There are more than 1,200 varieties of apple in Europe… 1,000 in Italy and 200 in the rest of Europe… That’s why we made Fico.”
That message, alongside the famous brand of Italian apple company Melinda, adorns the main entrance to Fico Eataly World, the much-anticipated food theme park in Bologna that finally opens to the general public on 15 November.
La Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Fico, The Italian Farmers’ Factory) has been dubbed the ‘Disneyland of food’ by some commentators and is aiming to attract six million visitors in its first year.
Offering permanent free entry, it promises to continue the work done by the recent Milan Expo to raise the profile of Made and Italy when it comes to food and drink; and for the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable business, it’s being seen as an opportunity to promote excellence and quality.
“It is a great honour to be chosen by [founder Oscar] Farinetti for a global level project like Fico, which we are sure will have a great deal of media coverage both in Italy and abroad,” commented Melinda president Michele Odorizzi.
“It will be an chance to tell many tourists about the excellence of our country and our territory’s biodiversity, of which Melinda apples are a major symbol.”
Six days before the official public opening, Farinetti was joined by various dignitaries, officials, industry representatives and a great phalanx of journalists to look more closely at what’s on the menu for visitors.
Spread across 100,000m2, architect Thomas Bartoli has, according to those in charge of the park, created a monument to the “art and biodiversity” of Italy’s cuisine, presenting exhibits and attractions that explain and illustrate the work – production, harvesting, preparing and presenting – that goes into making all kinds of Italian foods.
As well as 40 different food outlets, Eataly World also features a large open-air market where people can buy fresh products.