Learn facts about the EPCOT Italy Pavilion including pizza recipes, Sicilian artwork, and more for your next trip around the World Showcase!
When you visit EPCOT, the World Showcase is a must-do. Home to eleven pavilions, each showcases some of the most distinctive features of the countries they represent. For example, the Italy pavilion brings classical Italian architecture and authentic artwork to the World Showcase. That, along with Neapolitan pizza, a rustic wine bar, and more, make the pavilion a must-visit in EPCOT.
Fascinating Facts About the EPCOT Italy Pavilion
We’re sharing a few of the most fascinating Italy Pavilion facts that you need to know. See how many of these facts you can look out for on your next visit!
1. Real Venetian Architecture
The bell tower featured in the Italy pavilion is a replica based on St. Mark’s campanile in Venice. While the real-world counterpart sits in front of St. Mark’s Basilica, this one is more simplified tying in multiple parts of Italy’s architecture.
The surrounding architecture recreates Doge’s Palace, and even the nearby gift shop gives Guests hints of the city with Venetian masks for sale all year long. To further immerse Guests, the waterfront area of the pavilion comes complete with gondolas!
2. An authentic Carretto Siciliano
If you’ve ever ordered a limoncello from the cart near the center of the Italy pavilion, you may be surprised to learn the drinks are served out of an authentic “carretto siciliano”, or a Sicilian donkey cart. Dating back to the early 19th century, donkey carts were an important part of Sicilian culture transporting everything from people to wine across the region.
EPCOT’s carts are hand-painted and depict scenes from Sicily’s history. Each cart is a work of art as well as an engineering feat. That’s because about 60 parts go into its construction, with work by woodworkers, painters, ironsmiths, and cartwrights. Next time you stop for a limoncello be sure to walk toward the right of the square to see the cart for yourself!
3. Hand-painted Venetian Masks
Le Gemma Elegante is located near the back of the pavilion and offers Guests the opportunity to purchase hand-painted Venetian masks. The souvenirs, which are difficult to come by outside of Venice, have a history of tradition that dates back to the 13th century.
Venetians would hold parties from the day after Christmas through the start of Lent and use elegantly designed masks to hide their identities. The Venice Carnival continues to be celebrated to this day and is typically the only way for people to purchase these works of art. That’s what makes this experience in EPCOT truly special.
4. The Pizza Ovens Represent Volcanos
The pizza ovens at Via Napoli have personalities of their own, each based on one of the country’s volcanos: Etna, Vesuvius, and Stromboli. Each oven is adorned with a face, with the oven itself situated within an open mouth.
Inside, the ovens heat up to 700 degrees and can cook pizzas in just about two minutes. The thin crust Neapolitan style pizzas cook perfectly within the ovens and have been a hit with Guests since the restaurant’s opening in 2010.
5. Authentic Italian Pizza
There is one more secret to creating the fan-favorite pizza served at Via Napoli: Authentic ingredients. Patina Restaurant Group, which operates this location, keeps the menu as close to Italy as it can get.
The mozzarella used in the pizza is imported directly from Italy. Plus, the San Marzano tomatoes and the chef’s specific instructions for the dough, make Via Napoli’s pizzas so memorable.
In Naples, the water used to cook everything with is believed to make a difference in the quality of the pizza dough. So the water in Via Napoli’s dough follows the same principle. While from the U.S., the water in Via Napoli has a similar alkaline to the water found in Naples.
EPCOT Italy Pavilion Facts
EPCOT’s Italy pavilion draws inspiration from all over Italy. Here, you’ll find architecture from Venice, artwork inspired by Sicily, and everything in between. The pavilion is home to fan-favorite restaurants and a wine bar, along with authentic merchandise typically only found in Europe.