Are you ready to join me as we tour Italy? I hope so because I think you're really going to enjoy this little walk.
I don't know about you, but for the longest time I didn't find the Italy pavilion to be that interesting and must admit that it was near the bottom of my list of favorite places to stop and visit. Maybe it was the seemingly cold and uninviting look and feel of the pavilion or the fact that the center of the pavilion was an area for smokers. In any event, I almost would never walked towards the back of the pavilion unless I had dinner reservations.
However, as I began to look more closely at the architecture, layout and history of each of the World Showcase pavilions my appreciation of Italy grew. Now, although it's still not my favorite, it has grown immensely on me and like all the other pavilions I marvel at the level of detail that Disney has put into it. It's truly amazing and very beautiful!
The pavilion is modeled after St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. As you look at the pavilion the large building on the left is a miniature version of the gothic Palazzo Ducale or Doges' Palace. (Doge is Italian for Duke.) The large tower that you see is the Campanile di San Marco (Bell tower of St Mark). Also, the two large columns have on top of them the two symbols of Venice: St Mark's Lion and the statue of St Theodore, the patron saint of Venice, The center of the pavilion is the Piazzetta or little square. Interestingly, St. Marks Square and the Doges' Palace in Venice look out onto the Venetian Lagoon. Here at Walt Disney World they look out onto the World Showcase Lagoon. Find a picture of St. Mark's Square online and compare that picture with this pavilion. You'll be amazed at how closely they resemble each other.
So, let's begin our walk as we walk into the pavilion from Germany.
To the right of the pavilion is a large area, with two bridges, that cross into an open area. (Often this area is used for private events, however, when it's not it's a great location to watch Illuminations.) Although seemingly detached, this area very much adds to the look and feel of the pavilion. There are a number of brightly colored gondolas there; just as you would expect to see in Venice. Go ahead and spend a little time exploring this area before we head into the pavilion.
Looking into the pavilion from the gondolas.
Here we see the Palazzo Ducale or Doges' Palace.
The building on the right hand side of the plaza is the Enoteca, Castello Banfi.
Loosely translated Enoteca means "wine shop". A place in Italy to taste and purchase wine. Castello means "castle" in Italian. You'll also see the coat of arms for the Banfi family on the building. Actually, Castello Banfi is one of the largest wineries in Tuscany.
In the front of the building, on the far right hand side, is what appears to be a fountain with the words "Alla Salute" on it. This means "cheers" and is a typical Italian toast when drinking wine.
Here's a picture of one of three other crests or coat of arms that are painted on the building. I couldn't find any information as to what they represented. So, if you know, please let me know.
I believe that this means "Welcome Street".
Here we are in the back of the pavilion looking out.
Another view from the back.
Here's a nice picture of the bell tower.
To be honest I'm not sure what this represents. It's a stage or platform of some sort, but to me it's wasted space. I'd like to see tables and chairs there instead of it just being empty.
A nice picture of the two giant columns.
There's a beautiful garden statue located along the side wall.
This area is usually occupied by smokers. In my opinion, this area needs to be moved outside of the pavilion. I do respect peoples right to smoke, but this just isn't the right place for that to happen.
Here we're looking towards the Neptune fountain. I found that various fountains with Neptune sculptures are in many large Italian cities, like Rome and Florence.
A closer look at the fountain.
The "Fontana Di Nettuno" sign that's on the fountain.
In side Doges' Palace are two shops. My wife really likes these two shops. According to her, the perfumes and jewelery are really outstanding. Me, I can only take so much of that strong perfume smell and I'm not a jewelery person so you'll usually find me outside sitting and waiting. That's where I'll be while you spend some time browsing and shopping.
One shop is called "Le Gemma Elegante" ; which means "The Elegant Gems".
The other is called "Il Bel Cristallo"; which means "The Beautiful Crystal".
While you're in the shopping mood, let's walk across the plaza to the wine shop.
Here's the entrance to the wine shop. As you can see, you can come outside and sip on your wine while you watch the people go by. Also, notice on the top corners of the building. Those are to other two coats of arms that I mentioned earlier.
Besides wine you can also purchase olive oils, candy and other Italian made merchandise there.
The "Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice)" masks are really beautiful.
The KidCot location is just in back of the wine shop
The Tutto Italia Ristorante is located in the back of the pavilion. I know a number of readers miss L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante which closed in 2007. Personally, I like Tutto Italia much, much better. I have eaten there a number of times and the food has always been excellent and the service very attentive. I can't say that about Alfredo's.
The sign outside of the restaurant.
The menu is posted outside of the restaurant.
This is the waiting area just inside the main entrance.
The check-in desk.
Here's a couple pictures of inside the restaurant.
There is also some very nice outdoor seating. On a beautiful (and not too hot) day this is a great place to sit and eat.
In front of the pavilion is the Tutto Italia kiosk where you can purchase wine, beer, deserts and Italian ice. You can't miss the donkey and colorful cart that's near by.
Depending on what day of the week it is you can find Sergio and the World Showcase Players performing at the pavilion.
Sergio, the Italian mime, is a real hoot. Once you hear the music start you know he's coming. The children really enjoy Sergio; as do the adults. He's really fun to watch!
The World Showcase Players always draw a big crowd. I love watching them as they pull folks from the crowd to act out parts of their little skit. It's always a little different (because of the people they pull from the audience) which makes it so much fun to watch.
OK, I saved the best for last. I mentioned before we began this walk that the level of detail that's in this pavilion is exceptional. Well, here's pictures of what I was talking about. I think you'll agree that it's pretty spectacular.
Well, I hope that you both learned something new today as well as coming away with a great appreciation of this beautiful pavilion.
Finally, I am really looking forward to the opening of Napoli Pizzeria.. I think it will be a fantastic addition to this pavilion. The pizzeria is presently under construction in the back of the pavilion and scheduled to open September of this year.
Thanks for coming along with me! I hope to see you all when I we tour the American Adventure.
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Well, that’s all for now. As my good friend says “see ya real soon”….DizneyMike
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The previous post in this blog was Walking through the Outpost on our way to Italy.
The next post in this blog is 2010 Flower and Garden Festival - Sneak Peek .