Milan Expo 2015: What you need to know

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On October 31, 2015, the Milan Expo 2015 concluded. The Expo saw 21 million visitors, exceeding the original goal of 20,000,000. The Expo site is still being reconstructed. Dismantling began November 2, and will continue until May 2016. This page will also continue to contain archived Expo information. This page will be updated if I have any new information about the Expo site, including the artwork that was placed.


Seven years after Milan was selected to host 2015 Expo, the final product is set to be revealed: Milan Expo 2015. It opens on May 1.

Here are some quick links to the most important information in this article.

Milan Expo Theme & Story

Milan Expo Grounds

Special Events at the Expo in Milan

Milan Expo Ticket Information

Wait a second. Wait a second.

A World’s Fair is something you’ve likely heard of before. Perhaps you remember the Judy Garland movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis”, which was about the 1904 World’s Fair. You may recall the trivial fact that the Eiffel Tower in Paris was originally built in 1889 for the World’s Fair. It was torn down afterwards. The 1967 edition saw the name change to include “Exposition,” and it was shortened to “Expo” which is still what these events are called.

Expo events are designed to allow participating countries to showcase their latest developments, regardless of Expo theme. Expo events are usually held over several months and consist of a variety of exhibit spaces for each country.

Now, let’s get back to the story.

Milan Expo 2015

Overview of the Expo 2015 grounds

Expo Milano 2015 runs May 1-October 31. Its theme is “Feeding the Planet Energy for Life.” There are seven sub-themes that fall under this umbrella.

  • Science for Food Safety, Security and Quality
  • Innovation in the Agrofood Supply Chain
  • Technology for Agriculture and Biodiversity
  • Dietary Education
  • Solidarity and Cooperation on Food
  • Food for a Better Life
  • Food in the World’s Cultures & Ethnic Groups

It is the first World’s Fair to feature “food” as a topic. More than 140 countries will be represented at the event. The organizers describe this as “a vital need: being capable of guaranteeing healthy, safe, sufficient and sustainable food for all while respecting the Planet’s equilibrium and balance.” “The idea,” organizers say, is to create dialogue among international players and exchange views on the major issues that impact all.

However, it doesn’t lack a playful element. I love Foody the mascot.

The Expo’s theme is food so the exhibition halls can be described as a huge restaurant or food court. Many countries will bring the best of their culinary culture, as well as scientific and environmental advancements in food cultivation. The United States pavilion will feature and a fleet food trucks, in addition to its higher-brow offerings. The photography exhibit by Ferdinando Scianna, a Sicilian photographer, will be displayed. It tells the story of Mediterranean culinary tradition. A “Children Park”, featuring games for children ages 4-10, will be on display. It follows the theme of “feeding the earth”. The Italian pavilion will showcase Grana Padano cheese, including a dairy that was built specifically for the event. Eurochocolate, one of Europe’s most important chocolate festivals, will also be on-site.

As an aside, each foodtuff has its section which they call “Clusters”, making the cocoa pavilion a Cocoa Cluster. It’s like a new sugary breakfast cereal. That is what I find delightful.

You may find it interesting to know that the special Expo WorldRecipes app is an “online cookbook”, compiled from participating countries.

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Expo 2015 Exhibition Site

The Expo 2015 grounds share the Rho-Fiera transit stops

Milan already had a space outside of the city centre for trade fairs. But, a new exhibition space was constructed for Expo 2015 near the Rho. Although it isn’t in the historic centre, it’s easily accessible via public transport.

Lake Arena

Expo grounds have pavilions representing many countries. Each pavilion has a unique design and there is a central structure that contains two main “streets” which intersect. They are the Decumano (references to ancient Roman roads) and Cardo (references to ancient Roman roads). Piazza Italia is the point at which these “roads” intersect. The northern end of the grounds has a circular lake called Lake Arena with a large “Tree of Life”, sculpture and fountain. (The tree will be lit every hour for five mins, with lights, music and water features. The southern end has an open-air theater that can hold performances for up 11,000 people. It is situated behind the seating area on a large, gently sloping lawn.

