The sound of accordions, the scent of pesto and garlic…you must be in Italy. The Italy pavilion is a dearly loved stop at Epcot’s World Showcase for many guests, but a few may stop to wonder where some of Italy’s more common landmarks – the coliseum, the Sistine chapel – are hidden away. Instead of introducing guests to the splendor of Rome of the artistry of Florence, Disney imagineers chose to bring them to Venice.
But why? Disney imagineers usually have a reason for such choices.
In all actuality, the selection of Venice as the primary location for Epcot’s Italy was a careful choice. The pavilion’s main area is a wide, sunny courtyard inspired by the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s square) in Venice. That square was famously called the “drawing room of Europe.” It welcomes the world to sit down, relax, and share a warm conversation. Even in the hustle and bustle of the modern world, conversation, laughter, and music ring out from St. Mark’s square rather than the sounds of traffic or motors. The Piazza San Marco is a place filled with cafes and vendors, a haven for buskers and performers who delight onlookers. It is a sliver of a gentler age where people have time to talk and entertainment is live rather than streaming.
It was that unique feeling that Disney sought to capture when they designed the World Showcase for Italy. They wished to capture Italy as a place of conversation and camaraderie, a crossroads of the world, and there was no place better for that than Venice.
Do you love Italy in World Showcase? Was Venice a wise choice?