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The first hand-made funfair works without electricity
Nel cuore del bosco del Montello, “sior Bruno” ha costruito un parco divertimenti unico al mondo. Frutto di intuizioni, sogni e 40 anni di pratica.
Montello is an ancient wood with a thousand-year old history. Located at the feet of the Veneto Alpine foothills and near Piave river, the doges of Venice exploited the area for its wood. For that reason it was a protected area. Today Montello is a natural haven full of down oaks, chestnut trees and robinias. In this natural haven was created the first entirely hand-made funfair, built with scrap material and using exclusively “human energy”.
Born in 1937, Bruno Ferrin opened the restaurant “Ai pioppi” in 1969 in this glade. This how it all began: a wood filled with poplars, few tables, sausages and wine. “I came up with the idea of opening a restaurant in those years, when I was considering building the first swing for the children spending their free time here with their parents.” told Ferrin, wearing a cap and a blue workshop overall and sitting behind the counter of his restaurant. “I went to the town’s blacksmith and asked him to solder the hooks for the swing, but he replied that he had no time for such trifles and that I had to do it for myself with the welding machine.”
It was then that Bruno Ferrin discovered his inclination to work iron. Self-taught, he began building the first simple merry-go-rounds, many of them are still working. Today, there are about 50 attractions, including swings, slides, trampolines, wheels and roller coaster. Everything exploits human energy, as attractions are not powered by electricity.
In this way, attractions like Vitruvian man, pendulum, death bikes, bobsleigh and a 40-metre high slide were created. In the funfair, everyone can enjoy attractions, even those almost forgotten by adults. “I take the inspiration for a new attraction, by a rolling stone, or a leaf falling on the ground. This is how I come up with new ideas.” Ferrin is inspired by nature, and if you slide down from a slide or run across a track build in the middle of trees’ branches, it feels like the funfair merged with the surrounding wood or that it is protected by the wood itself.
Of course, before being opened to public, all the attractions are tested and guaranteed by an engineer who analyses their projects. Bruno Ferrin has everything in mind, with no estimations. “I am not able to do that,” he said. As the attractions are completely made of iron, visitors should take some bruises into account. “There have never been serious accidents”, highlights Ferrin. Indeed, attractions are protected and there are safety measures and many of them can only be used under the supervision of professional operators, such as the slide where the sliding speed exceeds 100 km/h or the latest attraction, the catapult, which is still under construction. The catapult reproduces the acceleration only experienced while getting on board a jet.
“Visitors like all of them and none of them is set aside.” Visiting “Ai pioppi” funfair is free, provided that food and drinks are bought directly on the spot. Bruno Ferrin is waiting children and adults as well behind his counter, wearing a cap and a workshop overall.
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