The Endless Labyrinth of Franco Maria Ricci
Inaugurated in 2015, the Labirinto della Mansone is the world’s largest bamboo and probably the most complex: it takes only a second to enter it, but at least two hours to go out.
Situated in Fontanellato, near Parma, the labyrinth is not easy to navigate, since there are few landmarks and all shrubs look alike, with corridors reaching up to three meters long and wide.
Designed by the graphic designer Franco Maria Ricci, 78, the labyrinth occupies eight hectares and its paths total 2.8 kilometers. All the green fences in the labyrinth are naked, relying solely on a bamboo plantation – more than 30 species of bamboo were used to create this geometric but confusing pattern.
According to Inhabitat, the idea for the Labyrinth della Mansone arose from literature – more precisely from the writings of Jose Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. In 2004, Franco Maria Ricci decided to build the labyrinth – then, it was already 67 years old. In the last 10 years, bamboo has grown and accustomed itself to the climate of northeastern Italy.
In addition to the labyrinth, the infrastructure offers visitors an area with several other cultural spaces – including the private collection of 500 works of art by Ricci, dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries.