The Human Chess of Marostica, Italy

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The Human Chess of Marostica is a famous festival held in Marostica, in the northern province of Veneto, Italy.

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Marostica is known for the costumed human chess game that takes place in the town square, every two years on the second weekend of September. The tradition started in 1923, inspired by an event of 1454.

About 600 figures dressed in medieval costumes, horses, armed knights, fire-breathers, jogglers, and flag-wavers, ladies and gentlemen, provide the setting for this game of chess representing the challenge between Rinaldo d’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara.

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© Studio Bozzetto

The game commemorates a legendary chess game played in 1454 by two young knights in order to settle which of them would court the lady that both had fallen in love with. 

According to the local legend, two brave warriors, Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, daughter of Castellano Taddeo Parisio, and challenged each other to a duel for her hand, as was the custom of those times. Taddeo Parisio, the Lord of Marostica, who did not want to lose either of the two talented young people, forbade the encounter and decreed instead that the two rivals would play a chess game and the winner would have the hand of Lionora. The loser, on the other hand, would have married her younger sister, Oldrada.

The reenactment of the legendary chess match takes place on the square in front of the Lower Castle, with living pieces, armed and marked with black and white insignia, according to the tradition, in the presence of the Lord, of his daughter, the Lords of Angarano and Vallonara, the nobles of the neighboring cities and the entire town.

The new edition of the “Chess Game” exceptionally scheduled in an odd year due to the postponement due to the pandemic, will be held on 10, 11 and 12 September 2021.

The event is promoted by Associazione Pro Marostica in collaboration with the City of Marostica, with the patronage of the Veneto Region and the Province of Vicenza.

Source: Associazione Pro Marostica, Visit Marostica
Images courtesy of SERGIO SARTORI and STUDIO BOZZETTO

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