With the start of 2015, the countdown to Milan’s Expo, Italy’s biggest event of the year, has officially begun.
The theme for the Expo, which takes place May 1-October 31, is “Feeding the planet. Energy for life” and focuses on nutrition, sustainability, and fighting hunger. 144 countries are expected to participate, with a record 53 single-nation pavilions.
As of November, six and a half million tickets had been sold, according to Expo organizers.
The 40-million-euro Italian pavilion will showcase Italy’s culinary delights, as well as its cutting-edge technologies in different fields. A copy of Michelangelo's iconic statue of David will be placed at the center of the pavilion, welcoming visitors as a symbol of Italian art and genius.
More than 20 million visitors are expected to visit the 1.1-million-square-meter Expo site. It is hoped the event will help revitalize Italy's recession-hit economy.
The Expo project was at the center of a scandal in May, when a big bid-rigging ring related to contracts was uncovered. Six defendants in the case have negotiated a plea bargain. After the probe, the Italian government reinforced anti-corruption measures.
Tickets can be purchased online on the Expo’s website and through its official app. They will also be available through other channels, including branches of Intesa Sanpaolo bank. Discount packages are available for families with children, people over 65 years old, groups and schools. Children under four and carers of people with disabilities are entitled to free tickets.
According to Milan Expo, the average ticket price will be 32 euros.
Andrea Bocelli's "La forza del sorriso" is the Expo's official soundtrack. Listen below: