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Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

Labirinto della Masone, the world's largest labyrinth can be found just on the outskirts of Parma. It is even included in the Guinness Book of World Records, thereby proving its claim. Over a decade in the making, it opened to the public on May 2015 and is the brainchild of Parma-born art publisher and collector Franco Maria Ricci. Ricci has always been fascinated by the history and symbolism of labyrinths, and at first he tried to involve his friend Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), the famous Argentinian writer and “magical realist” of the labyrinths of life, in the realisation of his irrational dream, but Borges declined, saying that the biggest labyrinth in the world had already been created – the desert. But Ricci did not give up and eventually realised his dream.

Foto: Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

The Labirinto della Masone is formed in the shape of a gigantic star, the geometry of which is best appreciated from the air, although the view from the tower at the entrance to the labyrinth is also quite good. The labyrinth walls are made of 200,000 bamboo plants of various size and type, some growing three metres and taller. Ricci purposefully chose bamboo because it’s one of the fastest growing plants and, seeing as he’s already over 70 years old, he wished to see the maze completed still within his lifetime.

Foto: Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

Before delving into the depths of the labyrinth, each visitor is provided a graphic visualisation of the maze. Actually, you have only two choices: follow the marked route like a dutiful student...or allow yourself to get lost. If the first option usually takes about 30-40 minutes to complete (depending on your innate sense of direction), the second option might require several hours. And that’s exactly the way Ricci planned it. Like Borges, Ricci believes that the labyrinth is a state of the soul, a symbolic path through life that includes hardships, apparent dead ends and the wonder of unexpected solutions. Also, the feeling of becoming lost is one of the strongest emotions and therefore also an unforgettable one. And, believe it or not, you can get lost in the Labirinto della Masone in just a matter of seconds.

Foto: Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

Sometimes sunlight enters the paths between the tall, triangular “roofs” created by the tops of the bamboo trees. But in other places the trees form ghostly jungle caves. At the centre of the labyrinth is a symbolic “city”, complete with a main square and a pyramid-shaped chapel. Even though you can see the city from many points in the labyrinth’s forest of bamboo, it has only one entrance. Like a promised land, the centre of the labyrinth seems so close...but you can only enter it once you’ve meandered through all of the pathways. And passing through the pyramid is also the only way to get out of the labyrinth.

Foto: Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci

In all, the labyrinth occupies eight hectares, and the complex also includes a library and art gallery displaying Ricci’s impressive collection of art. The artwork is mainly from the 16th and 20th centuries and includes such gems as a bust of Pope Clement X made by Bernini. FMR, the publishing house founded by Ricci in 1982, was at the time one of the pioneers of art books as design objects. It printed books on handmade paper with black silk covers, and many of the books were themselves works of art, especially considering their very prominent authors, among whom were Borges, Umberto Eco, Octavio Paz and Peter Bloch. Ricci sold his publishing house in 1998 for 10 million euros and invested the money in the labyrinth, thereby literally making it his life project.

Str. Masone, 121, 43012 Fontanellato PR
www.labirintodifrancomariaricci.it

10/2015

Intro photo: www.parmaincomingtravel.it
Photos: www.anothertravelguide.com

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