«Every lake has its legend: a legend that tells about its origins with fantastic details, and is handed down from father to son so it is written down on paper and printed black onto white»
Gianni Rodari, 1936

I grew up with Gianni Rodari’s “Fairy Tales Over the Phone”. It is strange how the words of an author can evoke many suggestions, feelings and images without becoming a real picture. For example if I think of Rodari I feel a sweet sensation of calmness, it makes me vaguely even think of biscuits , although I have never known much about him.

Giovanni Rodari was born in 1920 in Omegna, a small town at the north of Lake Orta which today is in the province of Novara. He had written for important newspapers, like the “Unità” and “Paese Sera” even if he is more famous for having written poems, nursery rhymes and fairytales. He has written many books for children, the most famous ones are: “Nursery Rhymes in the Sky and on Earth”, “Twenty stories plus one” and “A lot of stories to play with”.

The main element in his works is the game, as if his works could always create the atmosphere of when children create their reality: “Let’s pretend that I am….”

In Omegna a Fantasy Park has been created in his honor. It’s an educational park aimed at promoting and spreading Rodari’s work in a playful and active way using the grammar of imagination. It is a particular fun fair, different from all the others, inserted with respect into the natural landscape of the lake. It has a permanent play area and holds activities and workshops both at the park and in Italian schools, libraries and play centres based on both ad-hoc and pre-planned projects. The educational area is also highly noteworthy and is targeted at teachers, entertainers, and other members of the profession.

Here is an example of a three-day activity thought for children who wish to explore Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, called “Exploring the lakes”.

Departing from Stresa to visit the park of Villa Pallavicino. While you walk along the pathway you also get to know animals’ language and nature. After a stop for a picnic lunch you can visit the Borromee islands. In the morning you can visit the medieval old town centre of Orta leaving the afternoon to visit San Giulio Island by boat transfer.

The third day you reach the Fantasy Park and take part to some didactic activities involving words but also many games.

In 2010 we celebrate the 90th year of Rodari’s birth and also 30th year of his death, so many events and manifestations will be organized to celebrate him.

The Fantasy Park is in via XI Settembre, 9, Omegna (Vb).
For more info you can visit Rodariparcofantasia.it.