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The “escape room” phenomenon. The map and ranking of the best in Italy

The first one opened in Japan in 2008, soaring in 2019 after the film with Adam Robitel

Mazes, haunted houses, futuristic atmospheres and historical settings: Italy is experiencing a boom of reservations for “escape rooms”, playrooms where you can have a real adventure as you seek to solve a series of enigmas within 60 minutes. From role-playing to escape rooms: they exist in almost every city – larger cities have many of them – and as proof of the growing trend Tripadvisor has even created the category “Escape rooms in Italy” to map the best and rank them based on fan reviews.

The first escape room in history, the one that enthusiasts of the genre refer to, dates back to 2008 and is attributed to Takao Katoe of Japan, who conceived the “Real escape game”: it was a sort of treasure hunt with clues scattered in bars and restaurants of Tokyo. In 2010, the Real Escape Game was launched, created by Scrap, with initial experiences in Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore, followed by affiliates around the world. In Europe, it was Parapak that got things started in 2011 in Budapest.  Italy inaugurated its first escape room in Florence in 2014, with AdventureRooms.

It was in 2019, the year the film Escape Room by Adam Robitel was released, that escape rooms began to grow from a niche experience to a mass phenomenon.

©Magic Escape Room

It only takes two to participate, but it is usually an activity conceived for groups, up to a maximum of 8 participants. These activities are growing increasingly popular even within the business community: escape rooms are being selected as a team building event, considering that solving the enigmas and finding the way out requires maximum collaboration between participants. Escape rooms are also becoming an increasingly popular idea for a gift: guaranteed fun and an experience that many decide to repeat more than once to spend a different kind of evening in the company of friends. And for people who don’t want to leave home there are online versions one can sign up for and participate with people connected from all across Italy.

One of the most popular escape rooms at the top of the national rankings is Trap Milano, which features adventures on pirate ships and in Mayan temples; in Rome the Magic Escape Room – which also simulates Houdini’s study – and the House of Evil, an actual 400 square-meter home with a noir storyline; Excape Bari where you pretend to be detectives investigating gangsters and bank robberies; One Way Out in Turin which offers formats such as Operation Monnalisa and Final Judgment.

In many Italian cities, the Cronos escape rooms also offer historical adventures in the Dante’s Inferno and Tutankhamon’s Tomb rooms. There are also Psycho Hospital and Jurassic World rooms.

Among the online M4RT3! Initiatives conceived by the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, in collaboration with Inaf-Astronomical Observatory of Brera,  there is an escape room that simulates a narrative experience that is both science and science fiction, tracking the famous astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiapparelli to discover the mysteries of Mars.


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