A huge thematic park built to celebrate the Italian gastronomic culture -“from the Farm to the Plate”- will be inaugurated next week in Bologna, with the ambition of attracting 6 million visitors per year. Considered a “Disneyland for Gourmets”, the park was conceived by Oscar Farinetti, the Italian entrepreneur founder of Eataly, one of the most successful gastronomic concepts in the world in the last decade, who with luxury products has conquered the taste buds of clients from New York, Dubai, and China.
Distributed over 10 hectares, the park -which has a conference center– also wants to become a tourist attraction, and will be managed by Eataly together with the Italian distribution group Coop. Founded by a consortium of private investors and authorities of the northern Bologna, it is a cradle of good Italian Cuisine. Fico, as the park is called, is the acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Peasant Factory). But it is also the Italian name of the fig and a familiar term to say “great”.
This play on words is part of Farinetti’s vision who imagined the park as a place where the visitor can have fun with workshops on specific topics, ranging from food photography to ice making, along with courses on the basic concepts of the hunt for truffles. A 5th part of the park, located in a former market in Bologna, is an outdoor area where 200 animals and 2,000 plant species were included. “Education is a key element in this project, which includes fun, food, and shopping,” he summarized to AFP, before opening to the public on November 15th, 2017.
“World Charm” Gastronomy
The park pays homage to the farmer, to the culinary knowledge, to the biodiversity of a country with a great variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, rice, pasta, and bread. More than 40 restaurants and didactic product exhibitions, including rare species of beef and licorice sweets, have been programmed. A few days before the opening, Farinetti shares both his enthusiasm and his fears.
“I am terrified that people will not come,” confesses the successful businessman, who opened his first store of almost 3,000 square meters (m2) in Turin, in 2007. For the administrator of the park, Tiziana Primori, the goal they have set for 2020 is to receive the visit of 6 million people a year -a 3rd of them, foreigners. A realistic goal? “Not really. It is rather a utopia”, confesses Farinetti. “All of the projects in which I have participated have been utopias that have been carried out. In this such a realistic world, I prefer utopias”, he explains.
The Italian entrepreneur has the passion that the Italian cuisine raises around the world, for the use of simple and genuine products. “You simply buy half a kilo of pasta, some extra virgin olive oil, and San Marzano tomatoes, and you can cook a delicious dish”, he adds.
Dozens of businessmen share their vision for what they have decided to adhere to the park project, including Antonio Capaldo, owner of the Feudi San Gregorio wines. “There is a great thirst for Italian culture in the world, and that is why we bet on the park. Who could have imagined that the Eataly store in New York was going to sell more than the Apple store?”, finishes Farinetti.
To conclude, it is worth commenting that Costa Rica is very likely to develop similar projects like the previous one, since it will also hold international food festivals in the upcoming weeks. And as we use to say; “Pura Vida”!!