(via) 44 years ago, an Italian restaurateur/tinkerer named Bruno started Ai Pioppi, a roadside restaurant in a forest outside Battaglia. He launched with jugs of red and white wine, some soppressata, and a whole bunch of sausages that he hung from a tree over an outdoor grill. We can imagine it being simple and good, but what makes Ai Pioppi so unique are the many rides that Bruno has built around its periphery. Think swings, slides, seesaws, gyroscopes and roller-coasters, all made by hand in the surrounding woods. Watch the video above. It’s mesmerising.
Of course, something like this would never be possible in Vancouver. For starters, the rides would be seen as death traps. There would need to be “plans” for them, architectural drawings and engineering schematics, not to mention a special, prohibitively expensive license that was drawn up in 1904 as a civic cash grab. Every customer would need to sign a waiver form and take a breathalyzer test, and no children would ever be allowed. It’s clear that Bruno has had no use for plans or rules since 1969. Our city inspectors would just laugh at his applications anyway, and there’s no way in hell that sausages would be allowed to hang from trees. Nor could wine be purchased by the jug from a vintner down the road. That’s tragically typical, to be sure, but what’s especially sad is that – short of a round trip to Italy – the closest thing to this that our kids will ever see in Vancouver is a McDonald’s “Playplace”.