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WDW Radio # 716 – Italy Pavilion in EPCOT: How Close is The Pavilion to the Real Thing? – From the WDW Radio Archives

From the WDW Radio Archives…

I just returned from our incredible WDW Radio Adventures by Disney group trip to Italy a few days ago, and I am still reeling in the feeling of the Italian “la dolce vita.” So I went back into the archives this week to bring you along with me TO Italy… in World Showcase in EPCOT Center.

For decades, Epcot’s Word Showcase has allowed visitors to Walt Disney World to visit, explore, and learn about regions, cultures, and people from all over the world, and in many cases, countries they may never get to visit otherwise. And with all things Disney, it’s rooted in story, and in the case of the pavilions of World Showcase, the history as well.

We wander through replicas of villages, buildings, shops, streets, and temples, but just how close are the pavilions to the real thing? In the past, we have asked and answered this question with detailed looks at the UK on show 202, and Norway on show 236… and in 2018, on show # 528 we did it again, as we traveled to Italy. For this episode, I was joined by a friend from Italy who helps to compare and contrast the pavilion with the country.

Recorded live as we wander through the pavilion, we’ll discuss the architecture, culture, symbolism, history and stories, as we virtually tour the piazza, shops, dining options, history, architecture, and much more. It’s a fascinating look into how and where Italian culture, traditions and history are found in the pavilion itself, and the attention to detail that Disney’s Imagineers included to provide guests a truly authentic experience. Oh, and we may stop to sample an item on the menu… or two.

I am actually personally very curious and interested to go back and listen to this one myself, having just returned from so many of the locations that inspired and are featured in the EPCOT version.

Have you ever visited Italy? How do you think the EPCOT version compares to the real thing? Is Italy on your bucket list of places to visited? Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.

But for now… sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode from the Archives on the WDW Radio show.

You can listen to the original episode in it’s entirety at WDW Radio #528

Thanks to Maria Riboli for joining me in Italy!

Comment and share your questions, thoughts, and tips in our WDW Radio Clubhouse Community on Facebook or call the Voicemail and be heard “On the Air” at 407-900-9391

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Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello: Hello my friend, and welcome to another episode from the WDW Radio Archives. I am Lou Mongello, and this is show number 716. And each week I'm gonna select an evergreen episode of the show to share with you that maybe you haven't heard before or you haven't heard in a long time.

From interviews to top tens, relevant reviews and guides and way back machines, and so much more. It's a great way to visit or revisit some of our favorite episodes, including ones that you've suggested I share from the Vault. This additional show in your feed is also gonna offer an opportunity to introduce and experiment with a few other different types of content as well in a lot of different format.

So for example, maybe one week instead of a show from the archives, I might do something that is more time sensitive. Instead of a top 10, I might do a top five. Maybe I'll even do a top five or some other shows solo, maybe resurrect my Disney in a minute segment. But in audio format, I also can take ideas and inspiration from you and go from there and incorporate more Marvel and Star Wars and other aspects of our fandom and love of Disney and just see where it takes us.

And for this weekend, other episodes from the archives, instead of uploading the entire episode, I'm just gonna take out the relevant segments, cutting out the intro and outro and outdated news and rumors and announcements. And if you want to hear the full episode, I'm gonna let you know the original show number so you can always go back into your podcast player or feed and listen to the full show there.

So for this week's show, I just returned from our incredible w DW Radio Adventures by Disney Group trip to Italy. Yes. I'm gonna do a full recap and review on an upcoming episode very, very soon. And I'm still sort of. Wonderfully reeling in the feeling of the Italian Lache Vita. So I went back into the archives this week to bring it along with me to Italy in World Showcase, in Epcot Center, because for decades, world Showcase has afforded visitors the opportunity to Walt Disney World to visit, explore, and learn about regions and cultures and people from all over the world.

And I think in many cases, countries that they might never get to see otherwise. And as with all things Disney, it's always rooted in story. And in the case of the pavilions of World Showcase, it's also rooted in the real history of these countries as well. You know, we wander through. These replicas of villages and buildings and shops and streets and temples, but just how close are the pavilions to the real thing?

And way back in the past, we asked and answered this question with detailed looks at the UK on show 2 0 2 and Norway on show 2 36 with people from the United Kingdom and from nor. And back in 2018, on Show 5 28, we did it again when we traveled to Italy. And for this episode, I was joined by a friend who is from Italy, who helps to compare and contrast the pavilion with the country.

And we recorded live as we wandered through the pavilion and talked about the architecture, the culture, the symbolism, the history, and the stories as we virtually toured the Piazza and the shops, all the different dining options, history, architecture, and a lot more. It is a fascinating look into how and where Italian culture, traditions, and history are found in the pavilion itself, and the real attention to detail that Disney imagineers included to provide guests a truly authentic experience.

And of course, we might stop to sample an item on the menu. Four, two. I am actually very curious, just personally and interested to go back myself and listen to this one having just returned from so many of the locations that inspired and are featured in the Epcot version. And I'd love to know from you, is Italy one of those countries that is on your bucket list to go and visit?

Have you ever been to Italy and how do you think the Pavilion compares to the real. You can let me know by sharing your thoughts in the WW Radio clubhouse on Facebook at ww radio.com/clubhouse. Or call the voicemail, tell your story, be heard on the air at 4 0 7 909 3 9 1. That's 4 0 7 900 W DW one. But for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week's episode from the archives on the WW Radio Show.

For many guests, Epcot Center, it's always gonna be, Epcot Center to me is their favorite park in Walt Disney World. For some, it's the attractions, the promise of the future, the festivals, food and wine. Yay. And of course, world Showcase because here we're given the ability and really the privilege of visiting 11 nations from around the world.

And experiencing cultures and cuisines that we probably wouldn't get a chance to otherwise. And each nation isn't just unique, but affords us the ability to wander, engage, learn, and of course eat because how best to learn about a people than through their food. Right. And so for me, excuse me, one of my personal favorite pavilions is Italy.

It speaks to me, not just because of my personal heritage, but for the art, architecture, music, romance, and well, Obviously, but just how close is Italy to Italy? Well, I haven't been there yet, but stay tuned. We've got, maybe cuz there may be an opportunity for us to go together soon in the future, but I know someone who has, and it can help us navigate tour and compare Italy in ep.

To the real thing. I wanna welcome my friend Maria Boley, who was born in Italy, not the Epcot version, the real one. Lived there much of her life, and now joins the ranks of many of us who have moved from the northeast down to Florida. Uh, chow. That's the extent of my Italian

Maria Riboli: and welcome chow. . You're supposed to say.

Lou Mongello: Two years of Italian mixed with two years of Spanish. Did not make for a good combination for me at all. Um, this is a, uh, a segment, a long time in the works. We met however many years ago in Hollywood studios. Um, and the first thing I recognized, what was that? Your accent was not from New York,

Maria Riboli: really? Can you tell?

I can't fake it.

Lou Mongello: So tell, gimme a little bit of background in terms of, you know, like I said, you were born in Italy. Obviously, like I said, you also moved from the northeast.

Maria Riboli: Yeah, I was born and raised in Italy in a tiny place called pe. I'm gonna put Dees here every time I talk about something Italian. So my Thomas called in the Mar region is on the Ari Sea.

It's kind of in the center of Italy, like an hour and a half south of Bologna. And then I moved to New York City 20 years ago with a theater company and New York City has been home ever since. And I just became a Floridian, I think a month and a half ago for a few months. I'm gonna be here for a few months already, my acting studio.

But it's lovely to be here and I have a piece of home right now.

Lou Mongello: Exactly. And I'm, and I'm so excited, not just because I think your accent's awesome, and like literally the first day I met you, I'm like, we need to do something in and about Italy together. So, and I'm gonna promise you, and you the listener, I am not gonna pronounce or attempt to pronounce any Italian words today because that, um, that is while you're, while you're here and as we were walking up towards the pavilion today, you know, I said, Um, you know, we were talking about how this pavilion compares, I think for a lot of the countries in ep.

They try and bring in a number of different parts of the culture and geography and architecture. But here you were even saying this is very much reminiscent of a single area in Italy for the most part.

Maria Riboli: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we're looking at Bens here. First of all, it starts right here where we are standing right now.

You have little bridges here, you have the gunk ride there. And we were talking, I was like, I wish they would've had a little gondola ride in the Italy pavilion. That would've be fantastic. And a little, uh, thing that I, I shared with you before, every time you take a gondola ride in Venice, every time you go under a bridge, you're supposed to kiss.

So please be sure to take a gondola ride with your loved ones. Obviously, don't kiss the stranger. Maybe

Lou Mongello: that's why they don't have gondola rides here in Italy, in in Epcot to be safe. Yeah. To keep it as family friendly as possible. Yeah. So, you know, I was just thinking, let's sort of switch things up a little bit.

We're talking, we know we're in Epcot talking about the real Italy. But in Italy, and this might be a bizarre question, is, is Disney a big thing there? Like is, is and is coming to Walton's world as a tourist, uh, a big vacation destination? Oh,

Maria Riboli: absolutely. I remember growing up and I grew up, you know, watching to Paulino, that's Mickey Ma House and Pino Donald Dog.

We had different names. What's Donald called? What's that? Donald Pino. What does that mean? A little duck literally means like a little duck. But those were the names and, and of course we had nothing even close to World, Disney World. And I remember my first trip to the US I was around 13 years old and we went to Disney in California at Disneyland.

And I remember my jaw dropped to the floor and I was like, I need to live here. Just, just leave me alone. And now you do. And now I do. And now I do. Which time would you wish for? Um, but it's very much loved. I mean, every kid grows up watching the Disney movies and, and now the way I've also, of course, Paris that he opened, you know, a few years ago, that's also a.

A big center. And have you been to the one in Paris yet? Yes. I was there I think three times when it opened. So, you know, many, many moons ago. But yeah, I was there. Mm-hmm. So do you know

Lou Mongello: how Topo, do you know how Mickey Mouse got the name Topo?

Maria Riboli: I think it's just because it's a, it's a tiny mouse. That's what it means to Paulino, small mouse.

And it's a cute little name. And cuz of course, also we cannot pronounce anything in English, so they have to translate everything.

Lou Mongello: So it's kind of true, but it's also because somebody, there's almo, the story of how it it came to me is actually somewhat fascinating. It's not because Italians didn't know how to say Mickey and or Mouse.

Back in 1932, there was an Italian newspaper editor, Mario Nini. Now you pr now you, now you say his name. Is it

Maria Riboli: Mario Nini, you

Lou Mongello: said, I think it's so much nicer when you say it. Say, say what's the cheese that begins with M and has two, two Z. So I was like, like Tiana's here. Um, he wanted to create a, a weekly story in the newspaper.

For kids using Mickey Mouse. And so, uh, later on that year, actually on New Year's Eve, he creates, um, a story about Mickey Mouse being chased by an elephant. Unfortunately, he never bothered to contact Disney to get the name of the rights. So he named, he changed the name from, from Mickey Mouse to to Paulino, which means a little mouse, and then swapped out Mickey Mouse with another.

Which he called Topo. And then eventually about issue seven or so, um, he secured the rights to Mickey and they changed the name to the Mickey Mouse Short and now made that his official name by removing the space, um, in between, because by that time, everybody knew. Mickey as Topo

Maria Riboli: Polina. Yeah, that's the name.

I remember having the little newspaper every week with Topo with all the stories. Yeah. That, that was the name. And Minnie is

Lou Mongello: Topo. Topo. Yeah. To, and I'd love and spoiler alert, when we get to the store, like there's so much Tono on Topa merchandise in there. Great. That's great. So, all right, let's, as we begin sort of our, our virtual tour, and it's a beautiful day.

Like the sun has gone in, there's a cool breeze going on. The music is in the background. I, we have full bellies, so there's a huge smile on my face. But like I said, when you look at Italy, this is not an amalgam of lots of different cities and time periods. Like the UK takes you from the 17 hundreds to modern times.

This is like a salute it, it's a salute to all cities, but mostly Venice.

