Italy

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Italy
Italypavilion2.jpg
The Italy pavilion at night. Photo by Don Sullivan[1]
Epcot
Land World Showcase
Opening date October 1, 1982
Number of Attractions Zero
Number of Restaurants Two

Italy is a pavilion located within World Showcase in Epcot. It is located between the Germany pavilion and The American Adventure pavilion.

History

Like many of the World Showcase pavilions, the Italy pavilion changed drastically from its early designs to its final construction. When the pavilion was initially being designed, Imagineers wanted to construct an area that would represent Southern Italy. This area would have include a dark ride attraction, where guests would board gondolas and travel through various Italian scenes. After riding the attraction, guests would be released into the middle of Roman ruins, which they could then walkthrough and explore [2].

Similar to other early plans for World Showcase (such as Germany's Rhine River Cruise) plans for the Southern Italy section of the Italy pavilion were pushed back until EPCOT Center's Phase II. This delay was mentioned in Walt Disney's EPCOT: Creating the New World of Tomorrow:

"Few buildings remain perfectly preserved as they were when new. Over the centuries, landlords change; one year they are prosperous, and they build on additions. The next year they’re a little short of funds, so they tear down part of the structure and sell the stones.

In a sense, the Italy pavilion itself is a victim of this cycle of fortune; the area which was to represent Southern Italy – not to mention a splendid replica of Roman ruins – may not be completed until 1983."

Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow (1982) [3]

Unfortunately for the Italy pavilion, the money that was originally designated for the Southern Italy expansion was eventually used for the construction of Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, and Morocco as well as early work on The Living Seas [4].

A panorama of the Italy pavilion by Michael Gray

Although without a feature attraction, Italy did open with the rest of World Showcase on October 1, 1982. The pavilion was designed to feature Florentine, Venetian, and Roman architecture, including a 100 ft. recreation of St Mark's Campanile (a bell tower) [2]. When the pavilion opened, it housed one restaurant “L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante” and two shops “La Gemma Elegante” and “Il Belle Cristallo” [2]. The pavilion is also home to the Theatre al Fresco where various street performers have been found over the years[2].

Since its creation, the Italy pavilion has seen a relatively small number of changes. The only major change came in 2007, when L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante closed [5]. Although the restaurant was the most popular in [[Epcot]}[6], Disney chose not to renew the dining contract with the restaurant’s operator Alfredo the Original of Rome Inc [5]. Disney’s decision was due in part to the fact that Alfredo had initially promised to construct a second dining location in the pavilion in 1983 [5], which Disney felt was needed in order to meet the dining demand in World Showcase. After no second restaurant was built, and with the initial 25 year contract now up, Disney decided to award the management to a new company- The Patina Restaurant Group [5].

Following Alfredo's closure On August 31, 2007 [7], the restaurant was replaced by a new restaurant Tutto Italia, which opened on September 17, 2007 [8]. Following the change in management, in 2010, Italy finally got a second restaurant Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria [8] . This was followed by the opening of Tutto Gusto (a wine bar) which opened in 2012 [9].

Attractions

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure- On this interactive adventure, guests use a "F.O.N.E." (Field Operative Notification Equipment) to help Agent P. stop Dr. Doofenshmirtz, by looking for clues throughout World Showcase. The adventure is based on the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

Restaurants

Tutto Italia Ristorante- This table service restaurant offers guests a traditional Italian meal. The restaurant replaced Italy's original restaurant L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante.

Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria- The newest dining option in Italy, Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria is a table service restaurant specializing in pizza.

Tutto Gusto- This wine bar, which opened in 2012, features over 200 bottles of Italian wines in addition to beer and a small plates menu.

Shopping

La Gemma Elegante- This shop is famous for its Venetian masks. La Gemma Eleqante translates to "The Eloquent Gem" in English.

Il Belle Cristallo-This large store sells jewelry, leather goods, and clothing. Il Belle Cristallo translates to "The Beautiful Crystal" in English.

Fun Facts and Trivia [2]

  • The entire Italy pavilion faces one plaza which features a raised platform. Originally the platform was going to be used for live entertainment, but such shows are now performed near the World Showcase Lagoon.
  • The focal point of the pavilion is a recreation of the Dodge Palace in Venice.
  • Near the edge of the Dodge Palace guests can see a statue of a grotesque face. Sculptures such as this were used by Italian citizens to complain about their neighbors or government.
  • On top of the pavilion’s campanile, guests can see a statue of the Archangel Gabriel.
  • A statue of Neptune can also be found in the Italy pavilion, the sculpture is based on a statue found in Florence, and the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
  • The Italy pavilion features a replica of Venice's Doge Kneeling Before the Lion statue.
  • The Italy pavilion's Campanile di San Marcho (the bell tower of St. Mark's) is 1/5 the size of the original in Venice.

References

  1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/donsullivan/11763839655/in/photolist-iVwKFD-EhfX1-EhfWW-BzPDUe-C2A55n-BbPxRA-EgKqF-Bcyhkt-nDzbg8-BbX4ZB-C71YVW-5rXzha-cMT2SS-75hnje-hgkWHr-9tHzXt-4H7Hd5-5s2UGG-iPfQFW-bcLBFx-9shteQ-iiR4pz-TdS8AH-9e8cH5-9TfKb4-btUGC5-6ACfp6-2492UqC-23RBH3T-7c7npx-7cbdeC-77ufQW-7cbd9A-9uuzKq-9TyKP1-pys9jm-7cbdKL-eufdd-7hA3gF-7hA4BB-7hA4Kv-bCRiUJ-7hA4vX-9TvJkg-8d1AJh-6MqeEy-r5HWA-CfMHQ-6ACn88-EmrNrp
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2011/12/italy_pavilion_part_two_1.html
  3. Beard, Richard R. Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow. New York: Harry N. Abrams,, Publ., 1982. Print.
  4. http://progresscityusa.com/2009/03/01/neverworlds-epcots-italy-pavilion-phase-ii/
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia: A Guide to Walt Disney World's Greatest Theme Park
  6. https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2007/04/30/story2.html
  7. https://www.mouseplanet.com/guide/404/Walt-Disney-World//World-Showcase--Italy/LOriginale-Alfredo-di-Roma-Ristorante
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://www.yesterland.com/alfredo.html
  9. http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2012/05/01/review-the-new-tutto-gusto-wine-cellar-and-tutto-italia-restaurante/