The Human-Powered, Giant Theme Park Playground: Ai Pioppi

The Human-Powered, Giant Theme Park Playground: Ai Pioppi – – pull down for details of Ai Pioppi!

In the foothills of the Dolomites, an hour or so north of Venice, lies Ai Pioppi, a restaurant that’s home to an astonishing, giant, human-powered, kinetic-art theme park playground. It was designed and made by a man called Bruno over forty years, and it’s free for folks who eat at the restaurant.

I’ll be honest: I sort of thought it was a myth. The idea of unattended, huge kinetic ride-on sculptures was surely false? There was some evidence: a very artfully-shot documentary, and some shaky tourist footage, but I couldn’t quite believe that something this potentially dangerous could still exist.

So on Easter weekend, when it was quiet, Paul (@cr3) and I took a road trip to try it. And it’s real. It’s very, very real. Watch as we try and take a somersault on the Bicycle of Death.

And if you don’t take the right amount of caution, it can hurt you — although my eventual injury didn’t come through any rides, but just by tripping over by running!

Opening hours vary, closed most weekdays and all winter, check before travelling
Via VIII Armata, 76, Nervesa della Battaglia TV, Italy

Thank you so much to everyone at Ai Pioppi: I’m sorry for bleeding on your ride, and for pronouncing your restaurant’s name terribly. Thanks to Paul, who drove me to the hospital; thanks to the doctors and nurses at Treviso Hospital, too. And Europeans: remember to take an EHIC card on holiday around Europe, so your healthcare travels with you. I didn’t have to pay a penny or deal with travel insurance!

And more than that: if you do go, and I recommend you do if you’re ever anywhere near it: TAKE CARE. Even when you’re on an adrenaline high and you think you’re invincible. I wasn’t. You won’t be either. Hospital visits in a foreign language aren’t fun!

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20 Responses

  1. Larry Bundy Jr says:

    Think on the bright side, You can get a job as an extra on Game of Thrones
    with a scar like that now!!! :D

  2. onlyAerik says:

    I’d like to see teams of professional cyclists compete for numbers of
    consecutive revolutions and time.

  3. Marie Alexander says:

    That looks like that could end up being the coolest scar.

  4. Zarcon says:

    This place looks like something from Jigsaws childhood sketch book.

  5. Chriss Evans says:

    Looks like metal cage of death trap.

  6. mandydax says:

    Flawless healing or sexy scar? Only time will tell. 🙂 That place looks

  7. Guard13007 says:

    Ouch! Although I have to admit, I found it quite funny.

  8. Mcgoo4444 says:

    Oh this guy…..

  9. Benjot Sumal says:

    If he were American he probably would have sued them even though it was his
    fault for that injury.

  10. sunshineo23 says:

    The phone was warning you!

  11. Manny Perez says:

    LMAO I’m sorry about your face mate

  12. Ismael Melendez says:


  13. Annony Mous says:

    Clearly not safe if you can hurt yourself like that even if your to blame

  14. Mank Demes says:


  15. Aaron McCleod says:

    I would love to go there!

  16. Arkhanno says:

    Damn, Tom, be careful out there! Where else will I go for amazing British
    humour and various facts about things/places I didn’t know existed?

  17. Anya Thurmes says:

    Your screaming as you went upside-down was hilarious and slightly adorable.
    I hope you heal up soon!

  18. Naytone says:

    This looks like something out of Saw! XD

  19. Stephen Furr says:

    Tom, great video! That looks painful. Glad you’re going to be okay.

    I love your work: found you from Numberphile (or was it Computerphile)
    about a year ago. Now I’m addicted. Keep up the good work!

  20. givememore4free says:

    Million dollar question is are you still hot??