The May 1 opening celebrations for the Universal Fair in Milan were the official welcome for the millions expected to visit the city and Italy over the next six months. The Tuscan Region is taking full advantage of such unprecedented international visibility. With two temporary exhibitions—one on the Expo fairgrounds and another in central Milan—Tuscany aims to rebrand itself and communicate a more contemporary image, tied to the past yet looking to the future. The message of il buon vivere toscano showcases the region’s unique history, art, culture, economy and biodiversity.
On the Expo fairgrounds, the Tuscan Region’s exhibition, just a few steps from the Italian Pavilion, invites visitors to engage in playful exploration of il buon vivere toscano and Tuscan innovation through the centuries. In one room, for example, visitors encounter a floor-to-ceiling display of goods symbolic of Tuscany’s long history and heritage, from wine and olive oil to wooden Pinocchios, ceramics from Montecatini and objects decorated in gold leaf. Not merely for gazing, the display asks to be touched: visitors can reach into drawers full of farro grains and Casentino wool fibres.
A five-minute video installation, Tuscany in a Day, whisks visitors on a day trip through the region, encounter ing images and sounds of the pillars of the Tuscan good life: landscape, art and culture, food, science and technology. In the same area, a multimedia wall invites visitors to access videos, music and audio guides of the region: they can choose what content they want to save—in the cloud or on personal USB keys—for future trips to Tuscany.
In another room, four ‘experience tables’ engage visitors in exploring Tuscany through hearing, sight, touch and smell. This exhibit, featuring innovative research projects from Tuscany, allows visitors to experience plants’ reaction to human presence; touch the tentacles of an underwater ‘octopus’ robot prototyped by the Istituto di ProBiotica of Pisa’s Scuola di Sant’Anna; take in the aroma of Tuscan wine, olive oil, zolfino beans and traditional dishes panzanella and castagnaccio as well as plants and herbs native to the region.
The second exhibition, Toscana Fuori Expo, is held in the courtyard of Milan’s Chiostri dell’Umanitaria (via Daverio, 7; 10am to 11pm; free entry), just a few subway stops from Milan’s cathedral. For the next six months, Tuscany’s ‘off Expo’ space will be the site of special events for residents and visitors alike. Working with public and private entities like the region’s trade associations and companies, universities and research centers, the organizers of Toscana Fuori Expo will use the space to host a revolving schedule of business-to-business and business-to-consumer activities, from meetings and conferences to exhibitions, cooking shows and food and wine tastings, promoting Tuscany’s hundreds of traditional products, including 26 products bearing the protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) denominations.
Each week at Toscana Fuori Expo, organizers will shine the spotlight on an important regional resource, industry or product. This month, the unspoiled landscape of the Tuscan Maremma will be the focus from June 1 to 7; Prato’s textiles, artistic treasures and culinary specialties will be in the limelight from June 8 to 14; Volterra’s Etruscan heritage and modern role in geothermal energy take center stage from June 15 to 21; and Chianti and the ‘Gallo Nero’ brand will be presented from June 22 to 28.
For details on Tuscany’s presence in Milan and upcoming events at Toscana Fuori Expo, see expotuscany.it.