Milan hosted the last World’s Fair in 1906. The theme was Transportation. Only one of the purpose-built structures that were built for that event is still standing today: Parco Sempione’s Civic Aquarium. This park was the temporary home to more than 200 pavilions in that year. Some of the Expo 2015 exhibition structures will likely be integrated into existing trade fair grounds. Others (for instance, the open-air theatre) could be used for performances or events after Expo 2015.

Special Expo 2015 Events

Cirque du Soleil Allavita!

Cirque du Soleil Allavita!

There are many things to do in Milan, no matter what time you visit. But if you are visiting during the Expo you will find even more. Although this is not a complete list and there are likely more (it’s only six months), these are just a few special events that take place in Milan during Expo.

  • Cirque du Soleil’s Allavita! Show – The internationally-known circus company has created a show just for the Expo. The show runs in the Expo’s outdoor theater from May 13 to August 30. These shows require both a ticket for the performance and an additional ticket to the Expo on the day. The prices for the Cirque du Soleil show are EUR25-35.
  • La Scala Theater – Although La Scala is closed during the summer, it has packed its summer schedule with performances so that Expo-goers can take in a performance at the famed opera house.
  • Leonardo1452-1519 A special exhibition of da Vinci’s work will be held at Palazzo Reale next to the Duomo from April 16 through July 19. It will be a focus on his work while he lived in Milan in the late 1500s.
  • Leonardo da Vinci Codex Atlanticus Exhibition – The Codex Atlanticus is a collection of twelve volumes of da Vinci’s sketches, notes and sketches. It is usually on display at two locations in Milan – Bramante Sacristy and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Large parts of the Codex Atlanticus will be on display until October 31.
  • Leonardo3 museum – A temporary interactive museum was set up in Piazza della Scala. It displays working models of some of da Vinci’s machines as well as 3D renderings some of his artwork. The museum will remain open until October 31.
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard – In payment for his painting of “The Last Supper”, da Vinci received a property in Milan on which he grew grapes. Since the 1950s, the vineyard was a garden behind Casa degli Atellani. However, researchers recently discovered that the vines were still alive . The vineyard was restored to its original appearance in the era of Leonardo da Vinci. It will be open to the public for first time on May 1.
  • Exhibit The Triennale Design Museum will host a special exhibit based on “The Body Snatchers” that will explore the evolution of kitchen appliances into electrical “robots.” It runs from April 9th, 2015 to February 21st, 2016.
  • Exhibit – Another exhibit at Triennale is Arts & Foods. This exhibit, which was formerly known as the Expo’s “Arts & Foods pavilion”, traces the relationship between art and food. It is located both indoors (and outdoors) at the Triennale Design Museum, instead of on the Expo grounds. As the first World Expo, 1851 is important. It is open from April 9 to November 1, 2015.
  • “Food from the Spoon to The Mouth” Exhibit Special Expo-related events don’t just take place in Milan. MAXXI, Rome’s museum for 21st-century art, will host an exhibition entitled “Food” during the Expo. This exhibit focuses on art and architecture that relates to how food is stored, distributed, consumed, and disposed of.
  • This 12-acre wheat field in the Porta Nuova area in the north of the city was planted in March. It will be harvested in October. This piece was created by Agnes Denes (American artist) and is part MiArt, an annual contemporary and modern art fair in Milan.

The organizers expect 20 million people to visit Milan Expo. A third of these visitors are non-Italians. Many of them will also be likely to spend some time in other parts. This means that Expo 2015 will be more popular than normal, which could impact your ability to visit major attractions. Lines for museums and hotels may get longer.

Guided Tours of Milan

Are you looking for suggestions on where to eat and what to drink in Milan while you are there? Katie Parla, my friend has great suggestions . The Sauce Milan website is exclusively dedicated to eating and drinking in Milan.

