Walt Disney World
Walt Disney--The Man
Trip Planning Tips
Everything in this pavilion is centered around the piazza, or square. Musicians, clowns and acting troupes often appear in the piazza throughout the day. The pavilion is patterned after the city of Venice--because it is a very recognizable city--but does have bits and pieces of architecture from other parts of the country. While the Italy pavilion does not have a large feature attraction, its shops , restaurants and authentic architecture transports guests to a different time and place in history.
The first bit of Venice in the pavilion is out along the lagoon. There is a man made island of walkways and bridges--with great views. The island is named Isola del Lago--Isle of the Lake. The Isle creates some canals that have gondola boats floating, tied to the shore. It is thought that at one time Disney planned to offer gondola ride from the Isle into the lake, but who knows. However, if you do want to go on a Disney version of a gondola ride visit Toyko DisneySea's Mediterranean Harbor.
At the pavilion's entrance guests will find to columns. These are respresentative reproductions of those found in Venice's Piazzetta di San Marco. Atop the left column is Saint Theodore of Amasea and atop the right column a winged lion--a beast associated with Saint Mark that has become the symbol of Venice.
The entrance building on the left is a replica of the Doge's Palace of Venice--Doge meaning magistrate. Along with the palace is St Mark's Campanile--bell tower. Both building are very detailed, and meant to be very close reproduction of the original structures found in Venice. Inside Epcot's Doge Palace is the store Il Belle Cristallo--The Beautiful Crystal)--items for sale include perfume from Acqua di Parma, fine leathers, and jewelry.
The entrance building on the right is patterned after a market-square city hall that one might find in a town in Northern Italy, like Tuscany. Inside guests will find the shop Enoteca Castello, or Castle Wine Cellar. Italy is produce 1/5 of the worlds wines. Toward the back of the pavilion there are grape vines growing.
One other item worth noting--although make sure to stroll through the pavilion and take in all the sights--is the Neptune Fountain about half-way back in the pavilion. The fountain is sort of a combonation of two famous fountains in Italy--the original Neptune Fountain in Florence where the sculpture stands in the middle of the fountain surround by water and Trevi Fountain in Rome where the sculpture is backed up to a wall with the waterfall in front of it. The fountain is a popular picture spot.
The pavilions original plans included an expansion to be built during Epcot's "Phase II" of construction--a "Phase II" that never came to pass. The expansion would have included a gondola dark ride and a Roman ruins walk-through. When "Phase II" was canceled, the pavilion was left incomplete, and a simple wall was placed at the back of the pavilion. It is thought that these doors lead back into part of the land meant for expansion. But instead the doors serve to showcase a whimsical look at the very prominent Roman architectural feature, The Column, and the many types of capitals found at the top of columns.
In 2010 the pavilion was finally expanded to include a new restaurant, Via Napoli's, but no attractions. Via Napoli's is however very detail oriented--Italian detail oriented. It features Florentine architecture and authentic Neapolitan cuisine. The water used to make pizza dough is imported from Pennsylvania to simulate authentic Neapolitan dough. Via Napoli's three wood burning ovens pay tribute to the three active volcanoes in Italy: Etna, Vesuvio, and Stromboli. To do this, each of the three ovens are sculpted in the shape of the face of the god that their corresponding volcano is named after. The long communal table in the center of the room was built in Florence and features hand painted tiles depicting iconic monuments in Italy. Other notable features of Via Napoli are its high and vaulted ceilings, imported ceramics and blown glass, and the abundance of windows that flood the establishment with natural light.
Pics: Clockwise from Top left--Gondolas tied up in World Showcase Lagoon, Gondola, Italy Pavilion from Isola del Lago, Neptune Fountain, 2010 Restaurant Expansion Via Napoli's, Whimsical Columns, 'Tuscan" Town Hall.
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