An Italian adventure

Brenda outside the Duomo.

Brenda outside the Duomo.

GTO‘s Feature Writer, Brenda Watkinson, was recently invited to visit the Lombardy region of Italy, primarily to learn about the forthcoming world ‘Expo’ to be held in Milan from 1st May to 31st October this year. Arriving at Milan’s Linate airport, it was just a short bus transfer into the city centre. Brenda stayed at Starhotel’s Anderson Hotel, conveniently located just opposite Milan’s Central Station. The hotel was extremely comfortable and made an ideal base to explore the city.

Attending a presentation for UK journalists, Brenda was able to discover all the latest Expo 15 developments. Over 140 countries are participating in Expo 15, with 53 of these nations currently in the process of building their pavilions with the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. The extensive site, located north west of the city, will be easily accessible from the city centre via public transport. Individual tickets are already available to purchase online and for groups of 15 or more, a dedicated call centre will be available from the end of February. For the first time, many events will also be organised outside the Expo site in both the city of Milan and its surroundings. Events will range from art exhibitions to shows and performances. The world famous Scala Theatre will open every day during this period with a special programme dedicated to Expo 2015. Following the presentation, Brenda joined a guided tour of Milan focusing on the fashion and food aspect of the city. It was fascinating to see the many designer shops within the notable Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is next to the Duomo (Cathedral). Following her short stay in Milan, Brenda travelled 100 kilometres east of the city to the town of Brescia to visit the UNESCO-listed Santa Giulia City Museum. Built in 753 and originally a Benedictine nunnery, the museum incorporates the church of San Salvatore, one of the most important remains of early medieval religious architecture. This fascinating museum was one of the highlights of Brenda’s trip. Travelling onto Lake Garda, where the group stayed overnight at the Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi, there was time to enjoy a guided tour of the little town of Sirmione.

The Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi on Lake Garda

The Hotel Sirmione e Promessi Sposi on Lake Garda

Next day, the group continued their trip by travelling to Lake Como where they enjoyed a two-hour cruise of the lake before ascending the Como-Brunate funicular to explore this fascinating small town, 700 metres above sea level. The overnight stay was at the Hotel Cruise on the outskirts of the town of Como. Brenda enjoyed every aspect of the Lombardy region of Italy and plans to return before too long. She highly recommends it for your group.