On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni inaugurated the opening of FICO Eataly World, a 100,000 square-meter agri-food park located on the outskirts of Bologna, Italy’s “City of Food.” The establishment claims to be largest of its kind in the world.
The free admission park, just a 20-minute shuttle ride from Bologna Centrale (the city’s central station), is designed as a tribute to the excellence of Italian food and beverage products. The emporium promises a journey to “discovery of all the wonders of Italian biodiversity,” from the farm to final plate.
The driving force behind Eataly World, FICO (Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) Foundation for food and sustainability education, is the result of collaboration between Andrea Segre, who is the president of CAAB (a market hall known as the Agri-Food Centre of Bologna) and the mastermind behind the flourish Eataly food hall brand, Oscar Farinetti. Other contributors include the municipality of Bologna (represented by Mayor Virginio Merola), the Italian Consumer Cooperative and several private investors.
An Amusemnt Park for Food:
Nicknamed by much of the media as the “Disney World of food,” FICO Eataly World offers a fun and educational display to help visitors not only enjoy beloved Italian cuisine, but to also better understand the features of Italian agriculture and production that shape its existence. The park includes 20,00 square-meters of farmland and stables, housing more than 200 animals and 2,000 cultivated plants. Visitors can also witness the production of Italian specialties in meat, fish, cheese, pasta, oil, confections, beer, wine and more.
Eataly World is comprised of 40 farms, 45 trattorias, 26 food stalls, six food-related rides, three Michelin-starred restaurant outposts, and a 30,000 square-foot marketplace. FICO refreshment areas will also be available for food tastings. The park offers 50 educational courses and 30 events each day.
Attendees can explore the vast itinerary on foot or by bike, venturing either at their own leisure or guided by Italian Biodiversity Ambassadors trained in the secrets of Italian food and culinary delights.
The FICO Eataly World project, which took nearly four years to reach completion, cost something around €120 million to produce. The park collaborates with more than 150 Italian companies, both small and large, and in the process has stimulated more than 3,000 jobs.
FICO predicts that the attraction will draw in millions of visitors each year from all over the world, in turn providing a substantial boost in tourism for the entire region.