The rideless theme park

Last month's issue featured the article Dining out is now the main event. The article said, “Restaurants are now more popular as out-of-home destinations than entertainment venues of all types, including all types of FECs... Yes, mixing in some interactive social entertainment is a plus, but it's the food and drink that will drive the vast majority of visits and spending, not the entertainment.”

Well, now food and beverage has risen to such a high destination appeal that a food theme park is opening November 15th that doesn't have any amusement rides or gamerooms. Yes, you read that correctly, a theme park with no rides. It is based solely on food and beverage.

Foodies around the world will now have a new destination, FICO Eataly World in Bologna, Italy (FICO stands for Fabbrica Italiana COntadina). Located on 25 acres in the Italian countryside, the $118 million farm-to-fork Eataly World is designed to introduce visitors to every stage of the food production process. Eataly World CEO Tiziana Primori says “We're now going to take you backwards into the production that goes into the culture of how food is grown and made.” You will be able to check out wheat turned into flour and then pasta, or the cows being milked and the milk becoming cheese (and so on for wine, beer, dry meats, etc.).

FICO Eataly World will be free to enter. There will be a charge for parking if you arrive by automobile.

Of course, Eataly World wants you to leave with a carrier full of stuff too, and will put at your disposal Bianchi tricycles, equipped with shopping baskets, to roam about in the world of Italian cuisine. In addition to shopping and filling your belly up, a few attractions on the theme of fire will be offered: not actual rides, but virtual reality experiences to understand the importance of fire to man.

The main theme of the park is sustainability, with reclamation, reuse and solar as key components of new structures. Farmland will grow everything from olives and melons to grains, herbs and grapes, as well as provide grazing space for cows, pigs, goats and other animals. There will be:

  • 40 places to eat in restaurants, trattorias, street-food kiosks and tasting points
  • 100 traditional shops
  • 6 walk-thru and interactive multimedia carousels dedicated to the story of man and fire, earth, sea, animals, bottled goods and the future
  • Demonstration fields and stables with more than 200 animals and 2,000 different cultivars
  • 40 learning factory centers, which will allow visitors to learn more about all the steps of food production from raw materials to final products for Italian food and take part in the making of different foods, including flour, pasta, cheese and wine taught by experienced farmers, chefs and food crafters.
  • Multiple venues for corporate events, conferences, workshops, team building and multi-purpose spaces to host food-themed meetings.

Multiple bars and an on-site hotel make it easy for visitors to safely overindulge.

Eataly World projects an annual attendance in excess of 6 million.

The project is being put together by Eataly, an upscale brand of Italian food and cuisine fooderie stores with 31 outlets in 12 countries around the world including in Chicago, Boston and New York City in the U.S., with ones opening soon in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. They are huge experiential venues that combine an Italian supermarket, different restaurants and places of food manufacture.

Our CEO, Randy White, will be visiting FICO Eataly World in January. We'll have more in-depth coverage following his trip.