What is it? - Commissariato Italiano Esposizione Universale di Shanghai 2010

International Fairs, established in Europe in the middle of the 19th century, are public exhibitions where handcraft, industrial and artistic products are put on display. Their origin is to be found in the larger medieval fairs where a variety of products were presented, exchanged and sold.

Crystal PalaceLondon 1851
Presided over by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, the first International Fair was held at Crystal Palace. It was so internationally successful that soon after similar fairs were held in Dublin (1853), New York (1853) and Paris (1889) along the Champs-Elyseés, where the Eiffel Tower was erected as the symbol of the fair.

The second half of the XIXth century
In Europe: the modern fairs began to change. Exhibitions were organised in order to launch specific industrial products and other important sectors of a country. The most important fairs were those of Berlin (1877, leather goods), London (1924, British products) and Paris (1947, internal decoration).

In the United States: fairs commemorating historical events, which were crucial to the country’s history, become very popular together with the big universal fairs conceived to launch a vast assortment of products, processes and avant-garde technology.

Italy: holds its first Art and Industrial Exhibition in Turin (1870) followed by a second in Milan in 1881. An International Exhibition was planned for Rome in 1942 and although it did not take place, it left an indelible mark on the city, which had prepared for the event by planning the layout of the area of EUR.