The Pinocchio Park: great artists for a common block of firewood
The Pinocchio Park in Collodi (or more exactly Pescia, in the province of Pistoia), is not named after
an expensive piece of wood, but
Just a common block of firewood, one of those thick, solid logs that are put on the fire in winter to make cold rooms cozy and warm.
A throwaway piece of pine that a brilliant late-1800s author decided to place at the center of a fantastic story, and would go on to travel the world, with translations in some 240 languages.
Carlo Lorenzini – who went under the pen name of “Collodi”, in honor of the town where he was born in 1826 and where the Pinocchio Park is located today – published the first episode of his masterpiece “The tale of a puppet” on “Giornale per i bambini” in 1881; the full novel came out two years later, under the title “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, published by Paggi in Florence.
Seventy years from the first appearance of the prodigious puppet’s incredible stories, the idea of a theme park was born when, in 1951, the mayor of Pescia launched a contest to create a monument to Pinocchio.
Eighty-four artists – some of them established masters – submitted their work, making it impossible to proclaim just one winner: it was a tie between sculptors Emilio Greco (with “Pinocchio and the Fairy”) and Venturino Venturi (with his “Piazzetta dei mosaici”, a small square decorated with a myriad mosaics).
The Park was designed by architects Renato Baldi and Lionello De Luigi, and inaugurated in 1956. It later expanded south along the Pescia torrent thanks to the efforts of sculptor Pietro Consagra and architect Marco Zanuso. The designs by Zanuso were implemented by landscape architect Pietro Porcinai.
In 1963, Giovanni Michelucci added his contribution by designing the “Gambero Rosso Restaurant”.
Who would have ever thought that so many great artists would vie to come celebrate a poor “block of firewood”!