As if Italy itself wasn’t already a foodie dream paradise, and as if Bologna wasn’t already the food capitol of Italy, there is now going to be an actual food theme park, FICO Eataly World. It isn’t set to open until November 2015, but who could help getting excited just by the announcement, and it will without question be worth the wait. The theme park is set to cover around 20 acres of land in Bologna and cost near 40 million euros to create, but the success of the Made in Italy food citadel so far seems to suggest that Eataly will have no problem getting the job done, and making the funds back pretty much as soon as the park opens with an estimated 6 million visitors per year. The city of Bologna donated the land to the project as well as some abandoned public warehouses that can be used for food spaces, in hopes that the investment will boost the local economy. Eataly World is set to create 5,000 jobs for locals and the extra tourism that it will bring in will also benefit the city.
Photo via EC
This won’t be your average theme park filled with roller coasters, but there will be plenty to see, do and of course eat. FICO Eataly World will include 125 restaurants, grocery stores, food courts, “live trees” for visitors to pick their own produce, learning labs for kids to play with and learn about food, and 15 auditorium style classrooms which will each fit 700 students for seminars, culinary classes and certified training courses. There will also be an aquarium displaying Mediterranean sea life.
While Eataly has so far created 26 successful Italian Food stores around the world, selling only products made in Italy, some find the megastore concept to be harmful to smaller producers, the Slow Food movement, and the idea of eating local, referring to Eataly’s practices as “McDonaldization”. FICO Eataly World might be good for Eataly, and now probably also good for Bologna too, but if people can get products from every region of Italy all in one place then the concern becomes that they may visit the other regions less, hurting those economies even further.
Photo via The Daily Beast