Expo Milano 2015 Tickets

Expo Gate at Cairoli

The Expo offers a variety of ticket options. Prices go up if they are purchased after May 1, when the Expo opens. Open-date tickets are available. This means you can go anytime you like. If you are certain you will be in Milan during Expo, and want to see it all, it is a good idea to purchase your ticket prior to the event starts and then use it when you arrive. Don’t worry if you don’t have any plans. The price difference isn’t likely to cause you to change your mind.

Keep in mind that you must select a date for your open-date ticket. Although the grounds are vast, there is a limit to how many people can use them. You will register online for your Expo ticket. To choose a date later, log into your Expo profile to add a date to the already-purchased ticket. Although this is not a requirement, if your ticket is already sold out you might be turned away.

Here are some prices for Expo 2015.

  • Season Pass: EUR115 adult, EUR89 senior/student and EUR57 child
  • 1-Day Ticket: EUR39/EUR34 Adult, EUR28/EUR24 Senior, EUR33/EUR29 Student, EUR16 Child
  • 2-Day Access – EUR72 Adult (14+ Years), EUR51 Senior, EUR30 Child
  • 3-Day Access – EUR105 Adult (14+ Years), EUR76 Senior, EUR45 Child
  • 1-Day Family Pack – EUR49.50/EUR43 One adult + 1 child, EUR84.50/EUR73 Two adults + 1 child, EUR64/EUR56 One adult + 2 children, EUR64/EUR56 One adult + 2 children, EUR64/EUR56 One adult + 2 children, EUR64/EUR56 One Adult + 2 children, EUR99/EUR86 Two adults + 2 children (EUR10 for each additional child),
  • Evening Ticket– EUR5 additional price for any day ticket

It is more difficult than I can list here to show the breakdown of ticket prices. There are many more options than I have listed. A two-day pass for two days is less expensive than a two-day pass. However, there are some things you need to know when looking at my list.

  • If two prices are given, for example EUR39/EUR34 adult (for an open-date ticket), the first price will be for a ticket with no fixed date, and the second for a ticket with definite dates.
  • The ages of students are between 14 and 25.
  • Children are between the ages 4-13.

For a complete – and therefore very long – listing of all ticket prices, please see the official price list.

Tickets can be purchased on the official website and in Milan at Expo Gate, Piazza Cairoli.

Milan Expo 2015. All images

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32 Responses to “Milan Expo 2015. What You Should Know”

  • Cindy Hoover:

    My friend and I will be flying to Malpensa on the 28th of April. Is it possible to buy Expo tickets there? Should we purchase it online?

    Thank you for your attention,

    Cindy Hoover

    • Jess has the following:

      Cindy, thank you for your note! The official Milan ticket sales point list is linked at the end of the post. Online ticket purchases are instant and you can print the ticket out.

  • Patti says:

    Your blog is filled with great information. I will be arriving in May and traveling to Lake Como for three night.

    I will be flying back May 7th, but I plan to be in Milan for Expo May 6 (after spending two days in Venice). Since May 6 was sold out, I bought two open-day tickets. I plan to arrive at the grounds around 10:20 am, which is about an hour before the gates open. Is this a good plan to avoid being turned away at the gate? Also, I will be staying until closing. The evening events are worth the effort.

    As I plan to make purchases (spices, items specific to each country, etc.), I assume that every country will have products available for purchase. )…… I plan to bring a backpack to store my purchases while I walk through the Expo. Can’t wait! One question I’m debating about is whether to cut one of the three nights in Lake Como Expo. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Lake Como will always remain there. There are not many blogs that offer suggestions for how to dress for Expo and how to maximize the day. It’s almost like Disney style recommendations of what to see at which times of day. I also haven’t seen a list with products that will be available.

    • Jess has the following:

      Patti, thank you for your kind words!

