Have you ever wished to get lost in a real maze? I have to admit, I have. And I was over the moon when I discovered that some hard working people had put up a real corn maze not so far from where I lived.
I am talking about the Corn Maze in Senigallia that the HORT cooperative builds with dedication every Summer. The Soc.Coop. (this is the official name in Italian for the cooperatives) was funded by Luca Kogoj and Jacopo Facchi, a team of firstly university students that then became doctorates and experts. Expert on mazes? you would probably ask. Not exactly: they are mainly experts on horticulture, agronomy and even educational services. This is the mixture of ingredients from where in 2013 the first maze was built in Porto Recanati. Soon enough (just about the year after), it moved to Senigallia, where families, children, tourists and locals, as well, have been enjoying it ever since.
I had a very nice chat with Elisabetta Frattucci, the brain behind the animation events that have been characterising some of the nights at the maze since 2014. She is not part of HORT, but knows the people in it very well. Animation events means that characters from very well known fairytales come in blood and flesh to the maze to, either play with the children, or to scary them! Indeed, one of the funniest moment that Elisabetta remembers is when the first year she was playing the evil Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland: her task was to steal the map of the maze from the children, and tear it apart. She is evil, after all. What the animation group did not expect was the entire group of children starting to cry! That must have been funny and terrifying at the same time, also because even the adults accompanying the children were quite shocked! Of course, there were some White Rabbits with a brand new map, waiting for the children just around the corner…but who knew? Such funny events are held from 2 to 8 times per season and they gather from 100 to 200 guests each night – and from 7 to 10 animators! Elisabetta is the responsible for the costumes and the games, and I have to say, she is really good at it!
But the maze is just the “end product” as we see it. The first step is indeed to plant the corn in early March (it is planted just for the maze) and then to cut it in order to make the “roads”. Nothing is left to casualty here: indeed every year there is a theme for the maze, and the goal is to pick a theme that can also be linked to the local summer events in Le Marche. If the first year the theme was the Rocca of Senigallia, they then chose the photography (there was a photography exhibition in Senigallia at the same time), the radio and this year Raffaello (as we mentioned in one of our post, 2020 is the Raffaello year).
If you have never been in a maze, you may be curious about how it works. Very easily: when you arrive at the maze, you take the map and start walking. The only rule is to follow the road, and not to try to go through the corn! Remember to have comfy shoes and water with you, as the maze is out in the heat. They say that approximately it takes 1 hour to finish it all (it is about 3 km and half), but the children and the prams can finish halfway.
Of course 2020 maze has been affected by Corona crisis, but that didn’t stop the organizers! Indeed, in 2020 they developed an App that not only has beautiful drawings by Nico Tamburo – a very talented comic drawer – but also important info about the life in the maze (for example you can learn about the insects living in it). What’s more, HORT organizers are particularly thoughtful: not only disabled people enter for free but the organization works together with many educational associations for didactical purposes!
I have to admit: in 2017 I went with my brother and I obsessively looked at the map all the way, because I was slightly afraid to get lost (Elisabetta reassured me: you can’t get lost, and even if you did, you call a number and some of the team will come and rescue you). But the real maze should be experienced without the map, just for the fun to get lost in it and enjoy it fully!
This year, there will be 2 more events repeated in different nights, the enigma night and the treasure hunt. The maze will be open until 13 September, and the tickets cost 5€ on days without events (for the other prices check the website).