It is quite a daring feat to open a 17.000 square meters giant temple dedicated to the gastronomic delights of Italy between the railroad tracks of Ostiense. But that is exactly what owner and self-made business man slash entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti (1954) has done. On June, 21 Eataly Rome opened in an abandoned air-terminal, designed by Spanish architect Julio Lafuente for the Soccer World Cup in 1990.
What the city of Rome never accomplished during 22 years of neglect, Oscar Farinetti’s 80 million investment however seems to have done. “The neighbourhood was not very attractive”, Farinetti said, “and we are in the habit of breathing fresh life into abandoned places. The first Italian Eataly opened in 2007 in a former Carpano Vermouth Factory in Turin and the old Lingotto industrial area that has since witnessed a grand revival.
Farinetti proves his point with Eataly Rome, the largest of 19 Eataly’s store-restaurants around the world. “The principle behind Eataly is that it’s a place where you can buy, eat and study food,” Farinetti stated. Eataly wants to emphasise the beauty of Italy: its food, fashion, design, manufacturing precision, art and culture. The Rome branch will be its ninth in Italy till date, though not its last. Farinetti plans to open five new branches over the next three years.
Expected to cater to Rome’s 4 million inhabitants and some of the 10 million tourists, Oscar Farinetti is confident about the future of Eataly Rome. “It is a unique concept”. Spread over 4 floors you’ll find 23 eating places, 40 areas devoted to teaching about food, 8 spaces where they make mozzarella or fresh pasta or bread and 14,000 products for sale. If you are a food lover I strongly recommend you to visit this sleek, well designed temple of Italian cuisine offering the hungry visitor everything from gourmet slow food, to fresh produce, to wine tastings, to cooking lessons with top chefs. Not a bad way to spend a morning, afternoon or evening. Insiders tip: eat at talented chef Gianluca Esposito restaurant on the top floor of Eataly Rome, rumor has it that he is Michelin-star material.
See, taste and then decide for yourself if Oscar Farinetti’s vision is one you want to share or reject (some people love local food markets and little shops just a bit more). But do we have to make that choice? It could very well be that this megamarket with all its small gastronomic enterprises under one big single roof will prove to be very beneficial to the Roman food scene. We all love food, don’t we?
Shops are open everyday from 10 am to 24 pm
Piazzale XII in October 1492
Tel. +39 06 90279201
How to go there
Metro B Piramide or Garbatella stop
Bus: 60, 63, 280, 175 and 30 express, 670, 715 and 716
Train: Ostiense station