Would you like to visit Milan? There is a guide waiting for you

On Tuesday 9th June, Italian Pavilion hosted Claudio Varalli Institute (specialised in Tourism and Foreign Languages), which has pioneered a project called “Il viaggio e il cibo” (“The journey and the food”), in association with the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the City Council of Milan (Zona 5), the Province of Milan and Expo 2015.

The project is specifically aimed at those schools that will visit Milan in the near future. Students from “Varalli Institute” make their competences available, through a practical apprenticeship as tour guides. The service which they offer is free.

From September, these young and expert guides will accompany Italian and foreign classes across 6 different cultural and natural itineraries; the initiative allows students to become protagonists and promoters of their own territory, involving foreign peers in the discovery of the beauties and peculiarities of the Lombardy capital city.

Donatella Radrizzani (Professor of Art History) presented the initiative: «This project involves more than 100 students and provides for the use of 4 foreign languages: English, French, Spanish and German. We have identified our prime target in Italian and International schools, at every educational level. Varalli students have been approached to Expo 2015 contents, that have given them the opportunity to understand the exceptional circumstance and the possibilities of cultural and ideological exchanges that it implies. “Il viaggio e il cibo” reveals the intention to focus on new generations: it is only by interacting outside the scholastic context that students can appreciate the heritage wonders which we have in Milan».

Varalli students demonstrated their skills to visitors, illustrating the 6 itineraries in Italian, French, Spanish and German.

All the free itineraries are available and bookable on the following website: www.ilviaggioeilcibo.it.

Teresa Caputo (Professor of Tourism Geography) explained us how their work was organized: «This activity involved all the classes of the tourist and linguistic triennium, 102 students in total. Every one participated with passion. The continuing education course took up a great deal of time, including external practice exercises and foreign languages reinforcing activities».

Rita Roberto (Professor of Travel Practices) confessed: «At the beginning, hardly anyone believed in the project; luckily, after being appreciated by Milan City Hall and various institutions, everybody has changed his mind».

Donatella Radrizzani disclosed that, originally, there were serious economic problems: «It was very difficult to find resources for funding “Il viaggio e il cibo” project. We want to express our sincere thanks to “Eathink 2015”, our main sponsor. We are looking forward to begin our activity welcoming our first visiting schools in September».

Many Italian schools have responded with huge enthusiasm to the initiative and several reservations begin to arrive from foreign countries, too. For example, a German High School is planning to visit Milan in September and the teachers have already booked the “special tourist guides” of Varalli institute.

Originally written by Arianna Rimoldi