The labyrinth of the Masone
To find something, you must first get lost
What it is and where it is
Utopia, passion and reality. These are the pillars of the grandiose Masone Labyrinth project. The result is a maze spread over 7 hectares of land, made of tall bamboo plants that make the passages authentic leafy corridors among which to get lost and find oneself. The three-kilometer path winds along a design inspired by classical labyrinths and starry cities (Palmanova, to name one). The heart that wanted it and the mind that dreamed it up belong to Franco Maria Ricci, publisher, collector, philanthropist and now, "daddy" of the largest green labyrinth in the world!
Why it is special
After many years spent studying, designing, redesigning the labyrinth, the desire to see it finally completed was very strong. So here it is that the size is not the only element of surprise about the Labyrinth of the Masone. In fact, this grandiose garden was built in a very short time, thanks to the careful choice of the plant to rely on: bamboo. 300 thousand specimens from China were used, fast growing, undemanding in maintenance. A true blessing!
Not to be missed
Arriving at the center, one finds oneself in a courtyard composed of several buildings, all made with handmade bricks, typical of Parma, to conform to the territory. The element of rupture is given by the shapes, inspired by French utopian architecture. We are in the late 1700s when Boullée designs his huge and unrealizable pyramid with an arched entrance. Let's jump straight to 2015 with Ricci and architect Bontempi scaling back the utopia and moving the entrance arch inside with a hemispherical volume that creates a niche, an apse. A sphere grafted into a pyramid, a sacred space within a Masonic symbol.
A bit of history
Franco Maria Ricci already loved labyrinths as a child. Years later, his friendship with Borges, who was very attached to the labyrinth theme, brought this passion back to light. Years later, the long design phase began, then the realization. A bit like in fairy tales, however, the hero must pay a token to achieve his goal. So it was for Ricci, who, in order to raise the necessary funds for the realization of the labyrinth, was forced to sell his publishing house. Don't worry though, there is no shortage of happy endings: in due course the much-loved FMR is back in the hands of its founder.
Not everyone believes that this is the greatest labyrinth in the world. When Ricci confided in Borges about his plan, the latter replied that it was impossible: you cannot build something bigger than the desert, that is a huge labyrinth! Think about it: could you manage not to get lost in the Sahara? So Ricci, who likes to force the impossible into the possible, decided that his would be the world's largest Green Labyrinth. So much for Borges.
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