      It’s true that tickets for Expo are not guaranteed. Even if you purchase an open-date ticket the website recommends that you register it for a specific date as soon as possible. If you know that it is sold out, there may not be a way to get in. Although we may learn more about the “sold-out” days on May 1, I don’t think I can guarantee you will be able to attend on May 6. Based on what I have read, I doubt it. You might consider rearranging your plans to make it possible for another day that isn’t sold out. I wish you all the best. Let me know if it is possible to get in!

      If you are unsure of what to wear, I would suggest “comfortable” as there will be a lot walking. We’ll be seeing more of “how to make it the best of it” as the event gets underway. They’re still finishing up several pavilions.

  • Ken Richter says:


    Your blog is great! In a few weeks, I will be arriving in Milan Friday afternoon. I just realized that Milan Expo is now closed.

    It will take place. We arrive at Central Train Station. We fly out at 3:00 AM and arrive at the Central Train Station.

    Staying near the international airport. Are you sure it’s possible to attend the Expo on Friday? It will be worth it?

    Try to see a little bit of it.

    Thanks, Ken Richter

    • Jess has the following:

      Ken, thanks for your note! Check the Friday ticket availability if you are interested in attending the Expo. The tickets may already be sold out on Friday, making it moot. You can decide whether to buy a ticket or not and then head out to see the show. You won’t have time to explore Milan’s grounds with an afternoon arrival, but it is a rare opportunity that may prove to be worthwhile.

    • Patti says:

      Consider how long it will take to check in at your hotel and then get to Expo. If you’re staying close to the airport, you might want to consider staying inside Milan. You might not make it to the airport until after lunch because you are arriving in the afternoon. It might not be the best idea depending on how much energy and stamina you have. I arrived from Venice at 5:30 AM, took the 2.5 hour train trip to Milan Central Station. Once there, I hopped on the underground Metro and walked several blocks to my hotel. After checking in, we walked a block to return on the Red line (the same underground metro), making many stops, and finally reaching the Expo. Even though we had a late start, we arrived at the Expo around 12:15. You will need to walk some distance once you reach the front gate. We were there until the end, but could not see all of the countries. It was an amazing experience. I am glad that I went. You can do it if you’re in good shape and can walk for long distances without stopping. It was enjoyable to learn about other cultures. However, my husband, who suffered from swelling at the end of each day, would disagree. If you’re staying in Milan, and the hotel is near the Red Line, I recommend it.

      The trip lasted 7 days. Three days in Como, which was the closest airport to it. I highly recommend going there. Then from Como to Venice, Venice 2 days. Milan one day. My flight left at 4 pm the next day, but we spent the afternoon walking around the area near the hotel. You should arrive at least two hours before your departure. Another tip: If you are making large purchases, make sure to ask the merchant whether they participate in a tax-free program. I paid 250 euros and got around 31 euro back at the airport. Participating merchants fill out forms (you will need your passport when you make the purchase). Keep the forms and bring them to the airport for a refund. A few days later, I received my refund from my credit card. I would have bought a Gucci or two if I had known about the tax-free option. Enjoy your trip.

  • tuekrulas:


    I am going to Expo 2015 in August 2015. I was wondering how long it would take to see everything.

    I plan to buy a one-day ticket and see what happens, but I am afraid that i won’t be able visit all the places in one day.

    Please give your opinion.

    Many thanks

    • Jess has the following:

      Thank you for your note! You are correct that one day is not enough to see everything – however, it is possible you will be interested in different things. There are no guidelines for how long you should spend on Expo. This is probably because everyone has different interests and so it’s impossible to know what your priorities will be. However, I do think Expo is a great place to start.

  • Kristyna says:


    Would you be able to tell me if there are any events or programmes that offer free entry?

    We are grateful

    • Jess has the following:

      You need to purchase a ticket to enter the Expo. So even though the Expo is free, you will still have to pay an admission fee. However, some special events that take place in Milan (rather than at Expo) are free. To find out what each admission cost is, please visit the links in the section “Special Expo 2015 Events”.

