A dark ride in America is commonly referred to as a Ghost Train in Europe. The Germans call it Geisterbahn. In Italian, it's Treno Fantasma. In the realm of dark ride facade design, particularly as it pertains to portable and fairground rides, there is little that compares to the elaborate level of imagination inherent in those built by the Italian ride manufacturers. While highly impressive products have also been turned out by Reverchon of France and Heinrich Mack of Germany (Flight To Mars), the rides built by the Italian firms, which seemed to favor the area around Reggio Emilia as their base of operations, exhibited an almost classically inspired approach to their creations.

In this first section, let's have a look at a few examples of dark rides that were produced by well-known Italian manufacturers.

Above: This Bertazzon portable has an array of mostly animated figures along the top elevation. The chest-beating ape, the
gorilla face with gear-teeth and the dragon head are common to rides made by several Italian firms, as we'll discuss later.
Below: Barbisan was one of the most prolific producers in the Italian dark ride field. This was their tri-level Haunted Castle.

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