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Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy

Ai Pioppi Playground

Hidden in an Italian forest is a completely homemade amusement park that has taken a lifetime to create. 

Nestled in a lush green Italian forest, the Ai Pioppi Playground began as a hobby meant to promote a small restaurant has evolved over 40 years of creation into a stunning home-brewed amusement park full of one-of-a-kind rides, all built by one man. 

Like the amazing rides it would later spawn, the restaurant Ai Pioppi started almost on a whim. As the story goes, the restaurant’s owner, a spirited man by the name of Bruno, simply set up a makeshift food and wine stand beneath a tree, just to see if anyone would show up. By the end of his first day he had almost sold all of the goods he had brought and Ai Pioppi restaurant had begun.

After establishing a proper eatery, Bruno paid a visit to a local blacksmith looking for some basic hooks to join some chain. However the surly blacksmith blew him off and told him to make them himself, showing Bruno how to weld, and the man was changed from that day on. He returned to his restaurant and quickly constructed a giant slide as an added attraction to his eatery.

Over the next 40 years, Bruno continued to design and build increasingly complex rides with more and more moving parts, although all with out power. From a tumbling, swinging bridge to giant merry-go-rounds to contraptions that nearly defy easy description, the collection of dreamt up amusements grew. Bruno says he got the inspiration for his builds from the movement of the constantly encroaching nature all around.