Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Italian Experience: Day 3 - Marostica

Day 3 - 11/03/13 Marostica

Hubby made his famous biscuits and gravy this Sunday morning. No visit to Son and DIL is complete unless there is one breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy.

Ancient wall around the square in Marostica
Today we drove north to the medieval town of Marostica. It's located in northern Italy in the foothills of the Italian Alps about a half-hour drive from Vicenza and near Bassano del Grappa. Marostica, surrounded by the ancient walls of its castles, is world famous for the human chess game held on the giant chessboard of its public square. Each September of even numbered years the chess game is held with living chess pieces dressed in medieval costumes.

This interesting event began when members of the local chess club who played chess in the main square decided to play a game using people as the gamepieces. After World War II, the comedy writer Vucetich Mirko wrote a play in which, "Two noblemen, Renaldo D'Anganaro and Vieri da Vallanora, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, a daughter of Taddeo Parisio, the local lord. The custom of that time was to challenge each other to a duel. Which is what the men did to win the hand of Lionora. The Lord of Marostica, not wanting to make an enemy of either suitor or lose either in a duel, prohibited the duel. He decreed the suitors would play a game of chess. The victor would win the hand of his daughter, Lionora. The loser would marry his younger daughter, Oldrada.

According to Wikipedia: 
During the play the game takes place on the square in front of the Lower Castle with supporters carrying the noble ensigns of Whites and Blacks, in the presence of the Lord, his noble daughter, the Lords of Angarano and Vallonara, the court and the entire town population. The Lord also decides the challenge would be honoured by an exhibition of armed men, foot-soldiers and knights, with fireworks and dances and music". Needless to say, this literary account has nothing to do with factual history and the chess square in the city was built after the Second World War and after the writing of Vucetich's play. This fictional story is now re-enacted in the main square of Marostica every second Friday, Saturday and Sunday of September of even-numbered years. The orders are still given to the cast today in the local Language (Venetian) of the "Most Serene Republic of Venice".

Here is a short video of the beginning of the Chess Game.
Marostica is also known for its tasty cherries.

Walked along the route to the square. Beautiful homes with ivy covered fences and lush bushes. Grandson walked with me most of the way. :)

This Sunday was a market in the square with vendors selling antiques, jewelry, leather goods, fur coats, and clothing. The vendors were lined along the outer edges of the square. Misty rain, but not enough to stop us!
Gate into the square. Another arch!
Knocker on gate of a house along the path to the square
An iron school bell and a small iron coat rack that attaches to the wall with retractable hooks came home with us. Additions to our antique collection. 
Giant Chess Board in the Square

Me and hubby in Marostica square

Castle with chess board in center

Castle on hill with walls following sides of mountain
Came home and made shrimp and sausage gumbo. Should rename this: A Cajun in Italy...Ciao, sha!

Wouldn't this place be a wonderful setting for a romance novel?

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