Photo courtesy of FICO Eataly World.
Brace yourselves, folks. You’re about to be introduced to what may be the greatest food concept ever thought up.
Eataly, the authentic Italian grocery store chain with franchise owners like Food Network’s Mario Batali and former Masterchef judge Joe Bastianich, recently announced plans for a MASSIVE theme park solely dedicated to the celebration of Italian food. This park, FICO Eataly World, is scheduled to open this coming September in Bologna, Italy.
This is no ordinary theme park, as its mission and capabilities will easily rival those of Disneyworld’s Epcot (a foodie lover’s paradise in and of itself). According to Harpers Bazaar, the $106 million park will be run by the founders of Eataly (Oscar and Nicola Farinetti) and will be aimed at entertaining, feeding, and teaching parkgoers about home-grown Italian delights. FICO Eataly itself states it perfectly in its mission:
FICO Eataly World will be a place for food and environmental education, it shall provide children and young people from all over the world with the chance of getting to know the rich heritage of our country, thus becoming an ambassador of the Italian agri-food history and culture. It shall be a place where to study and to make practical experiences, where to come in contact with every single stage of the production chain.
Honestly, if you wanted to imagine the world’s greatest foodie paradise, this park would be it. The 20-acre theme park will be split into multiple sections, with a lot of the park dedicated to shops, markets, and restaurants. However, there will also be over 75,000 square feet dedicated to growing crops, as well as another 43,000 square feet for stables. (That all sounds like a lot of area to cover, but don’t worry, the theme park will have tricycles with shopping baskets available to get around quickly and purchase lots of stuff.)
Photo courtesy of FICO Eataly World.
The park will also feature 10 educational classrooms, 40 workshop factories showcasing food production from start to finish, and a massive conference center for professional organizations to utilize, making this a place to not only discover, eat, and buy amazing food, but to learn about it and the importance of food and agriculture in our lives — all while businesses come to get inspired to make massive positive changes for the future of food.
That all sounds amazing and exciting, but it keeps getting better. The park will have a ton of solar power running into it, with over 44,000 solar panels being used to power the theme park. Wow. On top of that, Bloomberg reported there will be a 200-room hotel built on the property (slated to open in 2018), along with six massive virtual reality “rides” dedicated to topics ranging from milk to the future of food.
The team at Eataly couldn’t have picked a better location for its theme park — Bologna, Italy. Now it may not be as well-known an Italian city as say, Rome, but it is honestly one of the best cities to host a theme park dedicated to Italian food. Located in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, this town is well-known for creating Mortadella, Salumi Rosa, Bolognese sauce, Lambrusco wine, and arguably, tortellini.
All of these are incredible Italian delights, but that’s not all Bologna has to offer. It’s surrounded by towns and cities responsible for many of Italy’s other great foods, like balsamic vinegar from nearby Modena, Prosciutto from nearby Parma, and Parmigiano Reggiano from Reggio Emilia. If you wanted to go somewhere to try the best of Italian food, Bologna is definitely that place — and it doesn’t get very many tourists either, leaving the city in a beautiful, peaceful state year-round.
Italy is one of the world leaders when it comes to producing food in sustainable, traditional, and delicious ways — and this theme park will be one of the best ways to take it all in.
Look out, Bologna. The entire world is coming to visit and feast.