The Italy pavilion in Epcot is a mirror image from real life. In Venice, the Doge's Palace (the pink and marble building) is on the right, and the Campinalle (the bell tower) is on the left. In real life there is a church blocking the view from the Epcot position. I know, because I was in Venice a few years ago. The story I heard was that the Imagineers felt that they couldn't replicate the experience of seeing the real thing, so they reversed it.
REPORTED: Harry Walker 02 JUL 00
The Italy pavilion as we see it today is actually only half finished. A planned expansion to incorporate elements of southern Italy, including Roman ruins, was cancelled. It was originally scheduled for completion in 1983.
REPORTED: The WDWGuide 16 JUN 01
There are pillars that surround one of the buildings. The pillars are decorated with several kings, and each king is holding a crystal or cannon ball and sword, except for one of the kings on one pillar, who happens to be holding a bowling ball! Hey, the holes are shaped like a Mickey.
REPORTED: Liz Edwards 21 JUL 95
CONFIRMED: PPC Products 31 AUG 95
CONFIRMED: T.J. Sullivan 07 AUG 96
For those people who have a difficult time finding it, walk to the right corner of the left building (facing it) and it is the 5th column from the front. It is to the right of the door to the shop with fish handles.
CONFIRMED: Joy Kovacs 31 AUG 96
On the top of one of the pillars towards the inside, in the Italian Pavilion the King (who normally is alternated holding a sword and canon balls) is holding a bowling ball.
CONFIRMED: anon 08 OCT 97
CONFIRMED: Tom and Renée Shaw 27 DEC 97
Most cast members new to Epcot are taken on a tour of the park for a portion of the day. My tour guide pointed out that located within the Italy Pavillion area, with your back to the lagoon, the large building on the left contains large white pilliars. If you count from the the corner pilliar back, not to the left, counting 5 deep (there should be an entrance to a specialty shop right next to you), closely inspect the characters engraved within the pilliar, I believe they are kings. All the kings on all the pilliars are holding some type of round object but unique to that 5th pilliar is a king that is holding....a bowling ball. Look closely, you'll see it!!! and Good Luck!!!
CONFIRMED: anon 24 SEP 98
Yes, the bowling ball is definitely there. The last time I was there, a tour was being given to future cast members. As the tour was going on, I eavesdropped and learned that the reason a bowling ball is there is that when Imagineers create their works at WDW, they are given the freedom to put their "signature" on what they do. They can't put their names on their works, but they can do other things. The particular Imagineer who created those pillars loved bowling, so he/she put a bowling ball on the pillar. That is the story I heard about why there is a bowling ball in Italy.
UPDATE: jason 14 NOV 99
CONFIRMED: Kasey and Jennifer Oconnor 01 JUL 00
Stand in the Italian Pavilion facing the tower. There's a store to the left with pillars supporting hte upper floor. The pillars have small ornate carvings of roman gods type figures, some of which are holding small spheres. One of the spheres has a hidden Mickey on it. At first I thought it was a ten pin bowling ball, but I now realise what it is.
REPORTED: Jonathan Turpin 10 MAY 02