At last Rome has its Eataly. The biggest to date in Oscar Farinetti‘s international chain of mega concept stores dedicated to eating well (Italian-style), at reasonable prices and knowledgeably. 100,000 visitors crossed its threshold during the first 5 days after opening last week.
Farinetti prefers former industrial sites for his gastronomic ventures; indeed the sheer entity of the ventures requires outsize locations. The very first Eataly materialized in the old Carpano vermouth factory in Turin in early 2007. Eataly Roma, 9th on the peninsula but 19th in the world (there are 9 in Japan and 1 in NYC), opened its doors in the ex Air Terminal of Ostiense Station, a structure designed for the 1990 FIFA World Cup by Spanish architect Julio Lafuente.
Covering a total of 17,000 square metres, it includes shelf-space for over 5,000 quality products, workshops preparing fresh foodstuffs and somewhere in the region of 20 diverse eateries (too many to count), all within 40 themed areas promoting greater awareness about foods and how they’re produced. Because Eataly, backed by Slow Food, also has a mission to educate us about what we’re eating and to promote environmental and social ethics in the food supply chain. To this end, there’s also a rather smart conference centre on the top floor, ready to host lectures, discussions and events.
But back to immediate sensual pleasures. It’s torment to decide where to linger longest. There are spectacular deli counters, bakeries, fresh and dried pasta sections, meat and fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oils, pastry shop and chocolaterie, wines galore and no mean selection of specialty beers. Plus their related places to stop and eat, and the gala Ristorante Italia with its fine view over the city, Modiglianis on the walls and Gianluca Esposito in the kitchen. See the site for details of all those wonderful gastronomic delights that make the quality of life in Italy soar even as the economy plummets!
Speaking of which, Rome and its surrounds welcome Eataly as it’s already created well over 500 jobs for willing youngsters and plans to take on more, and there’s a special emphasis on local produce in the new store.
Chickens invented marketing. They lay eggs and then say ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo’.