“Child At Heart” Spent The Last 40 Years Hand-Building Amusement Park In The Forest

Credit: Oriol Ferrer Mesia

When an Italian man from Treviso, Veneto first opened his restaurant, Osteria Ai Pioppi, in 1969, he had no idea if it would even be successful because it’s in the forest on a hill. In a somewhat remote area, and without any signs posted to point towards the restaurant, he didn’t expect 20 people to show up and eat all of the food that been prepared on that first day.

Though business was great on that first day, that momentum didn’t carry through everyday and Ferrin decided he wanted to come up with ways to attract more people. He was inspired by nature to create “games” and rides for others to enjoy.

“A branch falls, a leaf floats down, a bird flies by, a stone rolls. And I say to myself, ‘Maybe I can use this movement.’ That’s how my ideas are born. They come from things like that, I can’t really explain.”

Credit: Oriol Ferrer Mesia

In an 11-minute documentary focused on Ferrin’s work, he explained that in the beginning, he was creating something and needed four hooks to hold together chains so he went to a local blacksmith to have them made. Instead, the blacksmith told him he didn’t have time to make the hooks and told him to weld them himself. Ferrin used the welding machine for the first time and became immediately passionate about building everything himself.

Though he wanted to build a couple of rides to bring in more customers, this project became so much more. The restaurant now seats 500 people and many stop by daily just to enjoy the amusement park. For the past 40 years, he’s been perfecting existing rides and making new ones all by himself, in DIY fashion. The rides and games are all self-running, meaning they don’t use any kind of electricity and respond to the movement of the people using them instead.

What this “child at heart” has created is nothing short of imaginative and magical. Watch the short documentary below to see his work and hear him tell his story.

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