Milan is elegant, chaotic, and utterly beguiling in turn. Traffic chokes the streets, and it can be bitterly cold in winter and stiflingly hot in summer, yet its architecture is majestic and the robust Northern Italian cuisine warming. It’s a world-beater on the international fashion stage, the banking capital of Italy, a wealthy city of glamorous people and stylish shopping streets.
And Milan has history. As well as the Roman ruins, the soaring duomo and its majestic piazza, the galleries are stuffed with priceless artworks, and there are ancient churches, medieval castles, Renaissance palaces, and amazing contemporary architecture to admire.
In 2015 Milan welcomes 29 million visitors for the 6-month-long citywide extravaganza that is the World Expo. Running from May 1 through October 31, the theme of this exposition is feeding the planet. At press time, the construction of a new exhibition complex was well underway around Pero and Rho, just northwest of the centro storico. Here a new cluster of world-class architecture has grown up in the CityLife district, headed by the innovative towers built by archistars Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid.
Naturally, Expo 2015 will have an effect on tourism in the city, opening up exciting exhibitions from across the world but possibly also crowding out public transport and causing a hike in accommodation prices. Go to http://en.expo2015.org/milan for up-to-date details.