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7 Amazing Things You Shouldn't Miss at Epcot's Italy Pavilion

The waterway

Image: DisneyA dirty little secret of the Italy Pavilion is that Disney planned to build it in two phases. The later expansion was to include a gondola ride befitting the breathtaking canals of Venice. Guests would ride on gondolas and feel like they were actually in Italy.

Alas, those plans fell apart, but Disney still honored the Venetian way of life in a different way. One section of the pavilion has a bridge inspired by Ponte della Paglia in Venice. Near this bridge tribute are actual waters. While you can’t access this area (legally), you should take a look when you’re in the area. You’ll see gondolas in the waters, just as if you were Venice. It’s the perfect background for the Tuscan inspirations at the Italy Pavilion.

The whistling juggling clown

Image: DisneyOne cast member at the pavilion is more memorable than the rest. His name is Sergio, and he holds court at the Italy Pavilion several times each day. His show is…unique. He juggles soccer balls and entertains the crowd. You can’t miss him from a distance, either. His white shirt with red stripes may cause you to think, “There’s Waldo!” Their fashion stylings are that similar. Despite looking like a cartoon character, Sergio’s show is worth 20 minutes of your time. He’s mastered the art of juggling, and he even whistles as he does tricks. It’s an impressive feat that you should watch at some point.

The dining

Image: DisneyLook, I love architecture and whistling jugglers as much as the next person, but when I go to the Italy Pavilion, it’s for the food. This World Showcase country has two of the best Table Service meals at Epcot.

Tutto Italia Ristorante is the more popular of the two and also better regarded. Trip Advisor users have ranked it #118 out of almost 3,000 restaurants in Orlando. The explanation for this adoration is the Old World flavor on display. This eatery is managed by the Patina Restaurant Group, a corporation known for its mastery of international cuisine. They run several properties at Disney Springs, many of which have Italian menus, but Tutto Italia Ristorante is their crown jewel. The ravioli and scampi dishes here are to die for.

Image: DisneyMy favorite restaurant at the Italy Pavilion is less ambitious. Via Napoli Restaurante e Pizzeria is a pizza place that happens to serve other dishes rather than the reverse. When you eat here, you’ll want to try one of the terrific flatbreads on the menu. And you’ll also want to pay attention to the kitchen.

Image: DisneyA set of three stone ovens bake the dough. These three devices have a fireplace design, only with a twist. The restaurant’s designers built concrete faces of Roman mythical figures in such a way that your pizza seems to go directly into Roman’s mouth. It’s a funny visual that has utility, too. The heat of these ovens bakes your flatbread quickly and evenly. Also, the melted cheese here is truly among the best cheeses I’ve ever had in my life.

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so you couldnt think of another mask reference than eyes wide shut. interesting choice.

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