Tucked in a grove of poplar trees, Bruno Ferrin began building an amusement park by hand as a way of attracting people to his family's restaurant. Forty years later, the sprawling amusement park consists of over 40 rides, all of which have been constructed by Bruno and many of which were inspired by nature. The forest location makes Osteria Ai Pioppi a magical, yet off the beaten path destination. Only restaurant-goers and guests at the on-site restaurant and cafe can visit the amusement park, which is otherwise free. Watch the video after the jump to see the charming Bruno discuss how he built this amazing ecological park with his own two hands.
Located in Battaglia, Italy in northern Italy, Osteria ai Poppi is firmly entrenched in nature, and that’s one of creator Bruno’s primary inspirations for his rides. Citing his observations of the way a bird flies or a branch moves, Bruno then creates a ride to mimic that movement. Despite his learn-as-you-go attitude (and no formal engineering or construction instruction), Bruno has completed the work of the rides himself. Once he gets an idea for a ride, he works on the ride gradually until it joins the others for the public to experience.
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The rides, which are recognizable for their similarity to traditional amusement park attractions including Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and slides, are a refreshing variation… as well as an inspiration to visitors to work with their hands. Literally, it turns out, since none of the low-tech rides have motors and require some effort from the amusement park visitors in the form of mechanisms such as hand cranks (as well as good old gravitational force). As Bruno says, “If you want to move, you have to push and sweat. Otherwise, the ride won’t move.”
Because many of the rides are DIY with regard to movement, parents are encouraged to show children how the rides work, engaging all ages in the magic and fun of Ai Poppi. The park’s visitors seem to delight in the simplicity of the designs. Bruno’s pride in his creations and continuing work on Ai Poppi show how a childlike love of nature, learning, and inventiveness can become an enduring and evolving monument to play and amusement.
All images via Vimeo screenshots