The world’s first gourmet theme park, “FICO Eataly World,” will open in Italy in September 2017. Eataly’s 20-acre Disneyland of Italian dining will sprawl across Bologna’s countryside aiming to attract six million Italian food lovers annually. Visitors to Eataly World will discover the secrets and traditions of Italian food production, processing and cooking.

Eataly World will be a fusion of entertainment, education and food. Visitors will be able to observe grazing livestock and savor over 10,000 square meters of flora and fauna including; olive groves and orchards with trees bearing aubergines, melons and almonds.

Our vision for FICO Eataly World is an immense and joyous place where everyone can discover Italy’s great heritage.- Tiziana Primori

Thrill-seeking gastronomists can hop on one of the 500 Bianchi tricycles complete with shopping baskets to explore the complex and gather up gourmet goodies from the 9,000-square-foot food market. The cherry on the connoisseur’s cake is a chocolate fountain.

Eataly World will have six main areas to explore; fish, meat and eggs, milk and dairy produce, cereals, fruit and vegetables, drinks and dressings and desserts. 40 different workshops will showcase “from the field to the fork” processes including the production of oils and wines.

You can’t bathe in a lagoon of olive oil at Eataly World but you can immerse yourself in six virtual reality experiences or drown your sorrows in the beer factory. A trip to the foodie fantasy land is guaranteed to whet your appetite. You can dine in one of Eataly World’s 25 restaurants; after an aperitif and “chin-chin” in one of its three bars.

Eataly World aims to bring foodies together to eat shop and learn. The theme park’s CEO Tiziana Primori explained, “Our vision for FICO Eataly World is an immense and joyous place where everyone can discover Italy’s great heritage. There will be no place in Italy or the world, where you can see and explore this wide range of food processing and cooking in a single location.”

Eataly World is not the Italian food emporium’s first voyage beyond metropolitan megastores. In 2013 Eataly took to the seas opening restaurants on Italian cruise ships MSC Preziosa and MSC Divina.

Eataly was founded by Italian Oscar Farinetti. He announced his vision of ‘Eat Italy’ over Sunday lunch in 2003. Farinetti opened his first Eataly in Turin in 2007. One and a half million customers flocked to Farinetti’s outlet in the first six months.

Eataly now has over 27 megastores around the world in; Italy, Japan, Turkey, Dubai, Brazil, South Korea and the U.S. Eataly’s Italian marketplaces have become tourist attractions as well as gourmet food halls on par with the likes of Harrods.

Farinetti aspired “to make high-quality Italian foods available to everyone at fair prices and in an environment where people can shop, taste and learn.” Eataly’s delicacies include almost 100 varieties of Italian extra virgin olive oil, many from smaller, traditional farms.

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Farinetti believes, “the opportunity to shop, eat and learn at the same time has made customers fall in love with Eataly. Before Eataly, there had never been a format that proposed these three activities in the same big place, open to everybody.”

If a day at Eataly World is not enough to satiate your hunger for Italian fare, a 200-room hotel will be added in 2018.

Two thousand businesses, including small companies delivering high-quality products, will be represented at Eataly World. The eco-friendly project (which has suffered two years of delays) incorporates reclaimed wood and 44,000 solar panels (the most on a single European property). The project has cost €100 million and is expected to create 700 jobs onsite.

Admission to Eataly World is free.


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