Dispatch from the City of Food

When I first heard that Eataly was opening the world’s largest “food park” in Italy, there was no question in my mind that I had to find a way to get there soon or later.

So when I spotted a super cheap flight to Rome for February, I carved out a long weekend and booked a short trip.

Bologna, Italy.

First stop: Bologna. The city of food. And the home to what is formally called “FICO Eataly World” –  FICO an acornym for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, or roughly translated, Italian Farming Factory.

We took a train up and arrived on a windy, snowy evening that rendered the city a beautiful, if splashy, canvas of reflecting colors.

And luckily for us umbrella-less travelers, almost all of the sidewalks in the historic city are covered in these amazing arcades that keep you (mostly) dry.

We spent the night in our bed and breakfast near the city center (after an incredible dinner at Sette Tavoli – highly recommend it if you ever find yourself here). In the morning, we’d venture to foodtopia.

I know it doesn’t look like much from outside, but inside was an immersive, comprehensive tribute to Italian food, farming and cooking in all of its forms. Quite literally, there was a section of this foodie wonderland for everything you could think of, from cheese, meat and seafood, to gelato, coffee and pastries. In each section, you could sample multiple restaurants or food stands, learn about how the food was produced, and watch through a glass wall as the food was being prepared in real time by Italian masters.


We took a class and learned about caciotta cheese making at the Caseificio Valsamoggia.
Leaving no part of the food process hidden, FICO includes a collection of animal pens, orchards and vegetable gardens outside.
Sampling Napoleotan pizza at Rosso Pomodoro.
Mortadella, lemon and pistachio pizza – does it get weirder, or better, than that?
Also, my dad is a goof and couldn’t resist the indoor bikes.
No day in Italy is complete without a quality cappuccino.
The shelves of wine were endless.
Followed by a similarly endless market of Italian food products.

Restrained only by our small carry-ons for the flight home, we managed to walk out of here with only a few small things.

Then, with a few hours to kill before our train to Venice that night (more on that in my next post), we soaked in a lively evening in Bologna’s historic city center.

(This is a shadow of a statue of Neptune. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

More on the rest of my trip to Italy (which brought me back to Venice) in my next post. Stay tuned!

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