Have you been lost in a green maze? I have not yet but planning to do so very soon in the world’s largest maze that, luckily for me, is located here in Italy, near Parma. Its creator, art collector, publisher and bibliophile Franco Maria RicciIt opened it to the public a few months ago. Traditionally, green fascinatingly confusing structures like this are made with boxwood but the 77-year-old Ricci had chosen 25 different types of bamboo that grow fast and thick. He says that he had dreamed about making a labyrinth for decades and when an opportunity finally came, he did not want to wait long for the green hedges to grow. Ricci cites the late Argentinean writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges, his long-term friend, as the source of inspiration for creating the maze.
The star-shaped labyrinth covers seven hectares and is part of a large cultural centre that will host art exhibitions, a bistro, bookshop, library, dance hall and several guest rooms. Ricci has a collection of 500 paintings and sculptures that will be displayed here. There is also a pyramid, rather masonic looking, that hosts chapel with a gold-plated interior for weddings. Ricci is an eccentric who has created an unconventional place for the curious. Personally, I am fascinated by the idea of getting lost on purpose and finding myself again, so using the map is that they give you at the entrance is out of question. I am ready to be lost surrounded by 200,000 bamboo plants, books and art in beautiful Fontanellato.
For more information about the labyrinth, check out the Labirinto di Franco Maria Ricci website.
Photos via Il Labirinto di Franco Maria Ricci/Facebook