…if you are going for the first time.
This year's Milan Furniture Fair, Il Salone Internazionale del Mobile, takes place between Tuesday, 12 April and Sunday, 17 April, from 09:30 to 18:30. The Sunday is a public day. Full details are available here.
You will save a huge amount of time if you buy your tickets in advance, which you can do here.
If you haven't booked accommodation yet, you will find it very difficult to find anything in Milan at a sensible rate, so you may have to stay in one of the surrounding towns. During the fair, hotels tend to impose minimum stays of seven or eight days. Many companies, therefore, book rooms for this period and box and cox, sending their staff to use them in relays. You may find that a company you know has a room which is not being used every night.
And you will need accommodation! Unless you know exactly which stands you want to visit, and there are not very many of them, you will not be able to do anything useful in just one day (and, anyway, you'd miss all the parties...).
Travelling to the Fair
For full details, go to the organizer's page on how to get to the Milan fairgrounds.
Note that the station for the Fair -- RHO Fieramilano -- is outside the central fare zone, so you have to buy a more expensive ticket. Actually, I should say slightly less cheap ticket: Milan public transport is commendably good value. But you don't want to get stopped.
The fair ground
It is very big. It is arranged along a central spine. The dedicated metro station is at one end of the spine. Therefore, instead of everybody fanning out, as they are able to to do at Villepinte, for example, there is an almighty crush. So try to avoid arriving too early, when both the exhibitors and other visitors are trying to get in all at once.
There are two stories, with upstairs halls and downstairs halls. I point this out because first time visitors have been known not to find the upstairs halls at all, a situation not helped by the counter-intuitive numbering of the halls.
However, great news! There are good self-service restaurants on the mezzanine levels at the far end of the halls (i.e. the opposite end to the central spine). Since most people don't find these either, there are no queues and you can always get a table.
This is the biggest fair in the world for quality decorative lighting. It takes place every odd numbered year as part of the Milan Furniture Fair (in even numbered years , they have Eurocucina). This year, it takes place in four halls: 9, 11, 13 and 15. I will publish one of Cameron Peters Fine Lighting show guides, identifying the stands that we think you should visit, and explaining why.
Events In Milan
The formal fair can be Hard Work. The Fun is all over the city of Milan. That's where the parties are, and the spectacular displays from brands like Swarovski Crystal Palace (and this year, for the first time, Baccarat). It is also where companies that have a stand at the Fair to show their catalogue collection can let their hair down -- showing concepts in a disused warehouse, for example.
Although venues can be anywhere in Milan, there are concentrations -- for example, at the permanent showrooms around San Babila, and in what is now known as the Zona Tortona. This area has become such a zoo that the cool areas are becoming the Brera District (actually, always cool) and the Navigli -- the old canal district. We will be also publish a guide to lighting venues in Milan. Throughout the city, you will find piles of guides published by Interni, Abitare and others. None of them can be complete (they can only put in what they know about by their publication date), so pick up one of each.