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Eataly Roma Should Be a Tourist Monument to Food

With a face like that, who could resist bringing this fish home from Eataly Roma?

Eataly Roma, a massive food emporium located at the mouth of a metro stop in south Rome, is a sensory overload for foodies. Its mission, according to the founder, Oscar Farinetti, as quoted in Luxos, a guide to Italy, is to provide people the Italian dining experience with seasonal-appropriate, responsibly raised food and drink to duplicate the experience of fine-dining at home. There are 12 Eatalys in Italy and several more around the world including six in the U.S.

The store, which is a composite of different entities, reinvents itself every six to 12 months to stay ahead of the trends.

While research shows that people do better with limited choices, that’s not the case here. Entire walls are devoted to different styles of dried pasta, fresh pasta, olive oil, beer, wine, even water. And who knew how many ways a pig could be butchered, cured and packaged?

Each of the four floors has a theme: the ground floor is an extensive produce market, housewares (on its own and in conjunction with the attached IKEA express), pastries, gelato, coffee bars, cookbooks, natural cosmetics and several prepared-food stations; the second floor is devoted to the entire world of pork and cheeses, including giant lumps of mozzarella floating in amniotic-looking fluid; the third floor is a pungent fish market, butchery for beef, fresh eggs and a large expanse of wine; the top floor is reserved for a white-tablecloth restaurant, a cooking school and a private event space. Each floor has a restaurant space that cooks the fish, pasta or raw ingredients being sold nearby. 

A variety of wine is displayed near the protein they pair nicely with, in addition to a large liquor store of spirits, wine and beer. 

All items are taken to a central checkout station, where the employees doing the check out had the option of sitting. I ran into this in Denmark last year and have to admit it seems much more humane than the padded mats we provide checkers in the U.S. 

On the way out the door, shoppers have a push-button pad to rate their experience. Unfortunately not one of the four choices was awe.

Ice cream cones stacked like unicorn horns.
Gelato is as common in cafés in Rome as is
Produce at Eataly is artfully displayed, and
the colors both inside and out are vibrant
promises of intense flavor.
Eataly tends to go into historic buildings in
need of renovation. Graffiti is so prevalent in
Rome, it’s hard to find a building untagged.
At the end of the shopping trip is an opportunity to rate your experience with the touch of a button.


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