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Fico reopens in Bologna, with a new look for the Disneyland of Italian food

After a year of work in progress, the great tasting park returns. On July 7th, 7 new theme areas open for an entertaining journey to discover the flavours of Italy

That eternally uncertain identity between a supermarket and an amusement park, its accounts in bright red and the Covid pandemic did nothing help the Farinetti family (Oscar is the president while his sons Francesco and Nicola are on the board) in this farm and food adventure. The president of Eatalyworld and Coop Alleanza therefore recapitalised and sought to relaunch, relying on the ideas and experience of the new CEO Stefano Cigarini: in July, Fico will reopen its gates.

Fico Bologna – Stefano Cigarini -CEO Fico Eataly- Ph. © Paolo Tosti

«This is not a place for products, but a place for people, a multisensorial space, with a new formula whereby you look, you touch, you smell, you listen, you taste and you learn», explains Cigarini. «There is one mainstay, says Nicola Farinetti, and that is the mission, remains the same: our goal is to talk about biodiversity. We don’t start with the dish, but with the earth, the fields, the factories and, fundamentally, food education for the youngest». Following a year of work, a new industrial plan and a 5-million euro investment, Fico has been transformed into a real theme park, with swings, rides, boutiques, hanging hams, giant cheese wheels, laboratories, teaching farms and multimedia experiences, to establish its growing reputation as the only food park of this type in the world, heir to the concept of Expo Milano 2015 and symbol of the Food Valley, which despite last year’s shaky revenues, still generated 11% of all the tourism to Bologna, based on the data.

Fico launched a new revitalisation plan to redesign and refocus the visitor experience, to become an experience park, a theme park that stimulates the 5 senses and combines passion for food and for fun

Stefano Cigarini, CEO of Eatalyworld

Thirty new attractions, 7 theme areas, 26 restaurants and street-food stands, 13 factories with multimedia shows, a farm with animals for the pleasure of old and young alike, this is the new Fico. Good fun, using the lever of fine food and made in Italy. Ride a Sicilian cannolo or take a selfie in front of the largest fig tree in the world, knead pizza dough or ride a farmer’s wagon, swing on a 7-meter swing or navigate the Italian seas without ever leaving the mainland, measure your height in pigs and chickens instead of metres and centimetres or guess the secret ingredient of good ice cream, find a cow manning the toll booth: this is just a taste of the activities newly established to generate profits for the coming years, with a 2023 forecast.

The new Fico covers 15 hectares (the size of 10 football fields), the areas are the worlds dedicated to the great Italian excellences (the areas dedicated to salami and cheese, pasta, games and sports, wine, oil, desserts) divided by spectacular new set designs and enriched with games, rides and attractions based on food themes. The park is completed by a farming amusement park called Luna Farm, with its 14 attractions designed by Zamperla, the largest Italian manufacturer in this field.

Admission is with an all-in-one pass that costs 10 euro, a new multisensory approach for a park that stimulates the 5 senses, thanks to the experiences of taste, smell, vision, sound and touch, as well as cooking classes. The claim is also new: Il Parco da Gustare, a Park to Taste.

The figures. Since 2017, Fico has attracted around 5 million visitors: the 60 operators in the food and farm chain offer fine food but above all theme-based experiences, including an orchard, a vineyard, an olive grove, incredibly high slides, a mini-golf course. 59% of the visitors are women, ages 30 to 45. 41% are families with children. The 100,000 square metres, roofed and outdoors, have been built without land take. 6 million kwh of clean energy is used thanks to the photovoltaic system on the roof of the park; 25 thousand cubic metres of potable water have been saved, using drainage water for irrigation. Twenty million plates, glasses and cutlery made of biodegradable material have been used. All in an active circular economy: all the operators use products that originate in the park. So all that is left now is to taste and see whether the Land of Plenty of food and entertainment by Farinetti will be as successful as we hope.


Cover: Oil and vineyard area. Courtesy Fico

Translated by: Olga Barmine 


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