The success of Shanghai Expo will be a strong driving force behind the next world Expo, which will be held here in 2015, the president of Milan Province, Guido Podest, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"We all look at China with admiration for the extraordinary effort made to efficiently organize its Expo," said Podest, who has just come back from Shanghai, where he attended the handover celebrations between the Chinese financial capital and the next host city of the world Expo, Milan.
"The meaning of this historical event, whose first edition was organized in London in 1851, is to make people acquaint with the cultures and history of different countries," he stressed.
During his visit to Shanghai, the president of Milan Province presented the "Expo Raid 2015", an initiative which symbolizes the Expo relay between Asia and Europe.
The 10-car raid will start from Shanghai on Nov. 18, 2011 and reach Milan after a 40-day journey of over 13,000 kilometers across nine countries.
An imaginary "Expo bridge", the official said, will link Shanghai and Milan, which are not only twin cities, but also the most developed economic areas in the respective countries.
"Of course the Milan Expo will be not comparable with the Shanghai one in terms of size and number of visitors, considered that only Shanghai has the same population (over 20 million) as the entire northern Italy," Podest noted.
He said that Milan Expo's strong point will be instead the focalization on its theme, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", which drives all mankind to contribute to meeting the challenge set by FAO to halve by 2015 the unacceptable number of a billion of people suffering from undernourishment in the world.
The Milan Expo, Podest highlighted, will be also a unique opportunity for millions of people from developing countries to visit Italy for the first time.
"Just think to the hundred millions families which will have come out of poverty in the next five years, and whose dream of visiting world-known cities as Rome and Venice may come true," he added.
"In the past days, I could personally see how much Made-in- Italy products are widely spread in the Chinese metropolis," he said, adding that he was positively surprised by the quantity of shop signs of top Italian brands in Shanghai's main commercial streets.
One of the most successful of the Shanghai Expo, the Italian pavilion attracted over 7 million visitors by offering a taste of the Mediterranean country's renowned products and artistic treasures.
"However, the most valuable product that Italians can sell is Italy itself, as walking among the 2000-year-old stones of the Roman Colosseum is a completely different thing from watching a historical documentary on the Internet," Podest said.
The so-called typical Italian lifestyle is to be experienced only on the field, he stressed, giving a warm welcome to Chinese citizens to visit Milan and the other Italian cities in 2015.