A delegation from the Region of Sicily presented plans in Milan on Monday for a cluster pavilion at Milan Expo focused on harmony, health and beauty.
The Region of Sicily is acting as the coordinator for a joint exhibition called Bio-Mediterraneo in which Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Malta, San Marino, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro are also participating. Each country will have their own space to interpret Mediterranean themes, while Sicily is organizing the common area of the exhibit.
The Mediterranean diet will be celebrated throughout the cluster in keeping with the world fair’s food theme “Feeding the planet. Energy for life.” Traditional eating habits in the geographic basin have been lionized for their health benefits, and deemed an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 2010.
The eating practices observed in many parts of the Mediterranean basin are based on large quantities of grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit, with smaller portions of fish, meat and dairy products in the form of yogurt and cheese. The Bio-Mediterranean cluster will use the dietary theme as a platform to honour biodiversity in Mediterranean food sources as well. Meanwhile, wheat, olive oil and wine will serve as leitmotifs of Mediterranean agriculture. Extra virgin olive oil will feature particularly large because of the crucial role the olive has played in cross-cultural exchange across the Mediterranean through the centuries.
Of all the cluster pavilions – featuring more than one participant country under a common theme – the Bio-Mediterraneo will be the largest, and will be located in front of the landmark, centrally-located Italian pavilion.
For the six-month duration of Expo, which runs May to October, wine and oil producers; figures from art, culture and sports; scientists and fishing crews will be brought in to tell the world about the Mediterranean, its culture and products.
Presentations will kick off May 1 with the islands of Sicily, including Pantelleria, famed for its sweet Passito wine made from Zibibbo grapes. Pantelleria last year won UNESCO recognition for the Zibibbo wine grapes and the island’s traditional ‘vine sapling’ agricultural practice, in which the grapes are over-ripened before harvesting to increase their sugar content.