The Masone Labyrinth in Fontanellato , in the province of Parma, holds a particular record: it is the cultural park that hosts the largest labyrinth in the world. Located about an hour and a half drive from Milan, this bamboo labyrinth it is certainly the fundamental attraction of the park, but also many other interesting wonders await you.
Labyrinth of the Masone
The Masone Labirinto was born from an idea of Franco Maria Ricci , a well-known Italian publisher and designer. The bases of the project were laid at the beginning of the 2000s, thanks also to the meeting with a young architecture student at the University of Turin (Davide Dutto). The final idea dates back to 2005 and five years later the bamboo labyrinth near the designer’s estate becomes a reality. Starting from 2010, however, the construction of the buildings began, used to house the personal art collection of Franco Maria Ricci. The works continue fast, so much so that five years later they can be said to be finished. The inauguration of the Masone Labyrinth thus takes place on 29 May 2015.
As a whole, the cultural park wanted by Franco Maria Ricci extends for about 7 hectares. It owes its fame above all to the labyrinth, the largest ever made in the world and consisting of over 200,000 bamboo plants. If in the West it is very little widespread, the same cannot be said for the oriental culture, where bamboo represents the symbol of flexibility combined with resistance. In particular, bamboo is ubiquitous in countries like China and Japan. In the Japanese nation, one of the most famous tourist places is the Arashiyama forest, made up of thousands of bamboo plants. The path of the labyrinth, which seen from above looks more like a huge garden with a star plant, measures a total of 3 km. Each bamboo plant has a height ranging from 15 to 30 meters. In addition, all the corridors of the labyrinth are 3 meters wide. Still on the bamboo structure, few people know that it actually consists of four intercommunicating labyrinths.
The other attraction not to be missed inside the Labirinto della Masone is the museum that houses the personal collection of the publisher Franco Maria Ricci , consisting of over 500 works. The artistic period embraced by the sculptures and paintings present in the natural park ranges from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Throughout the year, the Masone Labyrinth museum is the scene of some temporary exhibitions that attract many people. Some of the most important works kept by Franco Maria Ricci bear the signature of artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Antonio Canova. Space is also given to the creations of some local painters: among the best known names we can include those of Pietro Melchiorre Ferrari, Jean Baptiste Boudard and Giuseppe Baldrighi. Finally, the presence of the well-known Codex Seraphinianus by the Italian Luigi Serafini should be noted.
The buildings inside the Masone Labyrinth were designed by the architect Pier Carlo Bontempi, an internationally known artist from Parma. In the realization of the architecture of the Labyrinth in Fontanellato, Bontempi was inspired by the ideas of the French Ledoux, Boullée and Lequeu, active in the years of the French Revolution. Another source of inspiration for Franco Maria Ricci’s buildings in the Labyrinth was the Italian architect Antolini, whose name is still associated with the visionary project for the construction of the Foro Bonaparte in the city of Milan (the work is not never been performed). One of the peculiarities referring to the buildings of Pier Carlo Bontempi for the Ricci publisher concerns the use of handmade brick, a symbol of the desire to create a structure in harmony with the surrounding landscape. In fact, handmade brick is the most used building material in the Po Valley area,
By presenting his structure on the official website, Franco Maria Ricci revealed that he was inspired by the legendary labyrinth of Minos . The only substantial difference between the Masone Labyrinth and that of the Greek mythological character lies in the use of the labyrinth: Franco Maria Ricci has imagined a work in which the visitor can be fascinated by the beauty of the garden and the bamboo plants, Minos on the contrary. he craved gloomy thoughts for what was effectively a prison.
In the museum of the Labyrinth of Fontanellato there is, among other things, a wooden model of the Milan Cathedral . In addition to that of the cathedral of the Milanese capital, there is also the model of the Cathedral of Ulm, one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture of the second half of the fourteenth century.
During the summer season, the Masone Labirinto usually hosts interesting musical performances. Some concerts may also be held during the spring or autumn.
The Labirinto della Masone is closed on Tuesdays and the holidays of December 25th and January 1st.
Prices and Reductions
- Full: € 18
- Reduced Under 26 and University Students: € 12
- Reduced Children from 6 to 12 years: € 10
- Free: children up to 6 years