Posted by: Debra Kolkka | March 29, 2019

Fico, Eataly World

Just outside Bologna, FICO is the world’s largest food park. Food from all over Italy is on display in a huge 100,000 square metre area that used to be a wholesale market in the 1980s.

Fico

Helpfully, FICO has installed a selfie platform in front of the sign.

The complex took 4 years to complete, cost €120 million, and works with more than 150 Italian companies. It was opened in November 2017.

The entrance has a wall of apples, along with a sign asking you not to take them. The sign above the entrance informs us that there are 1200 varieties of apples in Europe, 1000 of which are in Italy.

Fico

Fico

Inside there is an amazing display of producers, offering people of all ages classes in the history of food, the relationship between humans and nature and the importance of eating well.

Fico

Fico

Fico

Fico

There are 45 eateries all with visible kitchens, many offering hands on involvement with visitors. There are pizza and pasta making classes among other things.

Fico

Fico

Fico

Fico

There is a farm area with animals.

Fico

It was a bit cold and too early in the season to wander in the crop growing area…another day.

Most of all there is food, glorious food, starting with the delicious Napolitana pizza we had for lunch.

Fico

It was a tough choice with so much to choose from.

Fico

Fico

There is a beach volley ball court and other sporting activities. You can ride bikes around the space.

Fico

Of course wine regions are covered well.

Fico

There is Italian cookware and homewares.

Fico

When FICO opened there was quite a lot of negative press. Many people felt that it was the IKEA of Italian food. I can understand this. I would rather wander in the gorgeous market streets in Bologna, Florence or countless other towns and villages, but I spend 6 months each year in Italy and have time to do this. Not everyone does.

Eataly World offers a very well presented overview of wonderful Italian produce, a great place to gather information. I found many brands I recognised and lots of new ones.

We saw people of all nationalities there, mostly Italians. There were lots of school groups, very young children to high school students. I don’t know whether is achieving its goal of 10,000 people a day, but it was certainly popular the day we visited. We arrived early, before it became busy, which is when most of these photos were taken, but by the time we left mid afternoon most of the eateries were full.

We took the shuttle bus from Bologna to Fico. The bus stop is opposite Central Station. We finally found the bus stop and then had to find a place to buy bus tickets. A very helpful man at the Tabacchi behind the gelateria nearby sold us our return tickets (€7 each) and made sure we knew where to catch the bus.

Fico

Buses leave every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour and take 20 minutes to get to Fico.

 


Responses

  1. Next trip a must.

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    • It is an interesting place to visit.

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      • Looks like an amazing place to wander and learn about different foods and products.
        It’s on my list next time we’re up north!
        Great photos thanks Debra.

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  2. It all looks truly beautiful, but it appeared cold, calculating and lacking heart. This could set a dangerous precedent in the demise of local purveyors who one has to actually walk the streets and experience. I think of what Walmart has done to the local grocery store, pharmacist who knows who you are and they just hand you your meds when you walk in, products made no farther than a mile away, the sight and yes the smells and aromas, always the smells on the street, magical, seductive and transformative. All in the name of convenience and catering to lazy tourists, whether they are in country or come from far away. I just see a lot of dollar signs…..

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    • Yes, this is the criticism I read about FICO, but surely the thousands of huge supermarkets in towns and cities in Italy are doing the most damage to small businesses. From my observation this is where most Italians now shop. I doubt that FICO would be the place for a daily or weekly shop.
      Since we bought our house in Italy 15 years ago our little village has lost its butcher, hardware shop and food shop. Fortunately a new fruit and vegetable shop has opened recently and is doing well.
      FICO is well outside Bologna, is a teaching facility as well and is not just for lazy tourists. There were dozens of school groups there.
      With the size and cost of this I doubt there will be more of them.
      I do prefer visiting small local shops. I was a small business owner myself and understand the importance of shopping local.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. OMG, what a food paradise.

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  4. An excellent idea!

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  5. No, like you, I love the street and lane shopping in Italy: no giant food halls for me. And animals inside kept in stalls? why? Thanks for posting this so I am never tempted to go.

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    • I think most animals are kept in stalls here. We see sheep wandering in the countryside, but not much else.
      I love the market streets in Bologna, but wanted to see Eataly for myself. I have no need to go back, but I think is unfair to criticise something without seeing it.
      I think big supermarkets do far more damage.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Reblogged this on Travels About Town and commented:
    Italy’s New CostCo? Nonna would never approve.

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    • No, it is nothing like Costco. There is only one it is not a wholesale place. Nonna would not approve, but Nonna now shops at the supermarket, not so much at little shops.

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  7. My goodness, i understand the negatives attached to this facility, but, as you said, for someone who won’t have the luxury of time to wander and discover in the smaller towns – that looks fabulous!

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    • It is well done. There are mini theatres as well, but we didn’t go in.

      Like


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