Greece might lay claim to the most famous labyrinth, built by the mythical Daedalus, but Italy captures the title for largest maze -- plus, it's real. The Masone Labyrinth lies near the northern Italian city of Parma and consists of 200,000 bamboo plants covering 17 acres (7 hectares) and surrounding a pyramid-shaped chapel. The maze was built by Franco Maria Ricci, a former publisher who sold his empire to build the maze after being inspired by talks with Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges, who had once told Ricci that being human is like living in a maze. Although Borges argued that the desert is already the greatest maze anyone can imagine, Ricci spent decades building his maze, which has eclipsed Dole's Garden Maze in Hawaii as the world's largest. Visitors can enjoy not only the maze -- which they are welcome to wander at their own pace -- but also art galleries, a library, and suites for overnight stays.
Winding through mazes and labyrinths:
- Technically, a "maze" is meant to challenge walkers to find an exit, while a "labyrinth" is meant for meditation and easy wandering.
- The first maze used for studying rats was built in 1901 by a graduate student to test the creatures' ability to navigate and learn from their mistakes.
- One way out of virtually all mazes is to keep your right hand on a wall, which will eventually connect to the outer wall and exit.