The Universal Exposition, which begins May 1, isn't the only reason to visit the Italian fashion capital. Milan is chock full of cultural events and advantages that make it worthwhile to stay a bit longer. Here are five good reasons to book a ticket.
1 Milan, fashion and design capital
The Lombard city, like Paris, New York and London, is a fashion capital where Italian designers have set up shop, and a visit to Milan would not be complete without a detour to the via Montenapoleone area where fashionistas will rejoice to find Gucci, Prada and other stores all side by side. If you don't feel like trading the kids' college fund for a few items from these luxury houses, you can always embark on an adventure in Milanese chic inside the La Rinascente department store on the Piazza Duomo. Complete your window shopping along the Corso Buenos Aires and Genova, while great finds can also be made at the DMagazine Outlet store.
2 A historic exhibit dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci
To celebrate the Universal Exposition, the Palazzo Reale de Milan has unveiled a retrospective of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, running through July 19 -- an event not to be missed by art aficionados. Never before have the Italian master's works been presented in such a way. Paintings, drawings, sculptures and manuscripts will be assembled and shipped from their respective habitual homes, such as the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The Palazzo Reale explains that the exhibit will attempt to highlight da Vinci's capacity to bring together creative and artistic domains with those of technology and science.
3 The new Milanese museum dedicated to world cultures
Only recently inaugurated on March 27, the Museo delle culture (Mudec) should attract the more curious attending the Universal Exposition. The futuristic building, designed by British architect David Chipperfield and measuring 17,000 square meters, is dedicated to world cultures and scientific research and houses a collection of 7,000 items dating from 2,000BC to the middle of last century. It includes everyday items, textiles from the world over, rare musical instruments... It's found in the Tortona neighborhood.
4 Give in to the wonder that is the 'aperitivo'
Foodies, who surely look forward to discovering the gourmet restaurants of the capital of Lombardy, will certainly not pass up on the aperitivo, a Milanese epicurean tradition. Around the time of 'happy hour,' between 6pm and 9pm, drinks in bars are accompanied by varied, delicious and often complimentary appetizers. Crostini, charcuterie and cheeses are served to your heart's, or stomach's, content.
5 The legendary La Scala Theater
A true Milanese experience must include a visit to La Scala. The historical theater of the Northern Italian city presents incredible shows, from opera to ballet. It's advised to visit the theater's official website at least two months in advance to reserve tickets, and in order to enjoy a decent view, plan on shelling out at a minimum of 60 euros per person. However, travelers on a budget can rest assured that 10 euro tickets can still be found, though may offer less prime views. Tickets can also be purchased from the box office two hours before curtain.