This month, artists, chefs, and brainiacs from 140 countries converge in Milan for the 2015 World Expo—essentially the Olympics of thought. Other new arrivals? A palatial hotel, pizza bars crawling with bellissimo locals, and more shopping imperatives than there are hours in the day. Here, six reasons to get in on the action and book a trip now.

1. There are almost more boutiques around the Duomo than there are pigeons. Because you’re going to want to budget your time instead of your cash, we’ve mapped out an attack plan for the stores you just can’t miss.

2. When in Italy, pretty much any pasta is a solid option for your primo. But what about your other three Italian courses? For your antipasto, try offbeat fritti varieties such as salvia (sage) and fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers). Cassoeula makes for a strong second course. The rich, slow-cooked casserole contains celery, onion, and pork bits and generally is served with polenta. And finally, for your sweet tooth, go for Charlotte alla Milanese, a boozy apple pie. Apples simmered in white wine are poured into a bready rum-soaked crust.

3. Lake Orta may not have George Clooney in swim trunks (win, Lake Como), but it does have green mountains, glittering forested shores, and a tourist-free scene of Italians in repose.

4. From classic accommodations to rooms tricked out with high-tech comforts, there’s a centrally located hotel for every taste in Milan (and many more amazing hotels).

5. After dark, you can hit up Dry, a late-night bar and pizza joint.

6. Or, stay home and be your own mixologist with this bitter but refreshing Americano drink, named after U.S. expats in 1930s Milan (recipe below). A chromosome away from the Negroni, the drink is com- plexly bitter but refreshing, just a tad sweet, and calls for only two boozes. We say, don’t wait for your trip to Milan. Head outdoors with a pitcher this summer.

HOW TO MAKE IT: 

1 part Campari
1 part Carpano Antica - Formula vermouth (Buy the smaller 375 ml bottles, as it spoils quickly.)
Soda water An orange twist
Mix the Campari and vermouth. Add splashes of soda to your taste. Top with an orange twist.

Photo by Roby Ferrari (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons.

This appeared in the May 2015 issue