Over 17 acres of land intertwined by forks and dead ends for a total of three kilometers of paths delimited by 200 thousand bamboo plants of twenty different species. All of this is Labirinto della Masone conceived and designed by Franco Maria Ricci together with the architects Pier Carlo Bontempi and Davide Dutto in Fontanellato, Parma. The star-shaped maze was built over a period of ten years and it houses a Catholic chapel, areas for events and temporary exhibitions, a museum – contains Ricci’s art collection of five hundred pieces ranging from the XVI to the XX century -, and a library with the complete collection of works by Giambattista Bodoni and Alberto Tallone together with complete collection of the works publishing house founded by Ricci.

Years ago, in a message announcing his retirement to the readers of art magazine FMR, the Italian graphic designer, publisher, art collector, passionate bibliophile Ricci wrote: “To whoever asks me why, I shall answer in the same way as Voltaire: ‘Laissez-moi cultiver mon jardin‘.” Six years later he had turned that ‘garden’ into the largest maze in the world, and also into the largest bamboo plantations in Europe.

On December 8th, in celebration of Ricci’s 80th birtday, the Teatro Regio in Parma will host the presentation of ‘Ephémère. La bellezza inevitabile’ (the inevitable beauty), a documentary that retraces Ricci’s maze as a metaphor of his path of life, always in search of beauty. The screening of the documentary, created by Simone Marcelli, Barbara Ainis and Fabio Ferri, will be open to the public and free.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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