Maria Riboli: That is exactly what it is. That is exactly, and it's interesting to me because. I think, you know, if you think about Italy, you think about Rome definitely with a collosseum. And then you think about Venice and I'm happy that they chose Venice because it's such a magical place.

If you've never been to Italy, it has to be on your trip. You have to see Venice, and I always say if you go to Venice, be sure to spend a list of one night there. Because there's nothing like walking around the city and seeing all the lights reflecting on the canal and, you know, on the water. It's absolutely magical.

So I'm glad they picked this one. And I think

Lou Mongello: part of the, the deliberate choice was because of the water features. You know, water obviously is, is hugely prevalent in Venice's 117 Little Islands actually, that are connected by all these, um, bridges and 30 miles of canals and waterways. So what we see, you know, in movies on TV is, is obviously very much like the real Venice look.

Maria Riboli: Oh, absolutely. That's, that's the way it is. And of course in Venice, you know, you can drive a car, so you walk around, right? Yeah. There are no cars in Venice. Zero. And say, yeah, you have to, yeah, you just walk around and you take the little boats Andto from one island to another. That's how you

Lou Mongello: move. So you hear 30 miles of canals in waterways, you're like, wow, that's probably the most, the city with the most navigable waterways in the world.

It's not right. Look, it's not. It's not. Do you know what is? No. What is it? Would you believe that there are some cities in Florida that actually have more? So Fort Lauderdale and Fort Charlotte have about 165, but the, the number one city with the most navigable waterways in the world is Cape Coral.

Really? With 400

Maria Riboli: miles. Interesting. Do they have gondolas though? I doubt it. So I'm sorry. And that's not working for me.

Lou Mongello: I know. And we'll get to the gondolas and, and we're actually looking at one now and just how, um, beautiful. But here there's only, there's 150 foot canal and that's, uh, that's the representation.

That we get. But part and parcel with the canal are the bridges that we're standing in front of. Um, right here up against World Showcase Lagoon. Uh, one of the nicknames given to Venice is the City of Bridges. Mm-hmm. Just because again, there are so many to get, you know, over and around Yes, of

Maria Riboli: course. To, to go, to walk around over where you just have to connect that way in the city.

And it's funny cuz like, you know, I had actually a friend who was in Venice. Uh, it was training for a marathon and she sent me, I don't know why she's doing that, but she sent me pictures of her, like really early in the morning running around Venice and there was nobody there. And even though, yeah. What was the say?

I was like, it looks painful to me. It was one of the most beautiful moments, she said, ever, like, running on the bridges and says

Lou Mongello: it was really beautiful sounds exhaust. I'm looking at these like 10 stairs in front of me. I'm like, that's, it's, I feel like Rocky Balboa just walking to the top of those,

Maria Riboli: but then you can eat.


Lou Mongello: but I think you can eat without the running and don't Oh, don't worry. We'll get to the food too. Um, I'm, I'm not even gonna try and pronounce one of the bridges right there. Which is located near the palace.

Maria Riboli: Yes. El pso. Yes.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. See, it's so much better when you say it than I do. This is great. Um, there, um, there's actually three bridges here in Epcot, um, that crossed the canal.

Two of them were actually here on opening day, and actually one of 'em was built. Only about 10 years ago, um, that sort of bring us out to this island, which has beautiful views of world showcase and illuminations. Oftentimes it's used for special events we did at Dessert Party here one night before a cruise.

And it's just, I think one of the, I think this is one of the most beautiful vistas in all of, uh, in all of Epcot. Mm-hmm. Because of what you have in front of you and, and obviously what you have, um, behind you. And this, this island right here mm-hmm. Is known as the aisle of the lake, but I'm gonna let you say it in na,

Maria Riboli: Italian del Lago.

Lou Mongello: So much nicer. You say it than, uh, than I do. But, you know, going to the gondola, you were saying earlier how wonderful it'd be if, if Italy here had a gondola ride mm-hmm. Much like they do in Tokyo, Disney. Which was one of my favorite things that I did there. Mm-hmm. Took a beautiful gondola ride. We saw somebody getting, getting married there.

Oh, wow. You know, here, there and I, and if they had something here, the, I think there would be lines out the door Yeah. To, uh, to ride it. Um, but in Venice there were, um, there was like eight to 10,000 boats originally in the 17th and 18th century. Like, like you said, I didn't realize there was no streets.

But that's was the primary motor transportation. Oh yeah.

Maria Riboli: Yeah. Because it was a major port, you know what I mean? For all the exchanging. And it was like a major, major port in Italy. And so everything was. On boats there, and it still is. I mean, to get around, as we were saying before, you have to be on a that's how they call it, motor boat or stuff like that.


Lou Mongello: But yeah, I think now that they said that it's only around 400 or so of those gondolas left.

Maria Riboli: Right. But the gondolas, obviously, they're more for the tourists. Sure. You know, I'm pretty sure it's an Armin leg to get on a gondola

Lou Mongello: right now, but it's like, it's a mutt. Like you can't, you can't go to Venice

Maria Riboli: without Exactly.

Exactly. It's one of those things that you have to do and it, and it's, it's

Lou Mongello: very sweet. And I ca speaking of sweet, I can't wait to get to one of those things that you have to eat when you go to, uh, to Venice itself. But there were actually plans very, very early. Obviously World Showcase has changed in terms of design and content through the years.

Originally in the back of the pavilion where Villa we'll get to the pizza, uh, currently stands, there were plans to have an attraction back there, which was gonna have a, a walkthrough of Roman. And a gondola ride. Um, there was, before that, that restaurant was there, there was just a big empty wall. And, um, if you look sort of at a, a Google Earth view, you can see there was a lot of land back there that they could have, um, that they could have built an attraction.

But I think one of the things that makes this pavilion special and unique and beautiful is that the architecture, the, the pavilion itself is the attraction. And I think that's, um, in incredibly deliberate. And there is sort of this main street that runs down the center that's flanked by the two buildings.

Um, it's known as, I wanna say it, but I can't in front of you. It's, it's called Welcome Street, which means . Yeah. So there's no, there is no, um, sign. Actually there's a tiny one right there on the side of, of the building. Yeah. But obviously when you first come to the Italy Pavilion, uh, the first thing that you see, the first thing that you greeted with are these, Two, you know, replicas of these 12th century granite columns topped with the two structures that mark the entrance to St.

Mark Square, also known as the Piza San

Maria Riboli: Marco. There you go. You don't need me anymore. I'm gonna, I'm gonna leave now.

Lou Mongello: So there's two, um, on the right is st, uh, Saint Theodore of Amiah. Mm-hmm. Snuff Oh, yay. Um, my Italian teacher would be so proud or disappointed. Um, very, very similar to a legend of, um, St.

George in Germany, sort of the, uh, the idea of, um, uh, St. Theodore laying that, that dragon and, and saving the city in all of its inhabitants. Um, he was actually the first patron saint of Venice, obviously the, the city, um, in all. With, um, its roots, you know, very much grounded in Christianity. Yes,

Maria Riboli: absolutely.

I mean, it's Italy, wherever you go, it's rooted in Christianity,

Lou Mongello: that's for sure. Yeah. And on the left side is a winged lion, and he is, uh, the symbol, he's very much associated with St. Mark, but not very much is the symbol of the city

Maria Riboli: itself. Yes. The symbol of Nic. And it's also right now the symbol of, um, the Venice Film Festival.

That's act, the actual award. It's the lion. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah. But it's the symbol of

Lou Mongello: Venice. Yeah. Obviously Maria being an actress and a director and a coach. That's the

Maria Riboli: trivia. Now.

Lou Mongello: So we were talking about how, and we'll, we can also start walking this way. Yeah. Um, that this street, this entranceway mm-hmm.

Uh, opens up into a large piazza or a square that in obviously here in in world showcase serves as, uh, a meeting place, a gathering spot. But you were saying a lot of, not just Venice, but a lot of towns, Italy have piazzas like this. That aren't just like that for tourists, like mm-hmm. That's still where people get together and gather.


Maria Riboli: It's the heart of every city. And I think it's, it's great that they, that they did this here, because to me that's more Italy than anything else in the, in this pavilion, like that little square where people can just stand around and just chit chat. That's Italy at its best and

Lou Mongello: all the buildings sort of face in.

Mm-hmm. So that it is meant to be the place that gather. There's a sort of a raised platform there for a while they used to do, um, live entertainment and stage shows. A lot of that happens now, sort of on ground level. But as you, um, as you start to look into the pavilion and into this piat and the building, the, the, one of the things I notice is, um, the color palette mm-hmm.

That's used, um, very warm of oranges and pinks and peaches. Um, even the pottery and the walkways are the same way. You know, again, from comparing apples to apples. Mm-hmm. Is this sort of what that

Maria Riboli: that Absolutely, absolutely. That's, it feels very realistic to me and it feels very cozy. There's something about those, this color scheme that just makes you feel very warm.

And, and as you were saying, because everything, it's facing the square, it feels like you're almost like in somebody's house. Like it's very, um, even like the, the, the, the tables that you have, you can eat outside. That's another very Italian thing. Just, you know, you just sit, have something to eat. You sit there for like three hours, you know, that's very, very Italian.

But yeah, that's definitely very faithful to the real place. It's

Lou Mongello: so, for instance, sitting and eating for three hours. Yeah. Because that's why I look the way that I do is because I don't sit for 15 minutes. I sit and eat for, um, for three hours. Mm-hmm. But in terms of, you know, a lot of times when we go through the different pavilions, They are representative of areas or elements of different parts of the country here is meant to represent obviously a very specific location, but for deliberate, uh, very intentional reasons.

The, what we're seeing from this side is reversed from the

Maria Riboli: original. Yes, it is. And that's, I remember the very first time I saw it, I remember looking at it, I was like, I think there's something wrong with it, and I'm not sure what it is because I couldn't pick it up immediately. So yeah, the dimension obviously are different and yeah, the position of everything is a little off.

But still, if you've never been to Italy,

Lou Mongello: it's a good start. I mean, and the book, the, the buildings are still, you know, massive for us, but very much on a smaller scale from the original. And it is, they are reversed from their positions in the original St. Mark Square. And the reason why was for sight lines.

Uh, when Imaginary was looking at the overall, um, world showcase from a distance, they wanted to create a balance with the American adventure next door. They didn't want. The large Doge palace next to the American adventure, and then sort of have this imbalance between here and the gap of Germany next door.

So, um, they placed, I'm gonna, I know I'm gonna, the company That's perfect.

Maria Riboli: I

Lou Mongello: get so nervous. Um, in between. So it, there's a, a, when you look at it from across world Showcase Lagoon, there's a little bit better of a balance and

Maria Riboli: symmetry. Yeah, absolutely. I think it works perfectly. Obviously they did it because, you know, it made sense and nobody does it better than Disney, so it, it totally works.


Lou Mongello: So, sort of going clockwise on our virtual tour, uh, I love this building. Yeah. Before I even knew what it was, I love the color and the architecture and, uh, the, that, that, that sort of gothic, um, Renaissance architecture and, and the, the archways. Mm-hmm. So this is the, um, This is known as the Plaz dok.

See, I like it so much better when you say it. I call the Doja Palace. She says the Plaz

Maria Riboli: dok.

Lou Mongello: So the original was built, um, around between 1,309 and 1424. It was the residence. So it's not the do, it's the Doge Doge, the Doja, the magistrate, or the, um, sort of the, the ruler of the City of Venice, of

Maria Riboli: the city of Venice.

And this panel, and I'm sure you correct me if I'm wrong, but they went through a lot of renovations, like it kept getting, and I know they had two major fires in a two different moments. So a lot of it, like the, the facade kept changing until it came back to Canada regional field that they had with the very first one.

Lou Mongello: So how does this look, you know, if you were to. Be here now and then go to Venice. How different, other than the scale does this look than the original?

