Eataly agro-food park seeks to be industry, tourism driver

In this photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, visitors taste cakes at the 'FICO Eataly World', 'La Fabbrica Italiana Contadina' ('The Italian Farmer Factory') agri-food park in Bologna, Italy. The man behind the Eataly Italian food empire wants to do for the high-end of Italian food what Milan Fashion Week has done for Italy’s ready-to-wear industry: Create a global showcase for excellence that stimulates demand across the sector. (Giorgio Benvenuti/ANSA via AP)

The man behind the Eataly Italian food empire wants to do for the high-end of Italian food what Milan Fashion Week has done for Italy's ready-to-wear industry: Create a global showcase for excellence that stimulates demand across the sector

BOLOGNA, Italy — Eataly, the Italian food empire, is opening a massive agro-food theme park in Bologna on Nov. 15.

Eataly World will feature 47 restaurants and bars, along with 22 gardens, farm animals and 40 production areas making everything from pasta to gelato. Eataly World also will hold cooking classes and workshops on topics like truffle hunting and gardening.

Eataly has some 40 locations worldwide. It intends to list a 30 percent stake on the Milan stock exchange in 2018 or 2019 to open capital to small investors.

The man behind Eataly, Oscar Farinetti, envisions Eataly World attracting 6 million visitors a year, half from abroad.

Farinetti hopes Eataly will also boost tourism elsewhere in Italy by encouraging visitors to seek out the origins of food they learned about at the park.

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