There is a new space for foodies in Bologna, a million square feet of great food from all regions of Italy. Opened November 15, it’s a vast space that will take more than one visit to take it all in. To name but few things: there are meat, pasta or pizza restaurants, grocery shopping, kiosks with street food, like arrosticini from Abruzzo (bite size crispy juicy grilled lamb on a stick) Fontanafredda Enoteca that serves all types of Italian wines by the glass, culinary workshops on gelato, pasta making or truffle tasting, multimedia centers called giostre that exhibit concepts about mother earth (2€ entrance), a high end restaurant, Cinque, from michelin starred chef Enrico Bartolini, outdoor gardens, a book shop and at the cash registers as you exit a post office that will mail all your purchases home.
Around Bologna locals call the new destination FICO (Fabbrica Italiana Contadina). Many Bolognese are skeptical of it, because change is hard in a country that clings to traditions and measures time in centuries. But it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for visiting the city of Bologna itself, with its unique medieval architecture, wonderful regional dishes like tagliatelle con ragu, mortadella or tortellini. Instead it is another reason to come to this lesser known region of Emilia Romagna and its great cities like Bologna, Modena, or Ferrara. Oscar Farinetti, who brought his successful food shops, Eataly, first to Torino then to other cities around the world now brings us this new idea. He calls FICO a world reference point that “by narrating the story of made in Italy, explaining the history of our products and their origin” we will promote the beauty, the quality, the lifestyle of Italians. What do you need to know about FICO?
- How to get there? A FICO bus from the train station for about 8€ round trip. The bus takes 20 minutes from Bologna city centre to the location outside the city, near the University of Bologna’s Agriculture school.
- How to get around this huge space? Bikes of course with baskets on front wheel to carry things. It’s a light airy space with vaulted ceilings and very pleasant in any season. It’s open from 10am to midnight.
- What to expect? To spend a whole day there, tasting, learning and shopping. Bring your wallet, it’s hard to leave without buying something.
- where to learn more? check out the website to see all available workshops and sign up and prepay ( from 10€ to 90€ ). https://www.eatalyworld.it/en/plan
In an age of experience based travel, this is the ultimate in Italian food experience.