Volume 36, Issue 8, August 2001
As this may be the first time many of you will be traveling to Milan for Vitrum 2001, I thought I would pass on some words of wisdom—a few things I learned when I attended the event in 1999.
Be prepared to walk: If you’ve been to Germany’s glasstec show, which I haven’t, you’ll be OK. While I was flabbergasted by the enormity of Vitrum, I was told it wasn’t as large as glasstec. So, if you’ve been to Germany, you know to bring comfortable shoes to a show of this magnitude and to be prepared for a lot of walking.
A word to exhibitors: If you’re a Vitrum exhibitor, plan to arrive two days early. This will give you some time to adjust to the time difference. It will also allow you to go to the convention center to make sure all your materials have arrived—and deal with the problem if they didn’t.
A word to attendees: With a huge expanse of space to cover, plan your day well. Check out the exhibitor list for the booths you want to visit. Map out which booths are close to one another to avoid walking back and forth from hall-to-hall.
Eat, eat and eat some more: Take it from me, you haven’t tasted great Italian food until you’ve eaten in Milan. At the end of your long day, visit one of the fabulous restaurants, have a glass of wine and savor the great cuisine. Be prepared to stay awhile, as the Italians don’t rush their meals.
Two of my favorite restaurants in Milan were Osteria del Borgo and Ristorante Tantalo. Both were very close to the Radisson Hotel. We visited Osteria del Borgo on our first night and enjoyed it so much that we returned on our last night. On our first visit, we looked at the menu and didn’t have a clue as to what it said. The owner, knowing we didn’t speak Italian, and he speaking a little English, said, “You like pasta? I bring you something.” But not knowing what he would prepare added to the experience. He brought us a wonderful pasta dish, and although my husband and I both come from Italian families, their cooking can’t compare. (Sorry, Mom!) Once we were finished with the pasta, he said, “You like some fish?” “Why not?” we said. So he wheeled over a bucket of live fish, we chose one and he threw it back to the chef. Trust me, when you see the fish looking back at you before they cook it, you know it’s fresh.
Speaking the language: If you don’t speak the language, it will be helpful to know a few key phrases. Take a pocket dictionary with you to help you through those difficult moments. This will come in especially handy if you decide to take public transportation. My husband and I took cabs everywhere after we almost boarded a tram going in the wrong direction. Thank goodness a woman who knew English told us we were going the wrong way.
Take time to sight-see: It’s almost a mortal sin to travel all the way to Milan, attend Vitrum, then fly home. We only had a half day to sight-see in Milan, so we used that time to visit the Duomo—an absolute must-see. I was in sheer awe as I approached this historic site. Nothing we have in the United States could even come close to this breathtaking structure. Take the time to go to the roof and walk all around the cathedral. It is absolutely amazing.
Milan has trains leaving every day to nearby cities, so take the time to visit one of these, such as Pisa, Florence or Venice. We took two days to visit Venice and it was well-worth the trip.
Do some shopping: Right outside our hotel was a wonderful market where vendors sold everything you could think of—at great prices. I have some regrets from my trip, one of which was the fact that I came back with only a necklace for myself and one for each of my nieces. What was I thinking? Who cares if you can’t fit it in your suitcase—ship it home!
So, these are just a few words of wisdom that will hopefully make your trip an enjoyable one. Arrivederci!
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