Città della Domenica, a park for all seasons

PERUGIA – Città della Domenica, the Sunday City, a fun park in Perugia, is immersed in the intense green of a hill facing the wonderful profile of the Umbrian county town.

On more than 45 hectares of woods and lawns, between holm oaks, maples and oaks, wind paths defined by little crossed wood pickets and open clearings surrounded by olive trees and cypresses. Deers, mouflons and squirrels live in these spaces in total liberty, while moderate fences safeguard protected species and friendly factory animals and give the possibility to stop along the shadowy paths.

It is the oldest fun park in Italy. Created and opened in 1963 by businessman Mario Spagnoli, Luisa’s son, creator of “Baci Perugina” and head of the fashion maison that still has her name. Spagnoli bought the entire hill to realize his childhood dream: a great area where kids could have fun in nature and the parents could relax.

Today its name sounds a little bit retro and recalls faraway times. Times where the seventh day was really a feast day and to spend a different Sunday, it was not necessary to sit on a small seat, get fastened and shot head down with an acceleration of 4g towards sticky monsters and mouths full of teeth that would turn pale even a pliocen megalodont.

Leave aside the hyper technological amusement rides of the new thematic fun fairs, with their never-ending queues, their deafening music taken loan from the animated sagas that every day hypnotize millions of kids in front of TV screens, and their pandemic asphalt flows invading even the most hideout clefts of this charming fun parks, spending a day with your family at the Città della Domenica can become a trip you will never forget.

The attractions here are inspired by traditional fairy tales: from the Redhead-House to the Pinocchio Village and the Castle of Sleeping Beauty, with the high towers standing out against an authentic wood. The flaming red engine of a joyous small train pulls the green wagons along a circular itinerary crossing different thematic areas: the Medieval Area, with the Tower of Wizard Merlin and the Witch Congress, precede the Fairy Wood and the house of Snow White. Then, after the Crazy Bridge, you enter the Wild West, with the Indian Reserve and Fort Apache. You can decide in each moment to step off the train and continue by foot, to explore the area or get lost in the Stone Labyrinth. Once you find the exit, the Great Horse of Troia, totally made of in wood, hosts the new warriors in its spacious womb.

The exploration of the Park is often animated by a series of events that animate the different thematic areas. In “Cowboy for a day” the visitors help the sheriff to catch a keen bandit, that obviously crowns in a decisive duel in front of the saloon from which live played country chords spread. In the Medieval World, the “Challenge for the Throne” tempt to test yourself with the extraction of the legendary Excalibur sword trapped in the rock, while horse-riding falconers, archers and aristocrats in armor challenge in amazing tournaments. Grooms and squires describe use and technology of the arms and the equipment of their lords and at the “Banco del Cerusico” the medieval medicine practices, that stimulate interesting analogies with the basic principles of the modern pharmacological sciences are explained.

But the pulsating heart of the activities at the Città della Domenica is the nature in which the fun park is immerged. Didactic experiences and workshops for children and youths are the central interests that are developed together with the rangers along the faunistic itineraries and the factory, accessible also during the normal visits. A stop by Burro, the White Donkey of the Asinara, the mascot of the Park, is the right occasion to get to know the story of a species that was saved from extinction thanks to the Città della Domenica.

The imposing circular construction at the entrance hosts a reptile house, among the biggest and most varied in Europe. On two floors and on more than 1000 square meters, the Tower of Darwin leads the visitors along an evolutional path, among reptiles fossils and living examples of saurian, alligators and snakes. The attentive observance of the animals in their natural habitat and respecting the climatic and environmental features of their provenience, allow the reproduction of rare exemplars that risk extinction.

After fifty years from its opening, the first Italian fun park was renewed. New forms of amusements and extended opening hours assure a complete fruition of the resources by the visitors. But the original idea of its creator, who considered the healthy recreation in contact with nature the right thing at each age, remained unchanged: Città della Domenica is a park for all seasons.

Daniela Querci

For further information: Città della Domenica

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1 May 2017 Daniela Querci

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