  • Dennis Cumiskey:


    Let me begin by saying that Madeline Jhawar recommended your article, which I had previously written to her with many train questions. (She was very helpful)

    Your blog is wonderful and I look forward to returning as we get closer to Milan and Expo.

    Thank you for your hard work!


    • Jess has the following:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! (And thanks to Madeline, for the kind note! She is a treasure trove of information about Italy. If you have any questions, train or not, please let me know. Enjoy the Expo!

      • AB says:

        Dear Jessica

        To enter the Food Expo, I must pay a fee. What about food?

        Many thanks

        • Jess has the following:

          It’s a great question. I believe that the Expo ticket includes entry to the grounds and all pavilions within. There are also food samples available in many pavilions. However, you will need extra money for meals at any of the restaurants/food trucks/kiosks located throughout the grounds.

  • Joe says:

    Dear Jessica:

    We plan to travel to Italy in November. Expo has now closed. Can we still visit the grounds and buildings?

    Thank you so much for your advance

    • Jess has the following:

      Joe, that’s a great question. It appears that at most some of the Expo structures were meant to be permanent, according to what I can see. This includes the beautiful Palazzo Italia, the pavilion for Italy at Expo. Most, if not all of the national pavilions will be taken down. The site will then be used later for housing or a university. It sounds like this is still being worked out. Because you are referring to November, which is the month after Expo closes I think everything will still be there. It’s not clear if they are allowing people to enter. There may be some cleanup and deconstruction. I will try to find out more, but I recommend you also stop by a tourist information center in central Milan – they have the most current information.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks so much for getting back so quickly, Jessica!



        • Jess has the following:

          Milan friend just confirmed that no announcement has been made about what will happen to the site after Expo ends. It may not be announced until October. My earlier advice is still valid: check with the TI in Milan to get the best information once you arrive.

  • James:

    Hi dear Milan Expo,

    In the beginning of November, I will be in Milan.

    Knowing that Expo will be over, I would like to find out if I could still visit it during this period.


  • Brandy says:


    Boy, this website is amazing! I wish I found it sooner. We’re flying out tomorrow night, and we’ll be in Milan on Monday. Perhaps you will be online tomorrow by some miracle and answer my question. Our plan is to go to EXPO from the airport. This would require us to carry a bag and either to hotel or EXPO. Do pavilions close at 5:45 p.m.? It would be worthwhile to go later, but I don’t find this information anywhere. Thanks!

    Brandy in New York

    • Jess has the following:

      Hi, Brandy! The Expo website states that the Exposition site will close at 23:00 Monday through Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday respectively. You can find more information, including times for entry at different gates, .

  • Elaine Biss explains:

    Yesterday was the first time I attempted to attend the expo. Avoid weekends, as everyone in the region would rather go to the fair on weekends. It is impossible to avoid the long lines for entry. It was overwhelming with the heat, sun and sheer number of people. I decided to walk away and visit Milan instead. I’m back today. Wish me luck. You don’t need to buy tickets in advance, as I did. You can buy them the day you get them. There are many kiosks and stires that sell them on-site.

  • Francis Farrugia:

    Next Wednesday, I will be attending EXPO. I would like to be among the first through the Roserio and Merlata gates which open at 0900. How can I travel by metro to the gates in one hour? These gates are open to me. Your site is very interesting to me.

    • Jess has the following:

      Hi, Francis! Francis, sorry for the delay in responding to your message. I assume you were at the Expo today so I hope that you were able get in.

  • ang zi keng says:

    Hi. Is the 5 euro night ticket a way to get one free entry to the Arts & Foods Exhibition – Rituals starting in 1851 at the Milan Triennale Space?

    • Jess has the following:

      Thank you for your comment. The evening ticket for EUR5 is not the regular ticket price. It’s the EUR5 plus an additional EUR5. Yes, Expo tickets include admission to the Rituals exhibit.

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