Maria Riboli: I have to say, the scale is the, is the most obvious thing. Um, other than that, you know, you, you, you definitely get a feel. And I have to say right now it feels like there's less people here than there because Venice is known to have, you know, a lot of tourists.

So right now it feels almost empty. Um, but yeah, it's, it's very, very faithful. I think they did an amazing

Lou Mongello: job with it. All right. So quick aside, if there was an optimal time to go visit the real Venice, when

Maria Riboli: would that be? I always say September. Okay. Because it's when you know, the kids go back in school, so you have a little less crap.

It's still a zoo cuz it's always very, very packed. But September it's a good time. Definitely.

Lou Mongello: So part of the reason why I love this building, look, even just standing in front on the, the lagoon side is the level of detail, um, from the top and the oles all the way down to that, that, you know, um, gothic and, and Renaissance architecture.

Um, if you look at the top of the palace, you'll see a statue of Doja, Andrea, gritty,

Maria Riboli: gritty, Andrea Gritti,

Lou Mongello: Andrea Gritty, who represents a state, and, and she's kneeling before the lion of Saint Mark, which represents a sort of symbolic of, um, uh, the, the church in Italy. Um, and the book symbol that she's holding right in front of the statue symbolizes the sovereignty of the state of Venice.

Um, but it, you know, the amount of detail because they really, obviously the, the, the, um, it would be doing a disservice if, if the level of. Was not completely accurate, especially for somebody that you, like, you would, would come here and be like, this isn't really what it looks like. It's not a Disneyfied version, it's just a shrunk down version of the original.


Maria Riboli: I, I agree with that. And listen, I came here with some of my Italian friends who are very picky and they walked into this pavilion. They were like, this amazing what they were able to do here. And it's true. You get that feel. I mean, it's beautiful. The details, as you were saying, they're absolutely, even if you look at the windows, you see how many details, even the little dust on the side, like, and it's perfect cuz that's exactly the way

Lou Mongello: it is, right?

That the aging and the discoloring of some of, uh, the, the marvel and the brick and the stone, obviously there's, there's multiple levels. We can only, we only have access as guests to the first, you have to imagine that there's store rooms or offices upstairs. How cool would it be if that was your office inside the, the palace in the Italy pavilion?

But even looking down on, on this level, if you look at the, the capitols, which are the. The tops of the decorative columns that sort of bear a lot of the weight. They sort of, that's why they sort of, uh, broaden out above the, um, the columns themselves. They are, um, they're all the same here, although very intricately detailed.

Mm-hmm. But from what I understand, the one at the original palace, all those, not only handcar, but everyone is unique. Yes. They're

Maria Riboli: all different. They're all different. So that's, you get a great picture spot with every single one that you walk around, but yeah, they're all different there.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. And you'll see as you will elsewhere in the civilian, um, lots of angels represented in, um, lot of, lot of, um, you know, Catholic and religious symbolism perhaps.

Yes, of course,

Maria Riboli: of course. Yes. You always have those even, yeah, even standing here I was, you have the angels right underneath the lion that you were talking before. Yeah. So,

Lou Mongello: yeah. If you weren't, if you didn't know that you were Epcot, you would assume that this building was here for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Yes, I agree. Absolutely. So the, the company LA. The, the bell tower Yeah. Um, is about a hundred feet tall here. It's more than 320 feet tall and almost 40 feet wide in, um, in Venice. So obviously the scale Yeah. Is

Maria Riboli: the, the scale is, it's, it's a tiny bit off, but I think, again, I think they did a great job.

Cause I still feel very massive when you're, when you're looking at it, and that's the feel that you get when you are there. So even though obviously it's smaller, they still were able to give you that feel.

Lou Mongello: And the original built back, um, it was started, it was construction, began in the ninth century, but was built as a watch tower.

Mm-hmm. For, again, like you said, there was the nearby dock in the port. Um, and it, and like the palace itself also was damaged a number of times. Yeah. And, uh, converted from a watch tower to a bell tower. Mm-hmm. And I dunno if you've ever heard, like, there's now five different bells in the tower. Each has a different purpose.

So the largest one rings at the beginning and the end of the workday. One rings at midday, another one rings to summon council members. Another one begins to set it. And I think one of 'em has to be for like snack time too. Just because Do you do like, um, copy braid? Do you do like Yeah, because in Italy, excuse me, much like my parents and grandparents, did you take a little break during the day and have dinner very, very late at

Maria Riboli: night, right?

Yes, they do. And we do. I grew up like that. You have breakfast, then you have a little break in the morning, you have uh, the, the coffee break around 10 or something. Then you have your full on lunch where people come home from work and sit down and have like an hour and hour and a half lunch. Um, and then of course you have is your afternoon snack.

It's usually around five and it was another full on meal and then you have dinner late at night. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: So it's nice to know that I've been doing it right all along and honoring my Italian heritage unbeknownst to me at at home, cuz that's pretty much how I roll all day long. Um, at the top of the company, lay is the Arc Angel Gabriel.

Mm-hmm. Um, like the original, this replica is actually covered in gold, not because it's meant to be, uh, it, it's less decorative than the fact that, um, it doesn't tarnish. And to use a precious metal like that was probably cheaper than having to, uh, clean and refurbish the angel on a decorative feed, which is part of the reason why they also use gold on places like Cinderella Castle as well too.

Right. Um, let's sort of walk through, let's sort of walk through the, um, uh, the, the palace a little bit because there's details both inside and outside. Maybe we can even talk the pull out. So why don't we talk about the, um, why don't we go through, we'll talk about the, um, yeah. The shop itself. Yeah. It's, I don't want to even say it.

Maria Riboli: The

Lou Mongello: beautiful crystal. Yes. Um, so from what I understand, the arches of. This shop are meant to be representative of the exterior of the Sistine Chapel. Um, but in here, I mean, the first thing even before you see anything you smell. Yeah. Um, there is, uh, again, it just reminds me so much of going to an event with a lot of my family members because you smell the, uh, the perfume.


Maria Riboli: it's funny, it's funny that you just said that because I walked in and I got that sense memory of just women walking down via Roma with these beautiful dresses and this smell, this beautiful perfume. So yeah, that definitely feels Italian too,

Lou Mongello: or, yeah. Again, you know, my family originally came from Brooklyn.

It was like when he went to a funeral, everybody was in black and he smelled it before per even walked inside. I love my family to death, but you know, again, look, our old factory senses are the most, are the ones that are most directly connected to memories. So it, it's not a surprise that sometimes you smell things and you know, this reminds me of my mother, it reminds me of my aunt.

Uh, but you'll see that they have, um, A lot of clothing and fine, I mean, fine leather goods, uh, jewelry and a line of, um, fragrances by the Aqua de Parma, as well as the sense they're created here specifically for men, uh, and some for women. And I think Prada also has a line that's exclusive to only here and the store for, yeah, only here in New York.

Maria Riboli: Oh, wow. I didn't, I didn't know that. We might have to try it,

Lou Mongello: I hope by we you mean you. Um, because I'm not sure if anybody wants to be, although it's incredibly hot outside, so it might not be the, uh, it might not be the worst thing. Um, yeah, cuz and this store has changed a little bit over the years. They used to have a lot more, um, Italian themed for a long time.

There was a lot of Ferrari merchandise in here, um, which I think you need to have the car first before you buy the shirt, but, um, they've moved a lot of that to the other side. But, um, the store is very simple, it's very elegant, and as you walk through. You get to really one of my, um, favorite parts of this pavilion.

Oh, look, there it is. There's, there's the, there's the, how do you say it?

Maria Riboli: Ferari Ferari.

Lou Mongello: My, I, listen, I just don't mind. I'm simple. I'm a, my 1984 Ferrari 3 28 gts with the target top one of these days. Audio guys are still on sale, by the way. So, um, but in the back is, and I'm gonna mispronounce this Lama El elegant,

Maria Riboli: uh, worm.

Yes. La Elegante.

Lou Mongello: Yes. The, uh, the elegant, the elegant gem. Yeah. But primarily in addition to some jewelry that they sell. Uh, the first thing that you notice when you walk here in here are the Venetian masks. Yes. Which date? Back to the 1100 when, uh, Doja. Vital. Mck.

Maria Riboli: Vital

Lou Mongello: Close. It sounds like a character from the Godfather, but, um, he, uh, he was victorious.

Over, um, the person he was running against and to celebrate that event, a party called the Carnival. Carnival, yeah. Carnival was given and all the attendees, um, had masks. And the reason why was to hide the differences of the social classes. And eventually the church incorporated these, this event into Christianity became the Carnival of VE Venice, which happens right around Mardi Gras.


Maria Riboli: Yes. That's exactly what it's, and it's interesting that you're saying this because they used to have the, the people used to wear those masks at different times of the year, so not just for the Carnevale, but also like right after Christmas all the way to the epiphany just to hide themselves. Yeah.

Really? Yeah. It was born like that and then of course it developed into the Kana Valley and everything. Yeah. And it's, and you see they all, and I'm sure you know all this, but they all have different shapes and I was actually looking for the one that are right there. You see the white ones that they have no mouth.

It's almost like a prominent, like a beak, almost like a giant, it's almost looked like a beak. That one, the, the tooth right there. The white one. Um, and the reason why they had it like that is because they were able to eat without removing the mask. Oh,

Lou Mongello: now you're talking. That's the one I need to get. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: And then of course they have all the masks for the, um, very famous characters of the carnival. You have colomb, you have ar. Those are all the masks that are very, very

Lou Mongello: famous in Oh, so I didn't realize that some of the masks were representative of individuals or characters. I thought they were just decorative.


Maria Riboli: no. They have, they represent characters. And, and, and again, some of them, they had different meanings based on the people that were actually wearing them at that time.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. And then eventually a lot of these masks were also, Coming full circle to you. Yeah. A lot of these were also used in theatrical productions as well, right?

Maria Riboli: Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah, that's, yeah, that's where, of course then they still do, they still use all those beautiful masks and the costumes that they come

Lou Mongello: with it. And so when Carnival happens, um, is it still very much that costume mask production?

Maria Riboli: Yeah. It's like, it's something you've never experienced in your life.

Like you see those incredible masks and those gorgeous ginormous dresses and, um, It's just, and it goes on for days from one party to another. You go, you know, to one palazzo to another on the canal. It's very, very magical. Yeah. I

Lou Mongello: think we should do a follow up episode where we go during Carneal and we sort of compare again, if we're gonna compare Italy to the original, we should probably do, you know, a bookend episode.

Um, one of the very first videos I ever did was with Giorgio Bak, who is the, um, I guess you know, the, the head craftsman and artist here. Obviously they always have an artist here. Right. Uh, working on was just how intricate and beautiful and delicate, um, these are. I remember I was so impressed too, like, I got one for my mother who, you know, of all the tchotchke, she had her around the house.

She never had a Venetian mask, but they are, they are, um, they are little works of art.

Maria Riboli: Absolutely. And I think it's like if you go to Venice and I guess if you come here to Epcot, especially to Italy pavilion, you can't go home without one of those masks. And I think everybody in Italy has at least one of those on their walls.

Yeah. Or sorry. Yeah. Everybody has a little mask. Yeah,

Lou Mongello: absolutely. Yeah. And if you have never been back here before, um, you should just don't touch, look with your eyes. Um, don't, because you, the oils of your hands will actually affect the masks. Um, but they're beautiful. And some of 'em are made into ornaments.

Some of 'em are made into jewelry. And I guess, you know, if you wanted to, you could take one and wear it to, you could wear it to Carni. But again, some of 'em are, um, so incredibly detailed. I mean, they, they would look beautiful up on a wall

Maria Riboli: too. They're really gorgeous. And the ones that they only cover your eyes were born for women.

So those were the one, the first ones that women started to wear. And then the, the female character of the Kamali is called Colomb. That's her name. And so she used to wear one of those. And then of course, everybody can wear also men and everything. Mm-hmm.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Yeah. They're beautiful. Um, and again, little piece of, and I think one of the most unique souvenirs that you could, um, bring back.

