This post is also available in: Italian

‘Panem and Circenses’, this is how the Romans governed their people and food and fun parks are what is still used today to get the consensus of citizens.

But how did the fun parks change? No more real blood of gladiators but still strong excitement that raises the level of adrenaline.

The history of modern Fun Parks began more or less at the end of the nineteenth century with the great Ferris Wheels and Luna Parks. In those parks visitors came in for free and paid for the individual entertainment and the attractions were mostly mechanical wonders that did not attempt to create illusions.

Everything changes in the 1950s with Disneyland, near Los Angeles, a dream city where you pay for entry but then nearly everything is offered for free. A special dream comes if the Castle of the Sleeping Beauty recalls the shape of a castle of one of the greatest dreamers ever: Ludwig of Bavaria.

The sovereign had filled his kingdom with castles, bankrupted the state coffers, along and near what is now known as the Romantic Way, and attracted millions of visitors. Today, all the money spent by Louis II has proved to be one of the best investments ever.

Walt Disney continued the dreams of Bavarian sovereigns by bringing them to another dreamlike level in Disneyland that is a parallel world where one enters and is lost in wonders. Mechanical wonders continue, and roller coasters are getting more and more bold: the first full loop dates back to 1976.

A lovely curiosity is the history of the name of ‘Russian Mountains’, that takes its name from the fashion of ice slides in Russia between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The ones wanted by Catherine II of Russia in Oranienbaum’s palace, are famous and were 15-20 meters high wooden structures covered with ice, were driven by a sledge that could reach a speed of 70 km / h.

In Russia, however, they are called “amerikànskije gòrki“, i.e. “American hills”, and in America they are called roller coasters, certainly technically more appropriate.

In Europe there are fun parks with national heroes such as Asterix in France, Port Aventura in Spain or Gardaland in Italy. The park becomes an additional tourist attraction dedicated to families and are they seek to place them near sites already known to tourists.

In the meantime, the Zoo and the Aquariums are becoming more and more fun parks where contact with animals takes not only educational but playful aspects.

All the parks host daily shows and events at special events to increase the level of interest by those attending them.

A revolution in Italy was made by the park Rainbow Magicland of Valmontone that created its own world inspired by the Winx, the most famous Italian Barbie dolls. The Winx then became animated cartoons and three-dimensional films.

The Winx are just one of the attractions and the Valmontone Park has been the first to join virtual and real experiences in its roller coaster and other attractions. A sign of how more and more parks start to be a magical world in which visitors can lose themselves by having fun.

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses