“I first dreamed of building a Labyrinth around thirty years ago. On several occasions back then, in my country house outside Parma, I played host to a friend and valued contributor in the publishing house had I founded: Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges.
It is a well-known fact that the Labyrinth was one of his favourite themes. (…) I think that it was watching him, and talking to him of the strange journeys made by men, that the very first embryo of the project finally opened to the public in June 2015 first took form.
The story goes that when Minos had his Labyrinth (which was a prison) built, his intentions were cruel and dark: I imagined a softer equivalent, one which was also a garden in which people could stroll and lose themselves from time to time without running any risks.”
That’s how Franco Maria Ricci tells the birth of his Labirinto della Masone, which is located in Fontanellato, a few minutes drive from Parma. A large labyrinth composed entirely of bamboo plants (totally about 200,000) from 30 cm to 15 m tall, creating a path of over 3 km.
In conceiving the drawing of the maze, Ricci was inspired by the mosaics of the Roman villas and baths. The architecture of the buildings is inspired, in agreement with the Parma’s architect Pier Carlo Bontempi who made them, by the great architects of the French Revolution period.
Inside the buildings, on 5000 sq.m, the Ricci’s art collection is kept, which reflects the personal taste of the collector and spans 5 centuries of history, with works ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, shown not in the scientific order that a museum would have, but rather proceeding by associations and similarities.
“When it first came about the project was quite a personal one. I wanted to leave a trace of myself in the area which had nurtured and, to some extent, enriched my family.
With the passing of time, that early idea was largely transformed. (…) I now see the Labyrinth as a way of giving back at least a part of everything given to me by the Po Valley (…).
A Museum has been opened alongside the Labyrinth (the entire collection of the works of art I collected in fifty years), a Library (with my book collections and every book I published over the course of 50 years), areas for temporary exhibitions, an Archive and tourist facilities”.