Christmas Shopping at Eataly World


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€ ).

In an age of experience based travel, this is the ultimate in Italian food experience.


Natale a Bologna e Shopping

Soon the holiday lights will be illuminating the streets and piazzas of Bologna. Christmas in Italy is a time of year bustling with activity, where shops and artisans are preparing for the holiday shopping season. Special foods are still the main focus of an Italian Christmas meal. The traditional fish dinner for Christmas Eve or the tortellini in brodo (a meat broth) or the panettone and pandoro (a sweet bread with vanilla or candied fruit). So I’m suggesting 3 quick shopping tours in the city center of Bologna, so you can discover some of the unique artisan shops and Christmas markets with a stop for a warm drink in nearby tea houses and cafes of Bologna.


1.Christmas Market Tour

Christmas markets are a beloved tradition in Italy from Bolzano to Naples. Among them, is the Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia in Bologna. It dates back to the late 16th century and today takes place under the portico of the church of Santa Maria dei Servi. After a stroll through this market, I suggest a stop in a nearby tea house about a 10 minute walk away. Just cross through piazza Aldrovandi and walk down via San Vitale toward the city center and you will find Il Giardino delle Camelie on via San Vitale #7. This fully stocked tea house has a range of rare and unique teas from all over the world and a knowledgeable owner who can guide you through the menu to make a perfect choice.

Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia – The Christmas Market

Where: Strada Maggiore in front of the church Santa Maria dei Servi

When: everyday from 9:30 to 20:00. Starting in mid-November and running through till December 26th

What: Christmas decorations, a wide variety of hand-made figurines for the Christmas nativity scene, food stands and deliciously warm and fragrant roasted chestnuts that make for a festive atmosphere

  1. Artistic Ceramics Tour

This is a unique artistic space called Atelier Terra Rossa, run by the artist who create the ceramic pieces and wall decorations. In this cozy studio, they also give workshops to individuals and groups. The concept is that of art studio open to the public. It’s a place you can observe the artist at work and buy the beautiful pieces they create. Before or after visiting this shop I suggest you stop by Fram Café just down the street from the studio on via Rialto 22. A decidedly healthy café where customers linger over a large warm cup of coffee or tea in big comfy chairs. Vegetarian and vegan treats are also available.

Atelier Terra Rossa – The Ceramics Studio

Where: Via Rialto, 4/B

When: All year round. The hours can vary but it is usually open from 9:00 to 19:00 but to play it safe telephone before going +39 335 5356061

What: Ceramic pieces including jewelry, unique Christmas ornaments and one of a kind vases and bowls.

  1. Chocolate Lovers Tour

Since 1796 the Majani family has run the chocolate factory and shop called Majani. It is one of the very few small chocolate companies that still starts its chocolate-making process from the raw cacao seed. Some of their creations have become Italian classics like the chocolate tortelleni, cremino Fiat, sfoglia nera. The Bologna shop is like a jewel box displaying all the variety of confections in an elegant dark wood and white marble shop in the city center near via Farini. And to continue with the chocolate theme I suggest a beautiful cafe just down the street from the Majani shop called Café Zanarini in Piazza Galvani 1. They make a classic Italian hot chocolate that is thick very chocolaty and pudding like. The crowd is young and old, locals and tourist the well healed set of Bologna.

Majani – The Chocolate Shop

Where: Via Dè Carbonesi 5

When: All year round. Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 13:00 and 15:30 to 19:30 Closed Thursdays

What: chocolate tortelleni , cremino Fiat, marron glace, sfoglia near,jellied fruit candies and liquorice all in small and large packages.

By Christine S. Boya

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