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Epcot Italy is one of the most visually stunning of all of the World Showcase Pavilions. It also has excellent restaurants and shopping. making Italy one of the most popular of all of the Epcot World Showcase Pavilions.
The Architecture of Epcot Italy
The Epcot Italy Pavilion features an ingenious and visually pleasing mixture of Venetian, Roman and Florentine architecture. The most recognizable features are the huge recreation of St Marks Campanile in Venice, Doges Palace in Venice, The Fontana de Nettuno and The Sistine Chapel exterior from Vatican City. A stroll around the wide open piazza of St Mark’s Square Venice really does make you feel as though you have traveled thousands of miles to Italy. Well not quite because most people will be wearing Mickey Mouse shirts but it certainly does give you a sense of the real thing.
Originally it was intended that the Italy Pavilion would have a gondola boat ride, and a Roman ruins walk through feature but these expansion plans unfortunately were never realized.
Epcot Italy Restaurants
One very good reason for visiting Epcot Italy is the excellent food. There are 2 full service dining restaurants in the Pavilion – Tutto Italia and Via Napoli Pizzeria E Ristorante.
My personal favorite is Tutto Italia. This restaurant is owned and operated by the Patina Restaurant Group. The Master Chef Joachim Splichal has created an excellent menu, and the service is amongst the best you will find in any of the Epcot restaurants. Lucnch and dinner are served – and they do accept the Disney Dining Plan.
Lunch entrees include Lasagne Al Forno, Penne Caprese, Chicken Cutlet Milanese and Tagliata di Manzo. Lunch entree prices start at around $19 up to $28. The Antipasto Misto is a great value at $28 as it is a plate of appetizers served family style. The Marinated Olives are also particularly good.
Dinner selections may include Fennel Roasted Loin of Port, Pollo al Mattone and Taglatelle Egg Pasta. Most of the menu is the same as for lunch but the prices are higher with dinner entrees raining from $19 to $36.
There is a wide selection of drinks available including as you would expect excellent coffee. If you want to try something different then give the Espresso Coffee Martini a try.
A more recent addition to Epcot Italy is the Via Napoli restaurant and pizzeria which opened in 2010. Prices are lower here than in Tutto Italia. The speciality of course is pizza and diners can watch them being prepared in one of the 3 pizza ovens on show. The wood burning stoves are all named after Italian volcanoes – Etna, Vesuvio and Stromboli.
The atmosphere in Via Napoli can best be desrcibed as lively and welcoming. The interior of the restaurant is just beautiful – with high ceilings, a huge communal table in the center, and Italian hand painted tiles as decoration. The service is good and so is the food. Lunch and dinner is served here with the menus being mostly the same but prices for dinner being higher. Pizza of course is the obvious choice with different sizes available if you want to share. Prices range from $18 to $30 depending on the size. All the usual favorites are available such as Margherita, Pepperoni and Quattro Stagioni. You may want to try something a little different such as Carciofi with Artichoke, Peccorino, Mozzarella and Truffle Oil.
But Via Napoli doesn’t only serve pizza. The extensive menu includes other Italian favorites such as Lasagna Verde, Linguini Frutti de Mare, and Veal Parmigiana. Entrees range around the $20 to $28 mark. Dessert is of course a vital indulgence in an Italian restaurant. My particular favorite is the Gelati e. Sorbetto which is a combimation of lemon,chocolate, vanilla and pistachio sorbet.
Shopping at Epcot Italy
The shops in Epcot Italy offer a great choice of original merchandise from Italy.
The smaller shop is La Bottega Italiana. This sells kitchen items, cook books, wine and chocolates. Everything is made in Italy. You can take the chance to sample a glass of wine or just browse the cookery books.
The Il Bel Cristalo Shop is housed in the Doges Palace replica building. One of the most interesting items in this store is the beautiful Venetian masks. There are also ceramics, glassware, Italian leather bags and clothing. Of course being Italian this is perhaps the most stylish of all of the stores in Epcot World Showcase.
Take some time out of your visit to Epcot World Showcase to visit the Italy Pavillion even if you are not going to dine there. It is one of the most beautiful and relaxing of all of the places in World Showcase. Sit down for a while and enjoy the ambience which may just make you believe, if only for a moment, that you really are in Italy. The one thing which it really is lacking, and would be such a great addition, is an attraction of some kind such as a movie or a ride. That originally planned gondola ride would have made a great addition.
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