Rome sidewalk dining-scalleja-Flickr-CCWith Italy in the deepest, longest recession since World War II, the nation is turning to its reputation among gourmet chefs and building a tourist mecca for foodies.

In late February, Oscar Farinetti, who founded the Eataly chain of food emporiums, announced a new plan to help rescue the economy: “Fico Eataly World,” a theme park devoted entirely to food and wine.

The project is a joint venture between Eataly and the city of Bologna, which is providing 86,000 square feet of land with warehouses to be transformed into food labs, grocery stores and, of course, restaurants.

The region of Emilia-Romagna, where the “Disneyland for food” is scheduled to open in Nov. 2015, is the home of Parmesan cheese, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, and lasagna, among many other gastronomic delicacies.

(READ the story at NPR News)

Rome sidewalk photo by scalleja, via Flickr-CC

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