So we were talking earlier about architecture and bridges, and we're standing as you could if you come out the back end of La Gemma Elante. I'm gonna, I'm gonna try my best. Um, you come to a, uh, a small alcove that has access to a backstage area with a beautiful staircase that leads to a second level.

Mm-hmm. That's very non-descript, but is one of my favorite little, um, little sort of out of the way tucked away places here. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: It's really nice. And then we were talking before, this reminds me a lot of what's called Venice . If you wanna translate that, go ahead.

In Venice used to be this little bridge that used to connect Palaz Delk to the prison. And so it was called P Speedi because that was the final walk of all the, the people going to jail. And it was their last look at Venice. And so everybody was like, huh. And that was a little, that little dead man walking.

Yeah, a little bit. A little bit. But it was in PSO Speedi. And so this niche reminds me a little bit of that. So

Lou Mongello: do you know, uh, again, this is not accessible to guests, but do you, so, um, at the bottom of the handrail is a, the, the statue of a woman. I, I tried to, I was wondering if it was Mary. I don't know.


Maria Riboli: what, that's what it looked like to me right now. But I don't, I actually don't know this. I don't know either. No, we're gonna say it's the Virgin Mary. We can

Lou Mongello: say it's, he probably is. But if you come across the way, and this is one of my favorite little details, I love showing people that, I think, because most people have no occasion to come back this way.

But look, even look at the door handles how they sort of, the, the, um, bronze fish, there's, um, there's a carving, uh, of a pretty hideous looking face. Which was, was modeled after BAAs, who was the god of wine. I am not gonna even attempt to read what it says under

Maria Riboli: there. Okay. It says

Very dramatic cuz Very dramatic.

Lou Mongello: It didn't la No, you've met my mother, obviously. He's so, I love my mom. Really very passionate. Um, very, but um, so

Maria Riboli: very short translation. Yeah. Do not pass over here. Like, just stay where you are. You cannot pass. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: So, so something again about in, in old Italian, uh, about secret accusations against smugglers.

From what I understand, this was known as the mouth of truth. Yes. It was. Uh, so you, you, this is something


Maria Riboli: this is like the mouth of truth. It's really in Rome. Okay. And there's this, and it's like this, like really, really big. So she has

Lou Mongello: her arms way out.

Maria Riboli: I'm like, cuz I'm, I'm used to TV people, I'm used to a camera.

So, um, it's usually really, really big and you know, it's known that you put your mouth, your uh, hand in it in the mouth and if you say a lie, your hand will not come back. So that's the, the, obviously the, the legend. But yeah, it's in, uh, it's in

Lou Mongello: that's a much more morbid, uh, understanding of what I thought.

Cuz Maria, this was sort of, um, it was a mailbox that would allow citizens of Venice to anonymously lodge complaints against other people, um, the government, whatever, and report those crimes. So these were at one point in, in the early days of Venice, found throughout, um, specifically for that purpose. So you would write on a piece of paper, your complaint about your neighbor, drop it in there anonymously.

Um, or even the government. Yeah. Without any sort of fear of repercussion. Interesting. Um, against you. So if your neighbor was a criminal or evading taxes or whatever, this was your way. It's sort of like a little snitch box. Sorry. That's exactly what it was. You're so happy they don't have these,

Maria Riboli: these uh Yes.

These anymore. We don't need those. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They probably have those around Venice. I don't, I know. The one in, in Rome is known for, for that. If you say a lie, you, you lose your hand. But I'm sure they have all those in Venice. Yeah. The Italians

Lou Mongello: don't fool around. Yeah. You, you, you, yeah. You uh, you lie.

Yeah. We know people. So as we continue again on our clockwise journey to the, the center of the Piazza, um, I remember over the years a number of different, sometimes the ziti sisters used to be out here, but we're getting to arguably what, what you can say is, is some of my, our we're Italian favorite parts, which is the dining.

Um, To our left is Tuto Lia, which was originally known as Originality. Oh, just you say it,

Maria Riboli: Alfredo Restaurant.

Lou Mongello: That was for about 25 years. The only restaurant, um, that was here at the Italy Pavilion. Uh, it was operated by Alfredo's of Rome. It was the, the parent company was based in Rome. Very, very popular restaurant.

Um, not just cause it was the only one here because the food was excellent. And I will tell you as an Italian, and you're gonna, if you haven't found this out yet, Maria, finding good Italian food in Florida. It's tough. Yes it is. And you come from New York, so it's like doubly

Maria Riboli: tough. Yes, I feel the pain right now.


Lou Mongello: Um, in 2007 it transferred ownership and changed names to the Patina Restaurant Group and is now Tuto Natalia, although it never actually closed. Like they kept the doors open and just as business was going on, Change the name and some of the signage, see if I get this right. Tutu, Italian beans.

Basically all Italy, all Italian. No

Maria Riboli: tutu. Italian to me means like everything Italian. Yeah, everything Italian.

Lou Mongello: Which makes sense because the cuisine inside is inspired by, um, flavors and recipes from throughout the country because like anywhere like the United States where we have, you know, you know, different flavors from New York, this as you would from the Pacific Northwest, as you would from the Southeast.

So you'll have a lot of items that, and the menu is so huge. I love it so very much. Yeah. Uh, and they have a separate. Lunch and dinner menu too. Maybe. Maybe we need to come and eat here one night. Yes. And if we're gonna compare the pavilion, maybe we need to compare the food as well. It's

Maria Riboli: very nice. I'm in, I'm in.

Let's do it.

Lou Mongello: So when we talk about cuisine, that's, that's Northern Italian versus Southern Italian. Uh, from a general perspective, what does that mean?

Maria Riboli: Um, it's different. Like in the north and north of the mountains, you get a lot of meat. And of course where it's cold, you get more stews that are very popular.

And then when you go to the coast, then you have fish and it's the most amazing fish. And of course the, the, the red string that connects it all is the pasta. Because pasta is like, it's on every table at every meal. Always. Always. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: Which is obviously why I have the fluffy physique that I do. It's good for you.

Uh, but they do, they've got a number of different mm-hmm. Um, pastas. There's like 20 different appetizers. Yeah. Which, you know, that's like family style around the table Sunday. If you weren't hungry, that's good. I'm gonna make some more food. That's exactly what my grandmother would do. Yeah. But I see things that I remember from growing up, you know, including, uh, parmesans and, and lasagnas and pasta bowl and yeay, like, which is, is my favorite.

But if you look at the architecture of the building itself, it's different than what you see obviously in the gorgeous palace and even some of the other buildings. It's, um, very elegant. It's very formal, um, uh, inspired by a little bit more of a, a Florentine mm-hmm. Design than, than elsewhere.

Maria Riboli: It's funny cuz like when we, when we walked into the square and we started looking at all the restaurants, my first impression was like, this really feels like Italy, like this niche.

It's the most Italian of the whole pavilion to me, like the way the restaurants are, it's definitely, it feels like you're in Italy right now.

Lou Mongello: And that's, and that's the greatest testament that you can give to a pavilion is somebody coming from Italy. Um, saying it's like that we'll just sort of peek our heads in really quickly because if you've never had occasion to come in here before, um, you'll see oh, just how air conditioned it is.

Just come for the air conditioning, stay for the food. But you see, um, chow good, um, you see just how elegant it is with the, from the, um, the rich dark woods and the carpeting and the chandeliers, the mosaic tile work. Yeah. It

Maria Riboli: feels very rich. It feels very, it's between Rome and Rome and Florence to me right now.

And it's nice the, the mosaic on, on the floor, it's a very nice stash cuz that's very Italian. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: And if you look on the walls inside, you see um, uh, not just the mirrors, but the, the, the Trump Trump, um, the paintings that sort of mm-hmm. Are meant to sort of deceive the eye to give you a sense that you're almost looking out a window mm-hmm.

To where you'd be eating.

Maria Riboli: Yeah. And so you get the feel also that it's bigger and you're, and you're. It and it's beautiful outside at any moment of the day.

Lou Mongello: Yes, absolutely. Right. And the, the imagineers and the artists duplicated the styles of Paolo Veter, verese a uh, a Venetian painter. Mm-hmm. Um, uh, during the Renaissance.

So again, as you sort of peek in, it's just a, it's a beautiful restaurant that you'd feel comfortable having a dinner date or coming with a couple of friends for a formal evening, as well as walking off the promenade in the middle

Maria Riboli: of the afternoon. Yeah. And I notice also all the, the glass sculptures that they have.

And that's very, uh, specific, uh, Venice, Vero Deran or the glass of Moran. So Venice has all those little islands in the front, and Murrano is very, very famous for all the glass work. So that's definitely something that, it's very, very Italian.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. I think we need to come here and do a live Don come hungry, come hungry.

Um, attached to here is, One of my favorite venues. It's like my own little hideaway sometimes. We did a, I did a review with Becky a few years ago, and it's the tu de Gusto wine cellar. And even from the entrance itself, you get that, that feeling of that aged brick, the low ceilings, the, the, the large timbers and the, the dark woods.

And it has a very different feel than any of the other restaurants. Is this, so now is this like a wine cell? Did you find At

Maria Riboli: a hundred percent. This I really love cuz it feels very, uh, very specific and very faithful to, to the country. I actually remember growing up in Italy, in my little town, there was this teeny tiny steria that had a lot of this feel.

You had a lot of like the woods, like the table and the brick walls. And it just is so warm and, and it, it just invites you to stay, just sit, have a glass of wine, chit chat, and you know, Don't worry.

Lou Mongello: Forgot you forgot to eat. Gotta eat because they do have a full, they have a full menu here and, and, um, if you look, uh, on the site or an iTunes, you'll find the view of Vietnam monopoly.

But they have a huge, um, uh, sharing plates as well as full plates of lasagnas and panini. But one of my favorite things, Claire, I'm gonna just, I have to bring you over here. This is my favorite part. There's also a full bar that you could just walk up and walk into and, and one of the reasons why I love this restaurant is that you can just walk up without a reservation, but it's the, the case, the cold case elevating, like you don't even have to be hungry to come here and want to eat some hungry.


Maria Riboli: just ate and I'm like, okay, we've gotta do this again right now. And. So Italian, the way it looks like, you know, the, the, the olives, that's such a, an Italian staple. We have it on every table. And, and especially at night, you eat stuff like this, especially in the summer. You have like capriza with, you know, mozzarella and tomatoes and you have olives.

You have, you know, you have fat, prosciutto, mozzarella, and of course you have to finish with Nutella.

Lou Mongello: Well, of course. So I could just eat now carro artichoke carts. Yeah. Marin artichoke carts. I could just sit there and eat that entire plate all by

Maria Riboli: myself. Yes, I'm the same. I'm like, I adore Karo. And they're like, in Rome, there's a very famous dish, um, called the Roman style, and they're usually like the big ones.

And with Grattan, and you put it in the oven. Yep.

Lou Mongello: You gimme a little couple of plates of this, the capi. Yeah. And look at the cheese. Like I love the, the, the freshly cut. Yeah. Like Parmesan, regno cheeses and the salamis. I could do this all day. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: That's all you need. And that's really what it's, that's a table in any house in Italy.

Like at night, you know, for, for dinner. You have, you know, all those things and, and you find the same in a restaurant, we, you know, Italian, we actually eat very simple food. It's usually two or three ingredients in the plate, no more than that. But the flavor is so strong and so fresh. Nothing comes from a box, nothing comes from a can.

It's very, very fresh.

Lou Mongello: Just look at that little setup of the cheeses and the breadsticks and the breads. And you're right, the Nutella chocolate cake in that. Five or six different,

Maria Riboli: you know what means, right? You know that Of course. I, but just I thought you knew means pick me up. Oh, that really? Yeah. It means that and because there's coffee in it, so it's a little, pick me up.

Lou Mongello: So we see there's, there's a number of different specialties and pastas and gusta. So, um, what, what are.

