Coming from a large, Italian family, I cannot get enough pasta, talking with my hands, and pizza. Epcot’s Italy combines all of these and more in their shops and restaurants, located in between the Germany and America pavilions. For a full-immersion experience of Italy right here in Walt Disney World, including the authentic food, entertainment, and style, make your way over to world showcase!
7. The Restaurants
World Showcase’s Italy pavilion is home to three restaurants: Tutto Italia Ristorante, Via Napoli, and the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. For larger groups and families, I suggest dining at Via Napoli or Tutto Italia, where your family can either split a pizza or dine at a larger table. The Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar offers over 200 wine choices and smaller plates, in a more intimate dining setting, perfect for a date night. While all three of these restaurants each have something different to offer, they all have that Italian flair and flavor that will have your mouth watering for more!
6. The Shops
For all my shopaholics out there, I have a public service announcement: you will fall in love with the Italy pavilion. The boutique, Il Bel Cristallo, is the place to go shopping for purses, clothing, and crystal and glass wares. Across the plaza in La Bottega Italiana, you’ll find cookbooks, cookwares, and even masquerade masks perfect for the next ball you are invited to.
5. The Bridge
For an iconic Italian picture, I recommend heading over to the bridge on the World Showcase Lagoon side of the pavilion. There you can take a picture with either the pavilion or the lagoon in the background in quite possibly one of the most romantic locations in Epcot. Boys, keep this in mind: this is an excellent proposal location. People really do have their Walt Disney World wedding receptions in this area from time to time. This waterfront location is also a great place to take a load off or eat some Italian gelato to cool off on a hot Florida day.
4. The Food
I have mentioned the fabulous restaurant options Epcot’s Italy has to offer, but now I get to tell you about the dishes they offer. Let’s start with Via Napoli’s wood-fired pizzas. If you are looking to feed a family of three to five from just one pizza, Via Napoli is the place to go. Another honorable mention from here are the strawberry or blood orange Fresca coolers. Next up is Tutto Italia, which has been around the longest of the three dining options. My first dining experience here was about eight years ago, and I will never forget how delicious my meal was. A simple dish of pasta marinara has never tasted so good. (And that’s coming from a girl who has eaten a whole lot of pasta in her time.) If you are looking for an authentic Italian dish, such as spaghetti with meatballs, shrimp risotto, or lasagna, I would recommend dining here as well. This restaurant has a more intimate setting than Via Napoli, and more upscale dining options, but is still fit for a whole family to enjoy together. For a dinner date or evening of wine tasting, you may want to try the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. There you’ll sample from small plates of traditional pastas, breads, and more while sipping almost any of the 200 wines in stock.
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3. The Gelato
I had to give this one a paragraph just for itself. Yes, it really is that good. For those of you who don’t know, gelato is Italian ice cream, which happens to be richer and even creamier than regular ice cream. If you don’t believe me, you might just have to go and try it out yourself at the gelato cart found by the entrance to the pavilion. And if you’re looking for a way to make your gelato-eating experience extra special, try a gelato sandwich or even a gelato sundae! Pair your treat with an espresso or fine wine, and you’ve got it made.
2. The Entertainment
Entertainment acts can vary but Epcot’s Italy pavilion is normally home to Sergio! For those of you who like a little magic, there’s Sergio to fit your fancy. He is a mime and whose performance includes juggling and audience participation! He’s stunning to watch in the beautiful Italy courtyard.
1. The People
As you may know, each and every World Showcase pavilion is home to cast members from their specific home country. The Italy pavilion is no different. Some of the most friendly, welcoming, and funny cast members I have met work at the Italy pavilion. (Especially the waiters at Via Napoli.) One of them was even from my grandmother’s hometown. Small world, huh?