The country known for copycat phones, branded bags and even an Austrian
village has another ambitious project - this time it's a replica of an Italian
A district of Wuqing, located on the outskirts of the city of Tianjin,
China, features a "Florentia Village" with a grand canal flowing through it,
with copies of old Italian-style architecture and Florentine arcades, bridges
and a building that resembles a Roman Coliseum.
This village also has a shopping centre which covers an area of some
200,000-sq meters and was constructed on a former corn field at an estimated
cost of US$220 million (S$281.9 million).
Even a footpath near the canal's bridge is decorated with a Venetian Lion
This is not the first European town replicated in China. In the southern
province of Guangdong, a US$940 million (S$1.1 billion) clone of Austria's most
picturesque villages, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hallstatt, recently
opened its doors to visitors.
The "Made in China" version of the lakeside European village even has an
exact replica of its church tower, European style wooden houses and other
properties that will be sold to investors.
The project, which was conceived by a Chinese mining tycoon, initially
sparked outrage and surprise among some Hallstatt villagers, but local
authorities in Hallstatt have since softened their stance, seeing a rare,
marketing opportunity at the heart of one of the world's fastest growing
A bridge crosses a canal that flows through the centre of the Florentia Village.
Pedestrians walking down an alley that resembles a Florentine-style street
towards a building that looks like a Roman Coliseum.
A man and a woman walk through a building that resembles a Roman Coliseum.
A man smokes a cigarette as he stands on a bridge over a canal that flows
through the centre of the Florentia Village.
A Venetian Lion emblem adorns the footpath.
A Chinese national flag flies from buildings resembling those found in an
The grand canal that flows through the centre of the copycat village.
A security guard drives a small vehicle through a carpark outside the
surrounding walls of the Florentia Village.