Now Open: Eataly World, the Disney World for Italian Food Lovers
Eataly has opened the doors of its long awaited FICO Eataly World, a theme park of Italian food, drink, and farming.
Imagine if Walt Disney World ® married Italian cuisine and had a baby. OK, that sounds a little farfetched, and perhaps bizarre. But if you can suspend disbelief and head to Bologna, Italy, you will discover that very union exists at the newly minted Eataly World.
On November 15, 2017, Eataly, Italy’s most famous Mecca for all-things-Italian-food-and-wine, spawns an “agri-food park”, essentially a $106 million educational center and theme park designed for Slow Food enthusiasts. FICO Eataly World, its official name whose acronym stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, boasts 25 acres of Italian agriculture and cuisine both indoors and out.
Outside there are fields growing grains (from rice to wheat), fruit orchards, biodynamic gardens, fig trees, vineyards, and stables; while inside there are 45 restaurants and snacking areas, six markets, six classrooms, theater, screening room, Congress Centre (wedding venue anyone?) and even rides.
Visitors can take guided bike tours to cover all ground and attend one of more than 30 events and 50 classes a day where guests can: discover the secrets of black salumi and meet the black pigs of Calabria, learn the ins and out of Italian cheeses, prepare pizza alongside Naples’ best pizzaiolos, take a hands-on fresh pasta workshop, truffle hunt on the property, bottle your own olive oil at the onsite grove, brew Italian beer, get schooled in sorbetto and become an expert in food photography. Did we mention there are also 200 different animals on the farms? Rabbits, hens, sheep, goats, dairy and beef cattle, horses, and donkeys—or as they are called in Italian asino—all have a home on the property.
Guests will have a hard time deciding where and what to eat with options ranging from the truffle-centric restaurant, I Tartufi, to a mortadella bar to eateries owned and operated by their corresponding food boards like La Locanda dell’Uovo whose sole focus is on the incredible, edible egg. Of course, wine flows from a broad selection of more than 100 choices at La Bottega del Vino with bottles representing all regions around the boot. To keep up your stamina, there’s Caffetteria Centrale featuring espresso beans supplied and roasted onsite by Lavazza.
It’s expected that 6 million visitors will descend on Eataly World per year, with 2 million arriving from abroad. We’d venture to guess that this summer will see crushing crowds, being just as popular a destination as Italy’s miles of coastline. Our advice: Go off season and take advantage of cheap airfares and across Italy shorter lines at the numerous ancient sites and hearty winter soups to dive into like Tuscany’s ribolita.
There’s also plenty of shopping to be done, so be sure to take home a souvenir to remind you of your trip to this magical culinary land. As they say in Disney World, “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true,” and FICO Eataly World surely is one dream that’s been realized for all Italian food lovers.