Maria Riboli: The, so we have

Lan. Lan is eggplant. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: Oh, breaded and fried eggplant. I eat it like it's candy. So

Maria Riboli: good. In Sicily, there is a plate with a, a pasta dish with the eggplant mozzarella and I think tomato. It's one of the most delicious things ever. And then they have fu gra, bon la. It's one of the easiest thing that you can make.

It's just with eggs and, uh, panche that it's kind of like bacon. That's all you need. And it's like a

Lou Mongello: creamy way with the ba. Oh yeah. It's a

Maria Riboli: pass. It takes two seconds to make. It's delicious. Of course you have a ragu with sausage and then they have different, so okay, you have with, uh, mocha, with the Nutella Lakota pi.

Yum. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. And full bar, uh, extensive wine menu. Mm-hmm. Um.

Maria Riboli: Obviously so that it's dark. Yeah. Because that's also the feel when you go to one of those in la

Lou Mongello: It's beautiful here at night. Um, I, I love it here at night, and again, you can, for the most part, oftentimes just walk up with no reservation and, and always find, um, a seat.

Yeah. Um, I remember going there once, um, having little lemon cello and Oh, lemon cello at Lu Mane. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: It was meant to

Lou Mongello: be, um, in the, uh, in the back of the pavilion. I think for a lot of people, this is what not only brings them to, but brings them to the, the back of the pavilion. Because I think for a lot of people, really, Maria, they come to Epcot and they'll look at the map and say, well, there's no attraction here.

Mm-hmm. Let's just walk by. There's nothing to see Vietnam, opoly, um, in, you know, obviously almost deliberately. So in the back of the villa is, is is that, you know, food-based ween need to, to bring you back here. Um, this opened. Back in August of 2010. This also is part of the Patina Restaurant Group family.

They have a number of restaurants here, really love what they do, and more importantly, the authenticity of Now you've eaten at vie Monopoly before. I've never eaten

Maria Riboli: Avie Monopoly. No. You wanna add that to the list? Yeah, it's, it's on the list. It's on the list. But I have like two very dear friend of mine, um, Andrew and Corey.

They're runners actually, and they always do the, the, the Disney races and they always come to Vietnam Monopoly to get their carbs in before a big race. And they love it. They said the pizzas fantastic.

Lou Mongello: I come here to get my carbs before like a big walk. Like I think walking to Vietnam opoly is, is why I need to, um, carb load.

And I've said it, forgive me ad nauseum a million times. One of the things I miss, who am I kidding? The only thing I miss most about New Jersey, Newark area is the food and the pizza is very, very hard to find. And if you haven't had pizza yet down here, and I'm not saying it because I'm just a, an enthusiast.

But this is one of the few places to find good pizza. And please back me up. It's the water.

Maria Riboli: It's the water. It's the water. It's the water.

Lou Mongello: And ex. And explain what

Maria Riboli: that means, because I mean, the water in New York is really good. We are on the, you know, one of the top cities in the country. We have the best water.

And so it makes a difference when you make the pasta for the pizza, the dough, it makes a difference for the bagels. I'm sorry, but it's like, know, they

Lou Mongello: don't even know what a bi alley is down here. Or a kish. A kish, a canne, right. It's the things that we miss, but before we even get to, to the architecture, they, they do the import the water from, um, to a place where it's, where the pH is very similar to what you'd find in, in nap.

The flower is imported from Italy because the ingredients, including the water, really do matter and they make a difference. Absolutely.

Maria Riboli: It makes, it makes a total d I have a, another friend of mine who's in, um, he has a pizzeria in, uh, in, in, uh, New York, and he imports old ingredients from Italy. Oh. Than it, it's, it's a different story.

It, it's just, it's a different thing. Absolutely.

Lou Mongello: And the fact that it's, it's woodfired authentic like Neopolitan pizza. Yeah. Because they, and you can get, you can make your own with any types of ingredients, but they also have a, a lot of gourmet toppings. Like, how do you say, now I know how I say it. How do you say that word right there?

What am I looking at?

Maria Riboli: Calamari. Kade. It's calamari

Lou Mongello: ade. Um, the artichokes and the eggplant and the projeta and the prosciutto. Like the, the price of a pizza is going, is gonna run you starting around $21. But it's worth it because of the, when you use fresh ingredients. Yeah. And the flour and the water, it makes.

If Vietnam Opoly delivered, I would probably never leave my house. Yeah, I

Maria Riboli: agree. I agree with you. And I love the fact that I also do the gluten-free pasta at this one. Cause I think it's important.

Lou Mongello: So you, so you, you do gluten free, so that's important to know that they don't

Maria Riboli: Absolutely. That I can, I can do that as well.

And you know, the Politan has a different, it's a very, very thin pizza. That's the way it's made. And I can see they have a little picture here. You can see this is the perfect Italian pizza with the crust that you get the little bubbles. Yeah, that's the perfect one. That's the perfect one.

Lou Mongello: Which is different than like a New York pizza where you fold it and then the oil sort of drips down your arm a little bit onto the paper plate below.

Um, but they also have pastas, um, small plates. I, I know I did a live review of here a long, long time ago, but it's been a while. Yeah. Since I came back. They used to have, for a little while, they had a walk-up window where we could get individual slices of pizza to go. Like, that's a party right there. But, um, it's beautiful inside.

One of the things I, there's a couple things I like. Obviously they've got, it's a bit of a show kitchen. Mm-hmm. They've got those three, um, the wood burning ovens that are named after some of the active volcanoes in Italy, like Aetna, Vesuvius, and str. Each has a face sort of giving them a, a little bit of a, an individual personality.

But one of the things I, I loved is we can hear, we can walk closer so we can see, plus we can get a air conditioning too. They've got seating for 250 inside. They've got outside seating as well as sort of, um, covered patio seating. But I love the high ceilings. It's so light, it's so airy. You've got those painted murals that look as though they've been aged as well.

But there's something about this that makes me feel to a certain degree, like I'm at a restaurant in Italy, but I love sort of the communal table in the middle. That's what. That cuz when I went to my grandmother's house every Sunday in Brooklyn, there was 27 30 of us around one huge table got 400 meatballs and pasta and it was a, you know, seven hour affair.

And that's a

Maria Riboli: snake. That's how we start. Yeah. It's, I don't know what it's like Italian for, for Italians sake. The food is so important. We take it very, very seriously and one of the thing that we love feeding people, we love that. Like, you can't make me happier if you come over to my place. I'm like, and I can cook for you.

And just, I'm very happy about it. There's so much love that we put in the food and we are very particular about the way we do it. Then you're like the big table. It feels so like, you know, LA Familia, you know, there're family here and, and you share and everything is combined and it's just an opportunity to be there together and chit chat together.


Lou Mongello: You hit on something and I, and I try and I've tried to, there is something I'm putting love into the food. Um, it's not an ingredient that you can see or quantify. But you can tell, um, and I think even here, there's some of that because, because everybody here is from Italy. Every server, every chef is from, they, they know the importance of that.

Um, this is not a restaurant where you go to some attractions at theme parks and, and it's about turnover. It's about getting you in and out. You can sit here and have a long, leisurely, delicious meal over a giant, you know, and share two, three, or seven pizza.

Maria Riboli: I agree. I agree. It's just, it's part of the culture.

And again, it's very few ingredients, very fresh. It's all about, it's all about the food and just, and all the food that brings you together. That's really what it's all about. And

Lou Mongello: so one of the things that they have on the menu here, and I, and I wanna ask you is if that, um, they have a signature non-alcoholic drink, um, called Aqua Frescos.

Mm-hmm. There's lemon blood, orange and strawberry. Is that something that's served and it like, Kids or adults drink in Italy? Is

Maria Riboli: it a combined thing? You say like LA with, uh, it's called AquaFresco Blood Orange and Strawberry. I have never heard of it. Let's go look at the

Lou Mongello: menu. Yeah. I've never heard of, because we, you know, when you see on, sorry, on uh, TV or, um, in movies, you know, everybody's drinking wine all the time.

It's the kids even if you want. So, I mean, is that true? I mean, is is wine very much a part of Yes. The everyday meal?

Maria Riboli: Yeah. It's, it's, you know, I remember growing up, my father always had a glass of wine for lunch and one for dinner, and it was never a taboo. We never grow up. We're like, oh, it's a taboo or nothing like that.

Yeah. And kids start drinking about 12. Yeah. Yeah. Or seven. Yes. Yeah. Depends from the family, but yes.

Lou Mongello: Uh, let's see. Okay, so they don't have it on the, they don't have it on, on the menu? No. Outside here, but yeah, they have a bunch of. Um, they're called AquaFresco is lemon. Lemon blood, orange and strawberry.

They do have some, um, signature drinks as well. I saw you saw the lemon cello mule

Maria Riboli: A little. It looks really nice with vodka ello. Orange juice. Pineapple juice. Pure. Oh my goodness. We might have to go back in. That would be a

Lou Mongello: little refreshing on a, uh, on a hot day to

Maria Riboli: point something out. I'm sorry. Um, they do have one of the pizza with Prosciutto Malone that it sounds a little interesting to me as a pizza, but prosciutto Malone.

So how you say prosciutto, right, right. That's how you say prosciutto and, uh, uh, cantaloupe. That's the summer dish in LA you just, we have

Lou Mongello: my hat as a kid. Yeah. You had a slice of melon with prosciut on top. Yeah. That's dinner.

Maria Riboli: That's dinner. That's

Lou Mongello: was, oh yeah. Oh, that was like an izer. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: Well, yes. The appetizer for dinner.

Yes. Yes.

Lou Mongello: I agree. An appetizer for us is, you know, but I always wondered like, how. Came together. I don't know how the,

Maria Riboli: I dunno who came up with it, but it was a genius because I think it's, you have the sweetness of the fruit and a little bit of the salty of the prosciutto. It's perfect. It's perfect And that's, and it's so fresh

Lou Mongello: and that's why um, and especially around the holidays, a lot of times I won't make it from the kitchen to actually a table because what ends up happening, you all gather around the kitchen as the meat and the cheeses and the artichokes and the peppers and all that's being sliced and you stand around that, you know, here in especially a lot of houses that you're in Florida, you have the big island in the middle, you just sort of stand around the island and just pick And that's sort of the social

Maria Riboli: center.

Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly what it is. And it's, it's funny cuz like. I still do that. That's, I think the, that's the Italian in me, the food. And so even if I have friends over, I do that and people feel like you're doing too much. I'm like, this is not, no, you need to see me when I cook at Thanksgiving dinner.

It's like, this

Lou Mongello: is nothing. We're gonna do a live broadcast from your house at thank from your apartment at Thanksgiving. I got it. I can't wait to come over cuz you've never actually cooked for me. So I need to just, I wanna make sure that you can back up everything that you're saying. Sure. And the fact that I'm, uh, and that I'm starving.

Uh, so you might be able to hear the, uh, the falling water behind me. This is, uh, it's often been called the, the Neptune Fountain or the Trevi Fountain. And it's actually a little bit of both. It's a combination of the two.

Maria Riboli: Yeah, it's a combination. I think it's a little, it's a salute to the fountains

Lou Mongello: in Rome to all fountains, but mostly travel.

Maria Riboli: Exactly. Um, so La Delini, it's in Rome in the. And Pi Navone is one of my favorite spots in Rome, actually. It's this gorgeous, uh, square that used to be a stadium like the Coliseum. That's what it used to be like. And so they had, you know, fights there and everything and they actually used to close it and fill it up with water and have, um, bottle chip and, and it was, it was fantastic.

Yeah, it was really pretty amazing what I were able to do. But, um, so this is a little homage to that. And of course I can see all the little coins in the fountain for good luck. Um, you're sup, if I remember correctly, you're supposed to use your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. If I, if I'm,

Lou Mongello: if I where else it's gonna backfire on you in a big way.

Something like that. Yeah. We're very superstitious. I'll say the Italians are very Supers. Yeah. Top 10 superstitions. Italians have. You gotta walk out, you gotta walk out the door. You came in, you never sit with your back to the door. That could be more of a godfather than

Maria Riboli: anything else like that. Oh. But there are so many, of course, you know, you can't walk under a ladder.

