Al Pioppi

pioppi-5As I was perusing through my blog reading list last night, I saw a post on Colossal that peaked my interest. Maybe it was because this restaurant opened on my Birthday many moons ago, or maybe it is because my family is part Italian and hearing this little man named Bruno spoke to me. He has spent the past 40 years creating a small amusement park alongside his restaurant in the woods. It is art.

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There is something to be said for Italians, there is an ingenuity there that is all there own. My grandfather can look at something and see how to fix the problem, or design something that will do what he wants, my Dad has that same gift. I call it a gift, because it is, not everyone has the “eye” to see the solution, to see how it can be improved, or to see how it could be created in the first place.

This story was incredibly charming, Bruno is quite the doll. Enjoy!

On June 15, 1969 in Battaglia, Italy a man named Bruno bought a few jugs of wine, some sausages and a few other items and set up a tiny food stand underneath a tree to see if anyone would show up. By the end of the day he had sold almost everything and the family restaurant, Ai Pioppi, was born. The next month he had a chance encounter with a blacksmith who didn’t have time to make a few hooks for some chains. Bruno decided he would learn to weld himself and enjoyed it so much he began to dream up small rides he could build to entice new customers to Ai Pioppi. It turned out to be brilliantly successful.

Now forty years later, the forest around the restaurant is packed with swings, multi-story slides, seesaws, gyroscopes, tilt-a-whirls, and bizarre kinetic roller-coasters for adults and children. In this artfully filmed 10-minute documentary by a team over at Fabrica, we get the chance to meet Bruno, see many of his rides in action, and learn a bit about his philosophy on existence and death.

For this post I also included a few photos courtesy Oriol Ferrer Mesià who visited Ai Pioppi in 2011 with several friends. You can see many more shots here and here.

{images and the statements made after the film have been taken from the Colossal post}