Day 39 – Parma

Today we visit the Labirinto della Masone in a town called Fontanellato in the fields outside Parma. Franco Maria Ricci, a publisher and designer of the fine arts magazine FMR, created the site after promising his friend, Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinian writer, that he would create a labyrinth in the place where they took walks together.

The site is in the middle of agricultural fields.

A map orients visitors to the site.

Thousands of bamboo trees form the walls of the labyrinth.

At the center stands a pyramid, which contains a room showing a film on FMR. I’m sorry I did not have the time to watch the whole thing.

The film shows an image of the site to give a sense of its massive size.

On one wall of the pyramid is a reminder in stone that time flies and all turns to dust.

Ricci’s publishing firm produced exceptionally high quality work. Looking through any one of the many magazines or books is an intense pleasure.

One part of the museum is devoted to a an exhibit called Musca Depicta that shows works that depict flies in some way.

A very large fly sits on a table as a prelude to the exhibit.

Can you find the fly in this painting? (This is an easy one.)

Here’s a youthful Ricci in his Jaguar. His initials FMR when each letter is said sound like the word “ephemera.”

Ricci lasted for just a short time, like us all, yet his labyrinth has outlasted him, as has his Jaguar which is parked in the museum for all to admire.

The fields around Parma and their farmsteads seem classic, from another time.

We eat lunch at a truck stop called Parmamenu, renowned for its traditional cuisine.

Prosciutto and

Parmesan and tortellini stuffed with spinach and ricotta.

Well, this is not just any old truck stop.

We head on to Parma and visit the Teatro Farnese, an enormous theater that was built in 1618 as part of the complex of the Ducal Palace of Parma.

The theatre was almost destroyed during World War II and was reconstructed and reopened in 1962.

Outside the palace, this woman plays the accordion and works the little marionettes with her foot in a rhythm that’s hard to forget.

The large park-like area around the palace attracts people of all kinds who sit and relax.

Tired, I lay back on a cement bench and gaze at the sky.

At dinner time, the clouds are bright.

I decide to try swordfish, a first for me, and now I have another fish in my limited repertoire. Slowly, slowly.

Tomorrow is the last day of our tour. It’s back to Fabriano.

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