Fico Eataly World in Bologna

19th December 2017

Have you ever heard of FICO EATALY WORLD in Bologna? We have been there last week and it really worth a visit if you are visiting Bologna area. We attended the Gran Tour with a dedicated and very well prepared guide.


Opened last 15th November, FICO (Fabbrica Italiana Contadina – the Italian Farming Factory) is an educational and sensorial journey about Italian food and its biodiversity. The aim is to sensitise visitors on food importance, quality and its origin throughout the discovery of the food process from the ground to the table, especially focusing on Made in Italy. Its founder is Oscar Farinetti, the owner of the worldwide well-known Eataly.

FICO is located in the C.A.A.B. area – the Bologna fresh produce market. The oldest C.A.A.B. area was too huge to be used in total, so they decided to maintain the typical fresh produce market structure and recycle it by creating something completely new in the world. With an area of about 100.000 MQ, FICO is composed by a market area of 9000 km, 40 workshops, 45 restaurants and kiosks, 2000 km of cultivated area, 200 animal breedings. The decision of using a pre-existing area it’s because FICO wants to focus also on sustainability. They have also added on the roof top several solar panels.

As you can see from the map, the structure as a L shape. The two streets, which are perpendicular as the ancient Roman empire streets called thistle and decumanus, meet in the Teatro Arena. There is a special and innovative way of visiting it: by bicycle! It’s free and you can ask to the reception the key and go around FICO both inside and outside and do shopping thanks to the baskets on the front and back of the bicycle without walking and having fun at the same time.

Back to its organization: FICO is divided into 8 hectares inside and 2 outside.

Inside you can find 40 factories divided into 8 categories: cured meats, cheese, cereals, fruit and veg, sweet, flowers and plants, seafood and liquids (beer, wine, oil and vinegar). There are also 6 large educational “rides” dedicated to Fire, Earth, Sea, Animals, Bottled Goods, and the Future and a Congress Centre accommodating from 50 to 1000 people that will become a cinema in the evening.

Moreover, FICO organises several educational courses collaborating with the 40 factories inside the educational rooms, culinary shows and new products launches. Every Thursday there is a cereals markets where people involved discussed quality and the price of the product for that week – like our Radicchio auctions. There is also a training area where you can practise beach volley and paddle, and follow the fitness course. FICO thought about children too – in fact they offer educational labs for kids so they can learn the origin of food by having fun.

The main focus of FICO is showing products from its production to its transformation to the table. All is grown inside with several rules to be followed. It’s amazing having a look to the grain that becomes pasta and then taste it in their restaurant and have to chance to buy it all in front of your eyes! Also, to focus on sustainability and avoid food waste factories collaborates each other. For example, if you want to eat pasta to the pasta factory and you wanted it with tomato sauce, the pasta factory restaurant uses the tomato sauce of the tomato factory right next to them inside FICO! Well done.

So, they listed 7 main values:

  1. Sustainability, as already explained
  2. Biodiversity, for the diversity of the products and of its cultivation following regionals traditions
  3. Innovation to sensitise people but also the future generations.
  4. Preserve the km 0, all the product cultivated and grown is used inside and sold inside FICO and for the fresh produce they follow seasonality.
  5. Journey from the past to the present and constant dialogue with the future
  6. Safeguard of the small factories – you can find the most important Parmesan company for example, but also the small cheese producer.
  7. Launch of new startups.

Last but not least, FICO is also a Foundation that sensitize on cultivation. In fact, they also collaborate in a Master degree with the University of Bologna, the oldest in Europe.

At the end of FICO you can purchase what you have seen in a big Eataly shop and, very important, don’t worry if you are travelling with an hand luggage or you are coming from far away, FICO collaborating with Poste Italiane organises the shipping of you shopping bags directly to your house!

To get to FICO is easy as well. There is a huge parking space, first 2 hours free, and they have also connected it with a special bus called FICObus from the train station to FICO with a few stops in the main points of Bologna (7€ go and back).

A very interesting and fun experience, especially for the Gran Tour that we recommend to everyone, and a special thanks to our guide Elena – it was lovely to meet you!

For more info visit FICO Eataly world website