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An unsung Milanese tradition – ATM’s Caccia al tesoro 2007

LogoYesterday, while I was off to lunch with a friend, I noticed lots of people on the underground here in Milan adorned in orange tee-shirts and wearing numbers . No, these people were not coming back from some marathon or other, they were, in fact, taking part in one of Milan’s lesser known and more recent traditions. The highly original 6th Annual Treasure Hunt, which is sponsored and organized by the Milanese public transport company. The first prize? A round the world trip for 3 people – worth a total of 24,000 Euros. There were a total of 20 prizes up for grabs, including Playstation 3s, mountain bikes, subscriptions to health clubs and many other bits and bobs – all awarded in groups of three.

The event seems to be quite popular and there were 310 groups of youngsters running around trying to find the treasure. There was even a bit of technology in evidence too. I saw someone with a GPS unit and a pocket pc, which the rules, for part of the hunt, do permit. Participants could haul around encyclopaedias and even phone home for help with the clues.  The teams were made up of three people; hence the awarding of prizes in threes; who used clues to find their way to the treasure. The only forms of transport allowed were your own two feet and anything provided by the ATM public transport firm.

The first part of the hunt involved travelling around Milan, whereas the second part, in which only the top 10 teams could participate, consisted of 3 tests. I’m not sure what these tests were, but I do know that technological or other help was not permitted.

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I reckon this is a great way to promote the use of public transport amongst the young and whoever came up with the idea, whether they copied it or not, should be soundly packed on the back. I don’t know if other cities around Italy hold a similar event, nor even if similar events are held in other countries, and if they are not, they should be.

Here is a picture, that I have ‘borrowed’ from the ATM site:

The event raised money for a charity that helps young people, so not only was it all good clean fun, but it also all done in a good cause. Good stuff.

One of these years I might actually take part.

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