Uh, the broken mirrors, seven years of bad luck. You have. And if you're, if you're on the table, if you are eating and somebody asks you to pass the salt, you have to put it down, you down pass it from one hand to another, you put it down and then the other, oh, I've been doing it wrong. That, that's what it's, that

Lou Mongello: explains a lot.


Maria Riboli: That explains a lot. Yeah. But we have a lot, we have a lot.

Lou Mongello: Um, you, so you also see a little bit of the, uh, the Neptune fountain in, uh, Florence. And, you know, from Greek mythology, it, it looks very much, uh, like Poseidon, the God of the sea, and like the, the Greek God in his left hand, he has a Trident. Um, they, you also see the two, uh, messenger dolphins and the, the con shell, um, in his right hand.

And as you can see, while we're standing here, this is one of the most popular photo spots. Um, probably in, in, not just in the pavilion, but one of the most popular ones in Epcot. Forget the bubblegum wall on the purple wall. No, no. You wanna take it by the fountain.

Maria Riboli: Yes, I agree. It's, it's, it's beautiful and it's just, so to me it also reminds me a little bit of the little mermaid, so I'm sure there was a, a wink there too, the little mermaid.

But it's, it's a lovely spot. Yeah. And you can make your wish,

Lou Mongello: but do it the right way. Right. Throw it over. You're back to the water over your shoulder. Yes. Um, and you know, if you look immediately to the left, um, you'll see this, this stonewall, which it currently is used for a smoking section. I, you know, from a personal perspective, I kind of wish it wasn't, um, because you see that hanging over that wall mm-hmm.

Um, are grape vines. Yeah. Uh, because people I think sometimes don't realize how important the wine industry is. Um, and how prevalent is they? Um, about one fifth of the world's wines. Come from Italy and it's made throughout the entire north and southern regions. I mean, pretty much everywhere in Italy winds

Maria Riboli: me every, everywhere and every single region has, everyone has a different taste.

And there, I mean, you know, so many that come from Italy, you know, for of course in Kiati that's, you know, the, the one of the most famous ones. But you've, every single region has a different taste because of the wine, the, the grapes are different. So you get something, um, sweeter if you like something sweet, a little bit more fruity, something a little more acidic.

It depends what you like. But yeah, every single region has something. Are you a red or a white? Uh, I'm going with the white. It depends. And you know, it depends for the meal, right? Of course. It depends For the meal I do like, like in the summer it chilled white wine with some fish. I'm good to go.

Lou Mongello: So not only are they are Italians, the leader in the world, production, there are leaders in consumption.

So per capita, per capita, They drink 18 and a half gallons a year, as opposed to six and a half gallons in the United States.

Maria Riboli: Oops. It's good for

Lou Mongello: your heart. Right? It's, it's right. It's also like antioxidants and, yeah, it's, I mean, it's fruits I can justify. See, I like how you think we can justify, uh, almost anything.

And you're right, it's not meant, it's not consumed. Like, you know, you're, you're chugging beers at the game. It's just part of your daily routine and, and, and diet and menu of it.

Maria Riboli: It's, it's a way to enhance your meal. That's really what it is. And that's why it's picked very specifically what you're eating because you wanna bring some acidic notes or you wanna be, bring

Lou Mongello: something a little, there's very much an art and a science to, to the wine and wine pairing.

I've tried to learn over the years. I still have no idea what I'm doing. I was told, look at the most expensive one and the least expensive one, and just pick one in the middle. Exactly. And that's the one that you should order. And if you

Maria Riboli: like it,

Lou Mongello: then it's good. Right. And that's, and that's the thing, if you like the wine, it doesn't matter.

What, you know, wine Spectator says, or what this reviewer says, you, Dr. If, if boxed wine from Price Club is your thing, then go for it, man. It's, it what agrees. Whatever makes you happy. I agree. I agree. Because a lot of those are actually from, you know, other vineyards and it's just sort repackaged that way and it's, and it's convenient in the box too.

Yeah. Um, outside here we see one of the, um,

Maria Riboli: siano, they call it Carto Siano. Those are typical in, in Sicily. You see those and they used to have all the, uh, the puppets also with those that they were called. Um, it's, it's a very, very specific thing of Sicily and you see the colors, it's very loud with the collars.


Lou Mongello: So as a kid, I remember I had like a little mm-hmm. Model of this, um, that my uncle or somebody had had brought back form of Italy and it was this little cart and I didn't understand, you know, what it was for or what it was used. Um, it was brought into Italy by the ancient Greeks. Um, and then. Were actually utilized by de depending on the region and the, the terrain.

Uh, they were led by a horseshoe donkey to, you know, carry supplies and then also used at like weddings and things like that as well. Right? Yeah,

Maria Riboli: yeah. Yeah. For weddings as well. And also in the theater with all the poopies ci giuliani. Yeah. So they, they used it a lot. Absolutely.

Lou Mongello: And I love, like you said, the, the bright, vibrant, although you can see again the, the, the dated and, and aged and faded colors.

Mm-hmm. Um, but this cart, uh, offers two different options. It offers gelato and Soto. Yeah. So what's the difference between the two

Maria Riboli: in Soto? It's just that, um, it's usually fruity, um, and in gelato it's, it's a little bit more creamy, so there's milk in it and it's, there's nothing like Italian gelato. I'm sorry.

There just isn't

Lou Mongello: So for people, so how does gelato differ from ice cream?

Maria Riboli: It depends. It's not that far from it. Like if you get a good ice cream, that it's really creamy. It's very similar to gelato. That's really what it is. Gelato, you know, it's usually made, you know, by a family that owns the store. And again, you taste the, the lo in it.

That's really what it is. But it's much more creamier.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Uh, they also have a number of different, uh, wines and drinks. They have the Rosa Regal. It's a red sparkling wine, which by the way, pairs very, very well with dark chocolate. Just fyi. I love

Maria Riboli: one. We might have to try that as well.

Lou Mongello: Uh, Bini lemon cocktails.

Orange, yellow cocktails. And look at this. Wait, they have a tiramisu

Maria Riboli: Popsicle. I'm impressed. I've never seen that before.

Lou Mongello: She's given, she's given it the thumbs up. Creamy tiramisu gelato layered with espresso dipped Lady fingers Topped with cocoa powder. It sounds like a winner. All in a little pushup pop.

Wait a minute, let me just hold on. I don't know if I can actually, I maybe I, I should probably have one just. Just to make sure it, it tastes as good as it looks. So I would like a tiramisu Popsicle, please. Oh, I'm dropping everything. I'm so excited. I'm dropping everything outta my here. Can you hold that?

Yes, of course. Just talk.

Maria Riboli: Where are you guys from?

Lou Mongello: It's de .

Maria Riboli: Welcome. Nice. How long have you been here? Um, it's my

Lou Mongello: first month. Today is one

Maria Riboli: month and one day. Wow. Congratulations. How do you like it? Yeah, I love it. Yeah. Thank you. Very different from back in Italy.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Here is, the weather is totally different. Very much. Just one hour of rain every day here.

Yeah. Yeah. But it's amazing. Good. So right here we're,

Maria Riboli: I like how faithful you are to, to the job. Cause

Lou Mongello: it's like, you know, I'm a giver. I wanna make sure I, I, you know, Represent . Thank you. Oh,

Here we spoon. Sorry. Oh, yes, please, cuz we're gonna share it. Can I have two spoons please? She's behind the man just to avoid any cutie contamination. All right. Here are you, uh oh. Look, there's a little dunky in the front too. What am in the room with this? This one you're gonna, you're gonna pop the top of this thing and, uh, how do I do this?

Oh, okay. There you go. Oh, look at that. It's like, it's like being a little kid, having like the pusher pops from the ice cream. It's like being at an ice cream cart. Except this one has a big fake donkey in the front of it. You go for it. Oh, me first? No ladies first. No, no, no. You go, you go. Hey, wait, I'll, I'll do this for you.

Here, I'll open up your, your spoon. We're being very polite. Well, because that's what we're taught, right? I was raised right? Yes. You ladies first. So here you take that. Thank you. Thank you much. I'll take this.

Maria Riboli: Okay. Like, I'm trying, is it. Ah,

Lou Mongello: good. Oh, look at that. Mm.

Maria Riboli: Oh, this is really good. This really tastes like

Yeah. Oh my.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Oh. And creamy. I just hope my body temperature go down like 30 degrees too. Wait, hold. Keep holding that for a second. Yeah. There's gonna be nothing left to say. No.

Maria Riboli: Oh my goodness. Mm. There's nothing like a good tiramisu.

Lou Mongello: And I like it because it's not overly sweet. I just took it way too big of a bite.

But wait, it's a pushup pop. Why are we not pushing up the pop? We're so doing this. We're making it. Look at that. We're making so much. Oh,

Maria Riboli: wait a minute. Mm-hmm. This is really has the Italian taste of a tiramisu. The creaminess and the, oh. Don't tell 'em when I dropped something. Wait. Here. We're being

Lou Mongello: a little messy right now.

You just take that. Just eat it. Don't even use this one. I'm done. No, no. I'm the sofa. That's all you.

Maria Riboli: No. Finish this. This is you.

Lou Mongello: So for, so for people who we've all heard of tiramisu, what exactly is it?

Maria Riboli: The tsu? You have? Um, the biscuit, that is lady fingers. And then you have the coffee and the . So it's very, we're just like, so God, again, it's very simple ingredients that are just, they combine together and they're so delicious.

And I love this one because it's chilled and it's just perfect. Mm-hmm. It's just perfect.

Lou Mongello: And I love, that's all that last, that last bite is you, I love how it's, it's fun and it's easy to eat. Um, you, we clearly you can share, although I don't necessarily recommend sharing, I'm doing it just for show purposes.

Um, that's a nice little treat. And it was what, five, $6? Somewhere around there. Oh, that was very yummy. I completely forgot what we were talking about. But that was really good. That was delicious. That was a nice little, uh, that was a nice unexpected treat. But as we, um,

what she said. Um, as we, uh, as we round the corner again, um, another statue mm-hmm. Which is a replica of the statue of, uh, Gabriel that is on the top of the company Lane. Hmm. Very

Maria Riboli: nice. Gabriel,

you're like, yep. Yep.

Lou Mongello: What she said. Um, so here's a little kid cut, fun stop, which, um, where you can decorate your little Duffy. In the past they used to have things where you could do like a little, um, uh, Venetian mask on, um, like a little paper, Venetian mask on a stick. But this is one of my other favorite areas, especially on a daylight today when it's a little overcast.

Perfect. I love the, uh, all the potter plants and that, the casual tables, you can sit outside. Um, but this shop, it'll go on the main entrance. This shop is the anno.

Maria Riboli: Oh, go ahead. An Castile, which means it's the wine shop. Castello. It's a castle. Yeah. Yeah. And I can see all the beautiful bottles already in the windows.

So looking forward to see what they have here. You actually purchase here, have you, have you ever purchased? I,

Lou Mongello: I have. Um, I have, um, and I know exactly that the lemon cello is right there. Nice. So there you go. Um, so this is something that I would imagine you would find in Northern Italian places like Tuscany and things like that, like a wine shop.

Where you'd go in, purchase a bottle or four and just go out and share it with friends and family. This is something

Maria Riboli: you would find in any city, any city in la cuz it's just, again, it becomes a staple of the Italian culture to be able to sit down and have a glass of wine. It's like the, the tea time for the, for the British we have the wine time.

And again, it's because you were saying it before, like it doesn't go to an excess. It's not about, you know, going out and drinking. It's about really enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, not nothing more than that. And enjoying the food that comes with it. Of course,

Lou Mongello: what's nice about here too is you can buy it by the wine.

By by the wine. Really? I promise I haven't had any yet. You can buy it by the bottle. You can also buy it by the glass. And there's also, um, and I think it's going back to like the 2011 or 2010 food wine festival. They had two vintages, um, specifically to this store. Uh, Sonya Delia. Mm-hmm. Dream of Italy.

