Expo, hotel and museum in Milan

By Fred Steinberg
This item appears on page 30 of the April 2016 issue.

The theme of 2015’s world’s fair and exposition, Expo Milano 2015, held May 1-Oct. 31 in northern Italy, was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” (Dec. ’14, pg. 14). My wife, Ging, and I visited in June, and it provided a taste of what people may experience at the next expos, in Kazakhstan in 2017 and in Dubai in 2020.

Ging Steinberg in front of the Malaysian pavilion at Expo ’15 in Milan. Photo by Fred Steinberg

The Milano expo had 147 nations represented and some 10 major theme areas spread over 500 acres. The major pavilions and key areas were located on or adjacent to a covered, 300-yard, pedestrian thoroughfare. We spent an hour walking its length, admiring the architecture of the larger countries’ pavilions.
We quickly learned that the bulk of the smaller nations’ displays were each limited to a room or two with photographs, food samples and gift shops, so we focused on the larger countries’ stand-alone pavilions. We were not disappointed.
We felt that the French had the best food pavilion. In addition to displays of food products and agricultural and fishing implements plus tableware and kitchen gadgets (from antique to modern), there was an agricultural education space, a cafeteria and a boulangerie/patisserie offering freshly baked pastry.
The Netherlands’ section included a small amusement park with rides, games and entertainment.
The three contiguous China pavilions were particularly popular, with creative clay sculptures and, showing the scientific and technological achievements China has made, a dramatic sound-and-light display plus videos and even holographic projections.
With some 500 food outlets, the dining opportunities — from snacking to formal dinners — seemed limitless.
A basic one-day fair ticket cost €39 (near $43), with discounts for seniors, students and children.

We left for Italy in early June and spent a few days at the exposition before heading to Sicily for 10 days.
When Ging and I travel, the hotels we choose are important. We look for convenience, comfort, a helpful front desk, quiet and at least a small exercise room. We also want a hotel with a good choice of restaurants nearby or a good in-house café or restaurant.
The hotel we chose for our stay in Milan, the UNA Hotel Cusani (Via Cusani, 13-20121, Milan, Italy; phone +39 02 85601, www.unahotels.it/en/una_hotel_cusani/hotel_milan_centre.htm), met all of our requirements, except its exercise room had limited equipment.
The hotel was recently refurbished, our room was large and modern, and, included in the room charge of €230 (near $252) per night, the breakfast buffet was excellent. The staff was friendly and helpful.
Best of all was the Cusani’s location. It was only a block from the Metro, which took us directly to the Expo entrance for €3, and it was just a 15-minute walk from the town’s center square, which contains Milan’s Duomo, a Gothic cathedral that is one of the largest churches in the world.

Milan’s Duomo. Photo: Ging Steinberg

This worked out perfectly for our last full day in Milan. After visiting the Duomo, we proceeded back to our hotel and then crossed the adjacent plaza through the dramatic Arch of Peace that fronts the large, beautifully maintained Sempione Park, which contains the Sforza Castle, the Civic Aquarium of Milan and the Triennale Design Museum (Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, 20121 Milano, Italy; phone +39 02 724341, www.triennale.org/en). The museum turned out to be a highlight of our trip.
This innovative museum is well suited for Milan, a European leader in design and fashion. Including exciting displays of paintings, photos and videos, the museum features changing exhibits from its permanent collection of industrial design examples in the areas of traditional and contemporary art, interiors (furniture, etc.) and textiles.
There is also a lovely sculpture garden as well as an outdoor café open from April though October. For anyone interested in industrial design, it’s well worth visiting.
Lastly, just around the corner from our hotel, we had an excellent dinner at Andry (Via Rovello, 10, 20121 Milano, Italy; phone +39 02 8646 2709). After steamed mussels and complimentary glasses of Prosecco, our meal included a dish of risotto with seafood and one of pasta with fresh tuna, along with wine, for €75 for the two of us — a great finish to our three days in Milan.
Riverside, CT