Large computer trade show, held in autumn in Milan
It has evolved from being something compact and basically human to a vast sprawling mess that takes up almost all of the Quartiere Fiera (aka Fiera di Milano). Sony now rents a whole floor, and so do Telecom Italia and IBM.
The show is usually accompanied by some semi-interesting conferences (occasionally a Negroponte affair) and a design contest (usually won by Apple).
When I was a kid, proud owner of a VIC 20, going to the SMAU was my annual pilgrimage. There I learnt things, I was amazed with things like spaceballs and cheap plastic toys.
Now the thing has turned into a nightmare: it would take one week to visit it all, during workdays the booths are mobbed by vocational school kiddies (that are bused there), and in the weekend by everybody elser.
It is very easy to stumble into entire pavillions inhabited only by PC clone makers and importers.
The amount of machines makes the air superdry and probably laden with the wrong kind of ions, so you get instant headache and clogged sinuses.
No more toys are given out. Not even BSA gives you diskettes for free nowadays.
If you ever have to go to SMAU, take just one piece of advice: pack your lunch, because the coffee/bars inside are both overpriced and bad, all of them.