Saturday, July 20, 2024

Pioneers of Entertainment: The oldest theme parks in Italy


Theme parks are equipped areas, generally with paid admission, where you can find attractions and shows inspired by a particular theme or fantasy genre. It is a form of entertainment that originated in the United States with Disneyland, the famous park created by Walt Disney in 1955. However, even in Italy there were predecessors who managed to create original and fun theme parks, anticipating the success of this type of structure. The following guide takes into account official information provided by structures or found on the Internet: it is difficult to prove with certainty.Who was first?Because between the 1950s and 1960s many pre-existing structures evolved from “temporary arenas” into real “stable amusement parks.”

Let’s see what are the oldest amusement parks in Italy and what are their characteristics.

Lunar Park (Rome)

According to some documents, Lunare Park was established in Rome in 1953, as the first permanent amusement park in Italy. The name is derived from the EUR (Universal Roman Exposition) area, where the park is located. The garden was created by some carnies, including Adalberto Mirabito, Antonio Frizzato, and the grandparents of actress Virginia Raphael. The park achieved great success until the 1990s, then suffered a period of crisis and closure. In 2016, it was reopened with the new name Lunar Park, under the creative direction of Gianluca Valletta, dedicated to children and families.

Sunday City (Perugia)

According to other sources, the record goes to Citta della Domenica, an amusement park located in Perugia, opened in 1963. This is the first permanent amusement park in Italy, created by Mario Spagnoli, a textile entrepreneur who took inspiration from fairy tales to create a magical place where children and families can have a great time. The park covers an area of ​​45 hectares and offers various attractions.

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Edenlandia (Naples)

Edenlandia is another historic amusement park in Italy, located in Naples, and it was opened in 1965. It was the first amusement park in Europe and the second in the world after Disneyland. It was built by Alfredo Viviani, a Neapolitan businessman who wanted to create an earthly paradise where children could play. The park covers an area of ​​80 hectares and includes various thematic areas, including the Enchanted Valley, Future City, African Village, Japanese Garden and Space Zone.

Fiabilandia (Rimini)

Fiabilandia is another pioneering theme park in Italy, located in Rivazzura, a small village in Rimini, which was opened in 1965. It was created by Oreste Fabbri, an entrepreneur from Romania who wanted to create a place where children’s favorite fairy tales could be brought to life. The park has an area of ​​150,000 square metres, and is developing around an artificial lake, Lake Bernardo. The park offers many attractions and also hosts theatrical and musical performances and a magic school.

Gardaland (Verona)

Gardaland is the most famous and visited theme park in Italy. It is located in Castelnuovo del Garda, in the province of Verona, and was opened in 1975. It was founded by Livio Forini, a businessman from Verona who went to America to visit Disneyland and was fascinated by it. Forini decided to buy land adjacent to Lake Garda and realize his dream: the first permanent amusement park in Italy. To do this, he benefited from the cooperation of some business friends and the projects of the architect Franco Barazzoni. The park, which has an area of ​​90 thousand square meters. It quickly became the most popular in Italy and gained public sympathy thanks to its cheerful and family atmosphere.

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Italy’s oldest theme parks are evidence of a history of passion, creativity and entrepreneurship Which was able to anticipate its time and offer the public a new form of entertainment. These parks have contributed to spreading the culture of entertainment in Italy and introducing the beauty of our lands. To this day, these parks continue to reinvent themselves and offer new experiences to their visitors, while keeping the magic of imagination and adventure alive.


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