• The huge theme park aims to showcase the best of Italian food production. (Getty Images / Roberto Serra - Iguana Press)
The enormous complex would take weeks to explore.
14 Nov 2017 - 9:43 AM  UPDATED 14 Nov 2017 - 10:11 AM

Eataly is already a huge global empire. No surprises, then, that when the retail food giant decided to open a food park, it aimed big. Very big.

Sprawling over more than 10 hectares in Bologna, the new FICO Eataly World includes farms, orchards, shops, restaurants and classrooms. There are mini farms, with more than 200 animals (lots of cute photo opportunities with goats, pigs and cows); 40 places to eat, from restaurants to street food kiosks; shops galore; and even, rather unexpectedly, a beach volleyball court.

FICO stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, and in what might be a canny move for a venture that aims to showcase Italy's food traditions from the earth to plate, entry will be free when the park officially opens on November 15.

What can visitors expect to eat? Everything from Prosciutto di San Daniele and pizza to truffles and gelato. Along with some less predictable eats: 

 

Visitors can also brush up on skills in everything from food photography to cooking (unsurprisingly, pasta and pizza are among the offerings, as is a chance to 'meet' the 16-year-old sourdough starter used by Bologna bakery Il Forno Di Calzolari) with more than 50 classes and talks to be held every day.  

To help visitors get around, there are 500 free three-wheel bikes, designed especially for the park by leading Italian bike company Bianchi (in Bianchi's globally recognised blue). 

The saddle bags are likely to fill fast - there are a multitude of shops selling Italian produce, kitchenware and more.

The agri-food park is located about 20 minutes drive from the centre of Bologna. 

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