Italian Foods Theme Park To Open In Bologna

Eataly, the Italian foods megastore, is planning to open a food-centric theme park in Bologna, Italy, by November 2015. The project will be named Fico Eataly World and has been described as a culinary Disneyland. Bologna’s Centro Agro Alimentare has made a grant of 86,000 square feet of unused warehouse space to be used for the project. The Eataly brand is known for its mission of disseminating knowledge of Italian foods across the globe, as well as its connection to the Slow Food movement. The new theme park will further this mission by demonstrating the process of sustainable food production while driving tourism to Bologna.

Fico Eataly World
The new theme park is planning on housing a combination of stores, restaurants, food labs and even an aquarium. Given the theme-park-like nature of the current stores, it seems like a natural progression for the brand. The 26 current Eataly locations are located in countries across the globe, with most being located in Italy and Japan. The two U.S. locations in Chicago and New York both feature food-centric attractions such as a mozzarella lab, a brewery, open pizza ovens and a cooking school. Expanding into a large-scale theme park gives Eataly the opportunity to demonstrate even more traditional food production processes and take control of the raising and slaughtering of  its own fish and meat. The undertaking is expected to cost $54.9 million and is being financed by Italian fund-management company Prelios-SGR.

Eataly and Slow Foods
Eataly CEO Oscar Farinetti has been an outspoken supporter of the Slow Food movement. Slow Food remains a consultant to Eataly to ensure that the stores continue to uphold its mission. The Slow Food mission is one of keeping food products good, clean and fair. As a reaction to the growing fast food movement in the late 1980s, with the booming success of restaurants such as McDonalds and Burger King, the Slow Food organization was set up to promote the benefits of producing food locally and by hand. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on artisanal food products made from local ingredients. Eataly​ strives to produce 100 percent of what  it serves in its in-house restaurants. This is a difficult goal to attain given the urban locations of the majority of Eataly stores. With the opening of Fico Eataly World, the incredibly large space will provide even more of an opportunity to create a hyper-local dining experience.

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