO Gate, with the function of ticket sales, event promotion and visitor reception. The event will be held in the north-west area of Milan, between the capital city of Lombardy and the towns of Rho and Pero, on an area of over one million square meters, accessible by train, by subway (Line 1) and by car. It will be organized along two main streets, the Cardo and the Decumano, that will make it simple and intuitive to move around. The perimeter will be organized into districts, in which there will be clusters, zones focused, for example, on a specific type of food, and thematic areas, five interactive and multimedial exhibition routes. On the Cardo is located Palazzo Italia, the structure that will represent the Italian government, built in a spectacular and totally ecological design. There is also an open topped theater designated for presentations and performances. Tickets can be purchased now, with a discount of 20% for booking, on the official site of the event: prices range from €25 to €35 per person and will rise when the event will start.
An EXPO Not Trouble-Free
On February 7, Milan held a day dedicated to the “ideas of Expo” and to the writing of the Charter of Milan, a sort of Kyoto Protocol of food. An event that was attended by the most important Italian personalities. Prime Minister Renzi expressed his hope for the success of the event and for the boost of Italy in an international and economic context, thanks to this opportunity. With harsh words, the prime minister assured that the already planned demonstrations against the initiative will not prevent the regular course of activities. Several times, in fact, the consistency of the ideals pursued by this Universal Exposition has been called into question, starting from the scandals on tenders, up to the choice of the sponsors and to the fears about the future of the exhibition site, after the end of the event. The voice of protest can be heard and the risk of falling into violence is high, but, regardless of the nobility of the arguments brought forward this way, such incidents would only damage the image of Italy in front of other countries, countries that would not understand, because unknown about the problems that afflict this nation. Strong words from Pope Francis, too, who condemn the behavior of politics, of journalism and of large companies through a speech addressed not only to his followers.