The green rooms of Emilia

Walking among Emilia’s green rooms, gardens to be discovered, admired and photographed. Lingering to enjoy their beauty, their perfumes and their colours. Flourishing gardens that reflect the harmony between humankind and nature, an art form with a simple beauty that fills us with joy. Gardens enchant us and transform into ever changing worlds with the passage of the seasons. This page is dedicated to the green rooms of our beloved Emilia, where the gardens take the stage. Worlds in miniature that follow their own rules, gardens that have enchanted writers, poets, artists and illustrious figures. With the sky above our heads, we stop to admire the beauty of nature, the mirror of an authentic landscape.
A new wonder is about to be unveiled, a garden unique in all the world for its architectural labyrinth. The biggest in the world. A garden found in the little town of Fontanellato in the Province of Parma … a singular garden with a fascinating story.

Translation by Blue

The Labyrinth of Franco Maria Ricci, Fontanellato (PR)

The publisher Franco Maria Ricci, a passionate art collector and bibliophile, has devoted the past decade to create, on his property in Fontanellato (Parma), a brilliant visionary project: a monumental green labyrinth. The star-shaped maze, which will open in June 2015, covers seven hectares.

The labyrinth from the Belvedere – Photo credit Mauro Davoli

This masterpiece represents the largest labyrinth in the world. It is entirely made up of bamboo plants (about 200,000 altogether), whose height ranges from 30 cm up to 15 metres. The path is more than 3 km long. It is a path to venture down and get lost in, in which to let your mind wander and reflec.

Inner view of the labyrinth – Photo credit Massimo Listri

Why a labyrinth. From The Labyrinth of Franco Maria Ricci

Labyrinths have always fascinated me. Along with gardens, they are among humanity’s
most ancient inventions. I first envisaged building a labyrinth twenty years ago, at a period in time when I frequently had one guest in particular staying at my house in the
countryside near Parma –a friend, not to mention a hugely important contributor to the publishing house I had recently founded: the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It is widely known that the labyrinth has always been one of his favourite topics; the trajectories traced by his hesitant blind man’s steps reminded me of the uncertainties faced by those who, during their life’s journey, negotiate enigma and forks in the road.
I believe that it was watching him and talking to him about the strange routes men follow that sparked the initial idea for my project. As you know, when Minos had his Labyrinth built –as a prison– he had dark and cruel intentions in mind; I imagined a benevolent version, that would also be a garden, where people could walk in safety, perhaps getting lost every once in a while. My passion for bamboo –that elegant plant,
so rarely used in the West, especially in Italy– gave me the material for the project.
From then on, and over the last few years in particular, the undertaking has absorbed much of my time.

Photo credit Mauro Davoli

This awesome garden is part of the project  Grandi Giardini Italiani “100 Gardens for EXPO 2015”. Useful Information. If you want to visit and spend a day at the Labyrinth, have a look at the opening hours and admission fees:

From June 1, 2015
Every day from 10:30am to 7pm
Tuesday: closing day

Single ticket (Permanent Collection + temporary exhibition + labyrinth) 18,00 €
Groups (+ 15 pers.) 15,00 €

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