Yes. Bottled, uh, exclusively for Disney parks. And there's a candy. And a, uh, a Pinot Grigio. Um, and it, again, a nice place that you can just walk up, grab something, and then sit outside. Mm-hmm. On the promenade, at sunset with the music in the background, there's nothing

Maria Riboli: better. Mm-hmm. Perfect. And then you kiss somebody cuz it's Right,

Lou Mongello: there's a clearly Maria, there's a trend going on that happens with, uh, you know, look, that's why, uh, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's all

Maria Riboli: about romance.

Talking about something Italian, just my eye went straight to the and that's the, you will have one of those coffee makers in every single Italian house ever. So

Lou Mongello: again, I thought that was something only my grandmother had.

Maria Riboli: Everybody has, this is the only coffee maker that an Italian will trust. That's how they make coffee.

Lou Mongello: Why? So these are, so it's called .

Maria Riboli: Mm-hmm. Yeah. You see the shape, it's very particular. You feel the bottom part with the water and goes right underneath the. The ball before the air. And then there's a little accessory that goes on top. That's where you put the coffee and you don't press the coffee down, you just put it in.

And then a little trick that I learned from a friend from Napoli, actually from Naples, he used the spoon to put, just make three little incision on the coffee that you just put there. Cause it said it breeds better. It's again, it's an, it's an art. And then you, you twist it and you, and you, you close the, the coffee pot, you put it on on the stove and then you hear that, you know, blah blah, blah.

Like it starts coming out and then the house smells like breakfast and Yeah. That's, that's Italy for you. Right. And

Lou Mongello: they even have some lava that lavata

Maria Riboli: coffee lava. And also another one, I wonder if they have it here, it's the ILI Cafe. Um, it's another one that's very, very famous in Italy. But those, those two are definitely the, the top

Lou Mongello: ones.

And there's one specifically for coffee. There's one specifically for espresso and one for cold brew coffee.

Maria Riboli: Yes. It, it's interesting that they're being so specific, like growing up it was one, it was literally this, this shape and, you know, the espresso, it's, it's, everything is an express in, because, you know, when you do the coffee, it always comes out in a small cup and then it changes if you put a little bit of milk in it or you don't like, so sambuca.

So that's, that's the difference. But like, we don't have anything like the American coffee that comes, you know, in big

Lou Mongello: Cups. Right. You're not getting a super vente 36 ounce cuppa Joe. No, it's a little, uh, it's a little espresso. So we're, we're technically in, uh, LA Bottega Italian. The Italian boutique, where you'll find, and the store has changed a little bit over the years, but candies and cookies, and pastas and, uh, I was noticing earlier they have olive oils and spices and like wine, like there's an art to olive oils.

Like you'll see this tiny little bottle of olive oil is about. $22 because it's white truffle flavored, super duper extroversion, which makes a difference.

Maria Riboli: Yeah. It's another major, like the white truffles and the black truffles are, uh, very famous, especially in the, in the center of elderly. Very expensive.

But they get, they, again, you can make oil with it and you can have risotto with those.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Oh, they even sell black truffles. Yeah. And black truffles and mushrooms. Yeah. Pesto and

Maria Riboli: truffles. Oh, very. What, of course. Olives. Olives.

Lou Mongello: Wow. I love olives. Damn. I'm gonna have to turn in my Italian olives are not my thing.


Maria Riboli: I hear you. And a lot of Americans, it's not their thing. I can feel like

Lou Mongello: I can eat artichokes. And I'm not saying I have actually gone to the grocery store in the past, sat in my car and ate artichokes out of the bja. No, no. But I, in theory, it's a moment. You could, you could do that. Um, but this is all stuff for the home too.

I love the Italy themed merchandise. Yeah. Um, it's, it's Italian themed as well as, Italy pavilion theme. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: And it's really, really nice. And they have a lot of different things cuz all the ceramic things that they have. This is very Italian as well. So

Lou Mongello: what's the, okay, because now again, my grandmother had like this with the rooster on it.

Maria Riboli: I don't know what it is. Everybody had the, the rooster in their house. I had one too. Everybody had one.

Lou Mongello: I guess when you become a grandmother, they just give you one. You just, like, once the baby's born at the hospital, they just give you something with the rooster. You graduate,

Maria Riboli: here's your rooster. Um,

Lou Mongello: but also, right when you become a mother, they give you the guilt card.

And then when a grandmother, they give you the rooster. Yes.

Maria Riboli: That for sure. Um, but also all the ceramic that has the lemon motif that's very, very popular in Italy. I actually have a little lemon thingy in my, in my apartment that survived every single move that I've ever made. And it comes from Italy. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: This is very And what does this mean?

Maria Riboli: My wife is always right.

Lou Mongello: I'm not bringing that one home. Oh. So I love how they have this little, um, cold, right? Oh, look at this. This is, look at, this is like, there's little candies and sweet treats. I don't know what's in these. What are these little tiny cones? Wait a minute. What? Some ice creams. Stop it.

Yeah, they're like, little baby. This is like hazelnut. Oh, and I have caramel. Caramel. Oh, we might have to get a couple of these just to Sam Nutella. Stop it. Oh yes. Who doesn't love Nutella? What is this? Oh, the biscuits. Yeah. So you have a little bisco and a little espresso or a little sambuca at the end of the night.

Yeah, that's a good evening right there. I

Maria Riboli: can't believe, like, I'm having a moment because I grew up with some of those little charcoals. This one . This is, um, from Torino. From Torin, and this is really also what's kind in de Nutella. You have the kind of a flavor, but I remember eating those as a child, like they were going out of style.

I haven't seen one of those in I think 30 years. What is this little

Lou Mongello: fluffy?

Maria Riboli: Those are very similar. Like it's, it's a little three bowl, almond and coconut. Yeah. With, uh, the similar to the fe of she, but you have almond treats and of course in batch. Those are

Lou Mongello: very, very famous. Do you think we should try a couple of these?

I think we should. We need to eat. I think I need to get that one. Get that one. And a couple of the little ice cream things. Which one do you want? I saw they gotta get the hazelnut one. Get the hazelnut.

Maria Riboli: And then which one is we, they have so many local parties. I have caramel milk. Yeah. I'll pick the caramel.

You got the hazel right? I

Lou Mongello: got the hazel milk. Okay. Pick out whatever sort of thing that we need, the chocolate that we need to kind remind you of.

Maria Riboli: Okay. You need, cause I'm getting this for you cuz you need to try this. Okay. And

Lou Mongello: then, and get this mixed nut shape chocolate with

Maria Riboli: nut filling. Yes. Those are a little, little egg shaped.

Oh my goodness. How am I crying?

Lou Mongello: Lots of different kit. This is, sorry. I see. This is why we're friends. Look Cause she gets what? The food.

Maria Riboli: So this is, you know this one right? Bianco. So this is a very famous brand in LA that does all cookies and you know, that's what, that's what we call it. But I grew up eating those Those are hazelnut and COA cream.

Stop it. Sandwich cookie. Forget about an Oreo After you eat this, Oreo will be like, no, never again. No, never again.

Lou Mongello: So, so some of these Oh the lemon cookies. Yeah we, we had a lemon cookies. Amini. The little amaretto cookies. This is

Maria Riboli: like, we're literally looking at, do you remember before I was telling you Miranda is the snack that we have in the afternoon, right?

That's what it's all about. Forget it. Like, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna move in in this store.

Lou Mongello: Wow. I've never had so many little cream filled puff pastries, double chocolate biscuits with chocolate filling. Love those alike shortbread cookies. Sure. Let's see. Shortbread cookies filled with hazelnut cream.

Nutella and covered with cocoa glaze and puffed rice. What the, what? Oh, it's just insane. I think I'm gonna have to make up a nation of care package for some of the nation people and send them. I'm just, my goal is to make the people in the nation have the exact same physique as I do. Yeah. If I'm gonna go down, I'm taking you with me.

Need to

Maria Riboli: understand.

Lou Mongello: All right. Let's just make sure there's no other snacks that we can buy first. What else can we buy? Um, so they have a number of little, uh, Pinocchio figures. And so

Maria Riboli: let me see what it says. Cause I can't write

it. Always let your, uh, your conscious guide. Yeah. That's really cute.

Lou Mongello: I like that. I like that. Uh, this is really cute. I like that. Yeah. Oh, that's a really nice one. Yeah. Down there. I've never seen this before. So you see too, they have a lot of the topo and tollini. I love that Tono sweatshirt.

Maria Riboli: That, that's exactly the, the, the, the, the, the writing of the, the magazine that I used to get when I was a little kid, the topo, the font that's the same.


Lou Mongello: So at one point y and I don't see it here anymore, um, and I think, I'm almost sure was in this shop, they had pieces for Mr. Potato Head that were made of blown glass like way, way, way back when. Um, I don't know what just made me think about that. But they had, yeah, they used to have a couple little.

Other tables here in the middle with like little bins and stuff. Put your money away, woman. No, you are not. You just stole my wallet. I did. I'll not wait a minute. We gotta put it away. So this is another Italian thing too. You always fight over money and who's gonna pay? Um, I love some of the, the photos on the walls to Hi.

Um, but I'm so excited to eat this

Maria Riboli: stuff. I know.

Lou Mongello: Okay. So although we almost came to fisticuffs to try and see who was going to pay, um, as a comeback out, um, the side where the pavilion, again, I, I love and esp I love this pavilion, especially Dorn Flower and Garden Festival. Um, they do a lot of these potted plants and potted flowers. Um, which one of the horticulture said.

Is very much what you'll find, you know, throughout Italy, throughout the year. Um, there's even, even the, the fountain that says A las

Maria Riboli: salute, which means yeah. To your health,

Lou Mongello: um, has the, the flowers in it. Um, but I love how the exterior of the building, again, has that, that aging sense to it. Mm-hmm. Um, that, that you get a sense.

Uh, and listen, obviously, Maria, you know, tradition, we don't eat at tables. We eat on top of garbage cans. You've already, you've already eaten mostly everything. Look at those little itty bitty baby ice cream cones. I know. Is it ice cream? Is

Maria Riboli: that what it is? Yes, that's exactly what it is. A tiny ice cream cone that just because I'm in public, I'll try not to eat in one bite because I don't wanna embarrass myself.

Lou Mongello: Those are, that's why I do audio and not video. Look at this. This is, they're tiny little, they're like $2 each. Yeah, it's probably the size of, so you can Oh wait. Oh, I could open em. Mine. Yeah.

I'm like ripping it a apart.

Maria Riboli: Oh my goodness. Which one is, it's so rich. I got the caramel one. It's all chocolate. You can taste the caramel. It's so cute. It's so tiny. Which one?

Lou Mongello: You do that. I think I got the, uh,

Maria Riboli: hazelnut. Yeah, you got the hazel lamp. It's stupid,

Lou Mongello: cute. You almost can stick the whole thing in your mouth, but I'm trying not to show.

You can have a bite, like Yeah,

Maria Riboli: it's very similar.

Lou Mongello: Oh. Mm-hmm. So, hmm. Right. It's not really ice cream. It's like eating a Nutella. Yeah. Like a new tele. Yeah, but

Maria Riboli: it was like in the here. It was in the, it wasn't like fridge kind of area, right? Yeah, yeah, because

Lou Mongello: Florida, yeah,

Maria Riboli: the caramel in that one, right?

Lou Mongello: Mm-hmm. Oh, I, I just started talking into the ice cream cone, cuz I didn't realize I didn't have the recorder in my head. So excited. We are, um, it's very rich. Everything is better with Nutella. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And is, is Nutella, is it something that's eaten? Like, again, forget the ignorant question, but is it eaten like a lot and just by kids or by adults?

Maria Riboli: Sorry, I'm just stopping my face with them. Chocolates, um, everybody and it's our peanut butter and jelly. That's the Nutella, like again, the five o'clock snack de marinda. I grew up with a fresh from the bakery bread and just Nutella on top. That was my snack. Mm-hmm. Ooh,

Lou Mongello: it's so good. I say all, you know, again, I'm savory over sweet.

Mm-hmm. This is, so this mm-hmm. Might be the perfect little snack. Yeah. It's the right size. Mm-hmm. It's small enough that you're not really supposed to share it probably. Mm-hmm. But you got that, um, the nice fresh crunch from the cone and just like densely packed in, you tell 'em mm-hmm. With little pearls and whatever on top.

Oh, that's yummy. That's $2 and 40 cents really, really well spent.

Maria Riboli: I agree. And it's funny cuz like, you know, in Italy when you have those cones, the ice cream cones usually just at the very bottom at the tip. Mm-hmm. You have, it's all filled with the chocolate. So I remember eating it and getting to the very bottom.

That's the, the favorite part. And I love that they did the whole cone in chocolate. Cause I'm sure somebody was like, we need to do that.

Lou Mongello: Mm-hmm. I almost want to do a video or like a top 10 thing with that. Mm-hmm. But I'm afraid the curse of Luke, cuz usually when I do a video of something, it goes away.

But that's, um, That's a must do dessert. Like, I'm looking around like, I want to tell somebody I know. Why are you people walking by this pavilion? All right. Open up these other things too. Oh yeah. Wait, let's save that. Uh, yes, you, whatever order you got, you need to try this.

Maria Riboli: So now what is this? So this is called and it's really like, it's from Torino, but it's janya based chocolate.

Lou Mongello: So they, I don't know what any of those words meant. You only heard, the only thing I heard was chocolate.

Maria Riboli: It's, it's a kind of anot thing. Try it.

Lou Mongello: So it's like a little bit larger than like a piece of her seed, but it's like a little pyramid shape. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You wanna break it in half or, oh, how is

Maria Riboli: that?

Oh, oh, I, it's filled. Oh, this one is a little fancy, has a little heart in it.

Lou Mongello: Oh. Mm-hmm. That's lovely. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Wow. That little maybe glass of like red

Maria Riboli: wine. Right, right. You just have the little something to just wash it down. And he melts in your mouth. You feel it

Lou Mongello: like it's, you don't even have to even chew it.

No, it just falls apart. Okay. What doing next All do? The little nut thing. There's a little, it looks like an Easter egg, but it, it's almost shaped like a, it's, it's designed to look like a little Yeah. A nut or something.

Maria Riboli: Yeah. That's little off Easter ish egg. It's gonna take me like half an hour to find the right place to open it.

Oh, this is not helping at all. Oh, it was the other way. Almost there. Ah, all right. I'm gonna take a bite cause I'm already holding it. This is not pretty at all. It really sticks to it. The paper.

Lou Mongello: It's also a thousand trees outside. Mm-hmm.

Maria Riboli: Very creamy.

Lou Mongello: Mm-hmm. Oh.

Maria Riboli: Oh my

Lou Mongello: goodness. Super soft. It just melts away.

Melts away. The other one, you have to take a bite out of. This one, you could just put in your mouth and not even chew, but it's

Maria Riboli: not overly sweet. Right? It's sweet, obviously. I mean, it's chocolate. You feel it, but it's not. It has a little bit of a bitter taste. I like

Lou Mongello: the, I like dark chocolates. The dark chocolate.

Yeah. And all these, these little sample chocolates are like 79 or 99 cents. That's so very doable. Which is a really nice way to sample some of the flavors without having to do a full, uh, sit down menu or buy a giant bag of chocolate that you might not enjoy. But trust me, you'll enjoy these. All right.

You'll go for it. Now these are little, they look like little coconut balls. Yeah,

Maria Riboli: that's exactly what it is. Almond and, and coconut. Probably the size of a ferre, Roche, sorry. We're having a full on me people here. How do we like it?

Lou Mongello: That's not what I was expect. It's crunchy. Its like a crunchy mm-hmm.

Almondy outside. Mm-hmm. And then like a, a really light, fluffy, creamy coconut. Mm-hmm. Inside. And then with coconut flakes on the

Maria Riboli: outside. Did you get to the nap? Mm. There's a little nap. Hmm. You got it? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Oh. And it's very cream, but it's very light. Doesn't feel heavy at all. It's called If you guys are looking for, it's the name Rafa

Lou Mongello: not super sweet.

It's, um, it's not he heavy at all. I was afraid it was gonna be like a really heavy mm-hmm. Um, oy. That's wonderful. I'm looking around with a big smile on my face. Like that is, that is a wonderful little treat. And that's one, one of the things I love about World Showcase is the ability to do exactly what we just did, to walk through, to wander, to get little samples, to understand and to see how.

Similar or more importantly, how different, um, the, the cultures and especially the

Maria Riboli: cuisines are. I agree and I think it's like, you know, it's so different for me right now that, you know, I live here and I'm like 20 minutes from the park than when I used to come for vacation. You know, you come here on vacation and you have few days when you kind of quote unquote rush through the park a little bit.

Of course. I mean, you try to do and see as much as you can and you don't really have the time to slow down a little bit, and that's the Italian way to just slow down and enjoy. Right. The smell the roses a little bit. But I think this was the perfect example of being able to do that, even just to take a really nice walk around and we, we didn't even eat at a restaurant, you know, we just walked around and have a few snacks.

So this is definitely a nice

Lou Mongello: way to work and we didn't even touch. There's also the little, um, the gelato stand out there as well. You can also get espressos and cappuccinos. Oh, may, maybe we should walk over there. Just maybe a little, like, they have like a little frozen coffee drink right now. Would be, it's like, it's one of those

Maria Riboli: things that like, we need it.

We need

Lou Mongello: it. Just, that's yours. That's yours. No, that's all you. No, I can't have it. No, I can't. I'm, I'm, um, so much I gave him up for Lent. Um,

I'm to walk back. Okay. I always feel, especially on days like today that we're walking off the calories, so. Okay. And calories don't count when you're

Maria Riboli: recording. Okay. That's good to know. Oh my goodness. I mean, I'm just gonna eat the whole

Lou Mongello: thing. Go ahead. Just popped it, it popped the whole thing in your mouth.

So originally the, the donkey cart used to be out here, and now they have about six or seven different wines as well as, um, cold beverages and coffees. Mm-hmm. So they have Italian beers, sparkling waters. Um, so there's the. And lemon. Yeah. Sodas.

Maria Riboli: I don't know what, what they have. Like La Cha is kind of like a Fanta uh, it's an orange soda.

Lemon is the same, a lemonade, but a little bubbly. Hot

Lou Mongello: coffees. We'll have to see. Maybe if they've got something a little, you know, to cool us down and just cleanse the pallet, maybe

Maria Riboli: Yeah. Or they have a lemon tea.

Lou Mongello: We, we both, we could just get both of them. Oh yeah. Yep, yep. And so before we do it, we won't, um, we won't, we'll do this, uh, off the air so we can, we don't take up the spots in line.

Uh, I think Italy is such a great example and representation of the history and the, the details. And I think there's such opportunity here, not just for us as adults, but I think if you are a parent, yeah. You have a, people say there's nothing for kids, quote unquote, there's nothing for kids to do. In Epcot.

I think as parents we have the opportunity to take them through here because everybody is from Italy. Mm-hmm. Or from Japan, or from Norway or Erindale, whatever. You have the opportunity to talk to them to learn about their culture. You were speaking Italian to the girl behind the counter, which I loved.

I'm sure she enjoyed and appreciated, um, too. She's been here for about a month, but you don't have to have an attraction per se, on, uh, a guide map to make these pavilions attractions.

Maria Riboli: I agree. I agree a hundred percent what you just said, and especially the talking part. Just go up to one of those cast members here and just ask them about their cultures or what's your, what their favorite thing on the menu, because I know they love to share and they're so friendly.

Then they will tell you things about the culture that they really know. Cause again, you're right. I was talking to a girl in, in a store, she just moved here a month ago. She's fresh off the boat like I was 20 years ago. And it's different for me, obviously, you know, 20 years ago. And she just came from Italy.

It's, you know, it's her cult. She lives there and I can, I can feel it the way she was talking and everything. She was beautiful. And so I think it's one of the most important thing, go from one familia to another and chi chat with them. And another thing that I just wanna point out, also, be sure to see the parking night.

Yeah. Right. Because there's something about, again, scene with all. And you have the lagoon right in front with the, with the water. There's something very, very magical about it. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: Like, take your time. As you wander through, talk to the cast members. That's what they're there for. All the things that, that we wanted to show you and, and point out to you they can speak to as well and, and sort of share stories from their experiences back in Italy, I think you're right.

Sitting outside here mm-hmm. With a, some fun snacks or a glass of wine or being here at night and watching illuminations. Um, I think this is one of the more beautiful pavilions, especially when it is lit up at night. So I think the play is you go make a late reservation for dinner or do, do a little tuda gusto.

Mm-hmm. Order pretty much everything off the menu. Call me. I'm like 15 minutes away, I'll meet you. No problem. Um, and then you come outside, you grab. Prosecco, a bottle of wine, a glass, I mean a glass of wine or, or a bottle of wine, whatever. No bottle of wine and a straw, however you decide to roll, um, and enjoy illuminations and the promenade.

And I, I love the fact, and why I warned you to come on was not just for the food, but to get a perspective from somebody that has not just seen it as a tourist, but has lived there and can say, yeah, this is exactly what it looks, and more importantly, what it

Maria Riboli: feels like. Mm-hmm. I agree. And it's like, you know, even right now that we're standing right outside of it, there are so many people just gathering in the center of it, in the, in the, in the piats, in the square, just sitting on the steps.

And that's so something very Italian to do. And I think, again, because of the way it was designed, it attracts people to do that. They were able to bring that kind of feeling to, to the pavilion. And it's, it's one of the most crowded pavilion when it comes to just chill out. And that's exactly also what Italy is all about.

Lou Mongello: But I, you know, we talk about it all the time. The reason why we come here and the reason why we come back. And I think the reason why we like this pavilions and obviously there's a connection for us individually, is the way it makes you feel. Yeah. And there's a warmth and a friendliness and an authenticity to it that reflects not just Italy, but what you find in all the other pavilions as well.

So, um, this is not meant to just be a guide for you to slow down and appreciate this pavilion war, but I think really appreciate all of world showcase. Yeah. As a whole, take your time, you know, try and I, when I say go try a restaurant, maybe you haven't tried before, it's a great way not just to have a good dining experience mm-hmm.

But to really learn about the people and its. We will definitely be back because now we have got to go and bring this full circle and, uh, and dine here together. I can't thank you enough for bringing your insight and your experience and the love and the family and the really cool accent today. The

Maria Riboli: accent comes with a pack.

I just, so that's, that's a, that's easy for me. But thank you. I've been, it's funny, like I've been following you since the very beginning. Can you imagine that? Really? Yeah. I was thinking about it the other day. I was like, I, I was listening from the very, very beginning back in New York and I was walking in the city listening to Lou, talking about, you know, Disney.

And I was like, oh, it feels good. It feels like I'm there. You you, you're able to do that. And, and then of course we met and became friends. And to be able to do this is, it's a gift to me. Trust me. So thank you very much.

Lou Mongello: No, this is wonderful. Thank you. And for you, the listener, if you've been to Italy, if you've walked to this Pav Pavilion before, let me know.

Let us know what your favorite part of the Italy pavilion is. You can call the voicemail at (407) 900-9391. Go to the Facebook group at WDW radio.com/community. That's where the conversations and communities take place. And, uh, let me know what your favorite part of the Italy pavilion is. My favorite part today has obviously been able to spend and share some of this time with you.

And, uh, I can't wait to do it again and eat all the things. Yeah.

Maria Riboli: Then we need to eat all

Lou Mongello: the things and come over for Thanksgiving. Yes.

Maria Riboli: Yes, please. And Christmas, yes. On Christmas. Forget about it. Forget about it For Christmas. The, the, the cakes. Oh, no.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Stretchy pants are a bus. Yeah. All

Maria Riboli: the way. Grazie