Travel the world at Disney’s Epcot! Italy is just one of 12 international pavilions surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon.

The best view of the Italy Pavilion perched on the far side of the lagoon is aboard a Friendship Boat. Imagine approaching Venice, the City of Love, from the Grand Canal with the iconic Campanile di San Marco — St. Mark’s Bell Tower — in the distance welcoming you.

The lakefront gondolas and striped mooring poles add to the charm. Epcot‘s nightly fireworks display can be viewed from this scenic location.

Disembark and enter Venice‘s famous Piazza San Marco — St. Mark’s Square — and take time to admire the architecture. The ornate Palazzo Ducale — Duke’s Palace — overlooks the plaza… with its classic Gothic arches and loggia — covered walkways. The adjacent Campanile di Marco rises to nearly 85 feet and is topped with a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Unlike Venice, atop the statue here in Florida is a lightning rod !

Two columns grace the entrance of the piazza, as they do in Venice… topped with statues of its two patron saints… the Lion of Venice… a winged lion representing St. Mark… and St. Theodore vanquishing a dragon with his sword. Take a close look and see if the “dragon” doesn’t look just like a crocodile !

Topiaries are everywhere throughout Epcot during the annual Flower & Garden Festival. Disney‘s Lady & the Tramp are the featured greeters at the Italy Pavilion.

Enter the courtyard… make a wish… and toss a coin over your shoulder into Neptune’s Fountain patterned after the well-known Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Two restaurants and a wine cellar open on to the courtyard. Tutto Italia Ristorante offers upscale dining with Old World ambience. Enjoy indoor or al fresco dining. Choose from authentic Italian entrées like…

  • Risotto con Gamberi — Lemony Shrimp & Lobster Butter over Arborio Rice
  • Lasagna alla Bolognese — Beef, Veal & Pork with Bechamel & Parmesan

Add the perfect finish to your meal with assorted dolci — desserts — like…

  • Mocha Tiramisu — Mascarpone, Espresso, Savoiardi Biscuits & Chocolate
  • Cannoli — filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, Candied Orange & Pistachios
  • Bacio al Cioccolato — Warm Hazelnut Cake with Vanilla Gelato & Chocolate Sauce

Buon appetito!

Adjoining Tutto Italia is Tutto Gusto… a cozy wine bar featuring over 200 Italian wines and an array of cicchetti — appetizers… all served in a rustic wine cellar atmosphere. Top choices are…

  • Cacciatorini — Black Pepper & Wine Marinated Beef & Pork Sausages
  • Insalata di Mare — Shrimp, Squid & Octopus in Lemon & Olive Oil with Asiago Cheese & White Asparagus

Also opening onto the courtyard is Via Napoli Pizzeria offering traditional Neapolitan cuisine. Their wood-fired pizzas feature ingredients imported from southern Italy… and cooked in wood burning ovens named after three active Italian volcanoes… Etna, Vesuvius & Stromboli. Favorite pizzas include…

  • San Gennaro — White Pizza with Sweet Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, Fontina, Cherry Peppers, Onions & Tomatoes
  • Prosciutto e Melone — White Pizza with Prosciutto, Cantaloupe, Mozzarella, Fontina & Arugula

For authentic Italian snacks, stop by Gelati, a kiosk at the plaza entrance. Find classic desserts like Cannoli, Tiramisu and Gelato along with Italian wines and beers. Try their special creations…

  • Espresso Gelato Affogoto — “drowned” with Hot Espresso and adorned with Mickey Ears
  • Cannoli Cupcake — Vanilla Bean Cupcake topped with a Ricotta Cannoli

Italy is famous for its fantastic winesStop in to Enoteca Castella Banfi, named after one of the largest family wineries in Tuscany, where you can taste and purchase local Italian wines. Try their vintage Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Prosecco vinos. Saluti!

Take home a Mickey wine stopper as a souvenir from your memorable visit to the Italy Pavilion at EpcotArrivederci!