A day at the museum

 

Lose yourself in the green: the Masone Labyrinth

Today Italian Traditions takes you on a unique and exclusive place of the BelPaese, in the largest labyrinth of  bamboo in the world!

An extraordinary cultural park. A project born from the brilliant mind of the publisher Franco Maria Ricci, a passionate art collector and bibliophile, who has devoted his last ten years to create, in its properties of Fontanellato, in the province of Parma, a brilliant visionary project: a monumental green labyrinth. Today Italian Traditions takes you on a unique and exclusive place of Italy, in the largest bamboo labyrinth in the world!

 

The labyrinth has a star-shaped covering 7 hectares. It is located in a large area populated by many thousands of bamboo species and bordered by towering rows of poplars. Inspired by the classic form of the Roman labyrinths, with four interconnected fields that are arranged around a central square, it introduces crossroads and bifurcations. By contrast in Roman labyrinths there was only one path.

"Labyrinths have always fascinated me. Along with gardens, they are one of the most ancient inventions. I first dreamt about building a labyrinth twenty years ago, when I frequently had one guest in particular stayng at my house in the countryside near Parma - a friend and an important contributor to the publishing house I had founded: the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It is the largest maze in the world, at least for now, and also one of the largest bamboo plantations in Europe, " said Ricci.

Designed together with the architects Pier Carlo Bontempi and Davide Dutto and part of the prestigious circuit of the Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, the Masone labyrinth stretches over three kilometers. The varieties of bamboo in Masone were imported and cultivated for a long time to be perfectly acclimatized and integrated into the local landscape. The choice of the bamboo is due to the higher rate of growth than the traditional essence of the maze, boxwood. Each corridor is three meters wide.

In addition to a Catholic chapel, inside the park there are about five thousand square meters of space devoted to culture: a museum, which houses a permanent collection, a large library and spaces for events, concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.

The museum houses the Franco Maria Ricci art collection with five hundred works from the sixteenth to the twentieth century and a library that holds the complete works of publishers and printers Giambattista Bodoni and Alberto Tallone, in addition to the work of the publishing house founded by Ricci.

The main task of Franco Maria Ricci Foundation, owner of the Labyrinth, is to preserve books and the art collections of its creator, encouraging cultural activities and entertainment. Another important aspect for Ricci is to promote the bamboo use –a  hardy, exuberant and evergreen plant – that thanks to its its delicate green curtains, can be an appropriate “make-up” to those simple industrial halls that often ruin the Italian landscape.