"Marostica - Home of the Human Chess Game Scacchi" Marostica by sargentjeff

Marostica Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 140 photos

Human Chess Games - Only in Italia!

The story of theChessGame dates back to 1454 when Marostica belonged to the Venetian Republic.
It happened that two nobleman, Rinaldo D'Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, daughter of Taddeo Parisio, who was the Lord of the Marostica's castle.
As was the custom in that time, they challenged each other to a duel to win the hand of Lionora.
The Lord, not wanting to make an enemy of either suiter or loose them in a duel, forbade the encounter in conformity with Venetian Law.
He decided the two rivals should play a chess game: Lionora would take the winner as her husband. He furthermore decided that the loser would in any case join his family, marrying Oldrada, his younger sister. The game should take place on the square in front of the Lower Castle on a feast-day with armed living personcarrying the noble ensigns of Withes and Blacks, in the presenceof the Lord, his noble daugther, the Lords of Angarano and Vallonara, the noble court and the entire population.
Ha also decided the challenge should be honoured by an exibition of armed man, foot-spkliers and knights, with fireworks and dances and sounds.
So the armed men enter the field: we see archers and halberdiers, fool-soldiers and knights, then the Lord and his noble court with an anxious Lionora, who is secretely in love with one of the two rivals; the her faithful nurse, noblemen and their ladies, the herold, the master of arms, falconers, pageboys, maidens, standard holders, musicians, farmers and their wives; the Whites and Blacks with their kings and queens, rooks and knights, bishops and pawns: and the two suiters, who decide the moves.
Then tribulation for the victory, fireworks and music according to the Lord's orders.
As lady Lionora had secretly informad the population, should the winner be her beloved, the Lower Castle would be illuminated by whitelight, so that everybody could share their joy.
This event is repeated today just like the first time, in a framework of sumptuous costumes, multi-colour abnners, martial parades, exquisite elegance.
A note of unique courtesy pervades everything; it inspires the whole re-evocation of this ancient story which, from the darkness of remote times, still lives today as a miracle of fantasy.
The orders are still given to characters and cast today in the dialect of the "Serenissima Republic of Venezia".
The Human Chess Game will be played on the square of Marostica every second Friday, Saturday and Sunday of September of the even years.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great views of Veneto. Real history and tradition
  • Cons:Parking can be tough here.
  • In a nutshell:Go to Marostica at any time, but best to see Scacchi if you can.
  • Last visit to Marostica: Sep 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (2)

  • Aug 24, 2004 at 8:02 AM

    I loved Marostica so much that I wrote a romance story about her. What did you love about Marostica?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2004 at 5:46 AM

    Looks like you found the same page I did! Thanks for the tip. Cheers, Ian


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