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Literary Vacation - Pinocchio

Updated on May 5, 2012

What Is A Literary Vacation?

A literary vacation is a great way to take a beloved tale and bring it to life through travel. Literary vacations can be a great grown up getaway or a fun educational experience for children.

The Book: The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) By: Carlo Collodi

The Location: Collodi, Tuscany, Italy

Age Group: Families with children ages 8-12


The Book

Forget all Disney had told you about the little wooden puppet and return to the original story written by Italian Carlo Collodi. Pinocchio isn’t at all like the sweet faced little guy created by a kindly toymaker Disney has told us about. Rather he is a wild and mischievous marionette with sharp features made by an old man named Geppetto who is the town grouch and is know for his temper. Jiminy Cricket or rather the Talking Cricket is different than the one Disney told of as well. He isn’t around long as after a few pages of giving incessant advice Pinocchio is fed up and hurls a hammer at him and that’s the end of that cricket.

Disney does take some of the storyline such as Pleasure Island (though it’s the land of toys in the book) and being swallowed by a shark (whale in the movie) where he is reunited with his father. And of course by the end of the book he has become a real boy. By the end of the book Pinocchio has learned to care for his parents, Geppetto and the Blue Fairy, which at the time the book was written was a moral that was very important to that time and society as the roles where somewhat swapped from the society we know today where parents dote on children rather than children doting on their parents.

Pinocchio and Geppetto are simple villagers but their lives are full of adventure and magic that have drawn children worldwide to them for over a century. Each chapter is full of magic, adventure, danger and is quickly resolved before starting in on the next adventure as we turn the page keeping us excited and intrigued as we read on.

When reading this book try to find an original unabridged version either online or at a book store near home, if you can’t find one in either of these places to will no doubt find one when you reach tuscany in your choice of English or Italian.

4.5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Pinocchio Park

The Destination

The village town of Collodi in Tuscany is the birth place of Pinocchio as well as his creator Carlo Collodi who so loved his home town that he chose his pen name after the place. Just as the book isn’t at all like the Disney movie nor is Parco di Pinocchio (Pinocchio Park) like Disneyland. The Park opened in 1956 as what the park calls “a precious masterpiece created by artists of great character working together.” The park features a winding path with a lush garden that serves as the back drop to the sculptures, mosaics and buildings that dot the path and lead you through Pinocchio’s adventures.

It’s best to read or re-read the book with children soon before arriving so that the stories and locations are fresh in their minds as they wander through the park. It’s not a particularly crowded destination so feel free to let your children take their time exploring without worry of holding up someone else. Spend some time watching the puppet show if one is playing even if your children don’t speak Italian. Encourage them to try and guess what is going on throughout the actions of the puppets.At the large mosaic square search for the main characters and try to find illustrations of your favorite parts of the book before moving on to the home of the Blue Fairy and peaking in her tiny windows. Most children will find that the shark/ whale sculpture is their favorite as it is the most interactive with stepping stones across the water and and a spiral stair case from his mouth to the top of his head (now if only it was that easy for Pinocchio). Aside from the shark, and the home of the blue fairy there is much to discover including a labyrinth, sculptures of The Assassins, The Crab, and Pinocchio, an underground pirate cave that while not in the book is none the less cool and an exhibit that tells about the life and works of author Carlo Collodi.

Pinocchio Park isn’t very large and an active or impatient child cloud easily make their way through the park in a little under an hour but encourage them to slow down by lingering over a game of giant chess or spending some time at the puppet show. Spend some time in the gift shop and bring a sack lunch to eat in the shade of a large bronze marionette.

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