EATALY: A massive Italian food theme park is on the verge of opening, and it looks insane

Forget Disney World — the upcoming “Eataly World” is a massive Italian food-themed park, and it looks just as amazing as it sounds.

Eataly WorldFICO Eataly WorldYes, this is a bar dedicated to Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan cheese).

The park is scheduled to open this November in Bologna, Italy, with over three dozen restaurants, a gigantic market, and a variety of “multimedia experiences” based on food, farming, and craft. In short, Eataly World looks like a new must-visit spot for Italian food lovers trekking through Emilia-Romagna.

Here’s everything we know about the world’s first Italian food theme park.

When Eataly World opens on November 15, entry will be free. That's not just an opening deal -- admission is always free to Eataly World.

FICO Eataly World

The focus of places like Disney World and Six Flags is rides. You pay an entrance fee, and that enables you to go to Space Mountain (or whatever).

Eataly World, however, is focused on all aspects of Italian food: growing, harvesting, processing, and craft. Much of the park's 20 acres are dedicated to farms and factories that you can visit, enabling you to see directly how Parmigiano-Reggiano is made, or how your favourite olive oil is pressed.

Here's how the park's ethos is described on the official site: 'At Eataly, each forkful of pasta has a story: farmers cultivated grains, millers ground flour, pastai (pasta makers) shaped dough, distributors delivered it to Eataly, and our chefs cooked the pasta to perfection and paired it with seasonal sauce before we drop it at your table.'

FICO Eataly World

In many ways, Eataly World is an extension of what the various Eataly establishments around the world already do -- just many, many times larger. At Eataly, you can watch pasta get made by hand and choose to either buy some to cook yourself or have it prepared by an expert cook. You can buy the guanciale, cheese, tomato and whatever else on-site, and go make bucatini all'amatriciana at home. Or you could eat it on-site.

Eataly World takes that concept to a far grander scale, where you can see the cows who produced the milk that became the cheese you're eating. Then you can see the ageing process of that cheese before it became a nutty, salty, unbelievably complex and delicious sensory experience.

Or, you could simply visit for the outrageously large selection of 'trattorias, starred restaurants, bistros, and street-food kiosks.'

FICO Eataly World

Eataly World boasts a selection of 40 different food options, ranging from more casual trattorias and street-food carts to 'starred restaurants.'

Standouts thus far include Neapolitan pizza chain Rossopommodoro and cured-meat purveyor Antica Ardenga, though that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of options. How about a shop dedicated to mortadella? Because that's totally a thing at Eataly World (it's actually called 'Mortadella World,' hilariously).

And then there's the ridiculously large market, which looks like a far larger version of the already expansive markets inside standard Eataly shops.

FICO Eataly World

Eataly's marketplaces, if you've never been, are known for having an impressive selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and fresh breads. These markets serve the community around them, and they also supplies Eataly's restaurants with fresh ingredients.

At Eataly World, the same concept applies -- only at a far grander scale:

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As seen in the rendering above, Eataly World will feature a huge open market with produce, as well as stalls surrounding it. It's essentially a really impressive supermarket.

Eataly World runs on 44,000 solar panels (making it sustainable), intends to employ around 3,000 people, and is the largest such project in the world. And it's located in the gorgeous Italian city of Bologna.

FICO Eataly World

Orlando is nice, but Bologna is a place with thousands of years of history. You're unlikely to regret the visit! But if Eataly World doesn't do it for you, the rest of Italy's glorious Emilia-Romagna region will assuredly make up for that.

Here's a video tour of Eataly World, featuring a delightful British voiceover. The park opens on November 15, and is free to enter.

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