FICO Eataly World Opens Outside Bologna

Balogna market // Photo by RossHelen/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

“From Field to Fork: The world’s largest agri-food park.” Food-obsessed travelers can now find nirvana in a theme park unlike any other. FICO Eataly World was inaugurated by Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni on November 15 just outside Bologna. It’s 100,000 square meters of food and fun, designed to showcase the “wonders of Italian biodiversity.” The site is a former wholesale market, converted into a sprawling fantasyland of eateries (45), kitchen showrooms for chef demonstrations, a cinema, play areas, boutiques, gardens, orchards, classrooms and educational pavilions. 

The Eataly concept—a food hall with gourmet delights from all over Italy—has made a splash in locations around the world: from Trieste to New York to São Paulo to Seoul. A public-private partnership, FICO Eataly World hopes to capitalize on that success. As reported by The Guardian, “The project took four years to complete, at a cost of €120 million, works with over 150 Italian companies, from relatively small to very large, and has created over 3,000 jobs. If all goes to plan, FICO predicts it will attract six million visitors a year, a substantial boost in tourism for the whole area.” (However the article’s headline posits “But is Eataly World a betrayal of Italian gastronomy?”)

Highlights include outlets of three Michelin-starred restaurants, Terra del Tartufo (Truffle Land) where truffles are grown (and hunted by dogs), and—as shared by Conde Nast Traveler—“500 adult-sized tricycles with shopping baskets, designed by Italian bike makers Bianchi.” Admission is free.

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