Forget Disneyland – with the opening of FICO Eataly World, in Bologna, Italy has redefined theme parks forever. The 100,000-square-metre complex is the world’s largest ‘agri-food’ park; encompassing over 40 restaurants, four acres of farmland with indigenous animal breeds and 2,000 varieties of crops, a massive farmers market filled with the best Italian produce, events and workshops, multimedia experiences, and 500 adult-sized tricycles equipped with shopping baskets.
The $106 million foodie theme park is the latest venture of Eataly, the largest Italian marketplace in the world. Since their first opening in Turin in 2007, they now have marketplaces around the world including locations in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Seoul.
Eataly World will go far beyond just a food hall selling Italian delicacies. Taking visitors on a journey from field to fork, the theme park will examine the biodiversity of Italian cuisine and focus on all aspects of its production.
“At Eataly, each forkful of pasta has a story: farmers cultivated grains, millers ground flour, pastai (pasta makers) shaped dough, distributors delivered it to Eataly, and our chefs cooked the pasta to perfection and paired it with seasonal sauce before we drop it at your table.” – Eataly World
Four acres of pastures, orchards and stables will showcase the best of Italian produce such as olives, grapes, cereals and summer fruits as well as giving visitors the chance to see traditional breed animals (like the Chianina cow, source of the famous bistecca alla fiorentina) up close.
With such top quality ingredients on hand, Eataly World will also run workshops demonstrating how Italy’s most iconic artisanal foods are made. See fresh milk turned into cheese, durum wheat flour made into ricotta-filled ravioli, or even sign up for a cooking class yourself.
The complex’s 40-plus eateries include branches of three Michelin-starred restaurants and stalls serving up the best of Italian street food. Expect porchetta, arrosticini, the finest prosciutto and fried snacks from every region, alongside classic pizza and pasta dishes.
Unlike a typical theme park, the ‘rides’ at Eataly World take the form of interactive, multimedia experiences that ‘re-create a bridge…with what we eat and our agricultural world’. Themes include ‘man and fire’, and ‘man and the future’ which takes a look at what farming might look like in a few years time.
Eataly’s marketplaces are known for having an impressive selection of products and this one will be no different. With over 9,000 square-metres dedicated to the finest Italian wines, sauces, pastas, meats, cheeses and more, shoppers will be able to find all the ingredients to create an Italian feast in their own kitchens. Well-known brands like Venchi, Lavazza and Pastificio di Martino will feature on the shelves.
Officials hope the immersive experience will attract six million tourists a year, with two million of those coming from overseas. What’s more, there are already plans for an accompanying 200-room hotel within the park for 2018.
Eataly World opens on 15 November 2017.
Eataly World, Via Paolo Canali, 8, 40127 Bologna, Italy +39 051 002 9001
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