Marostica and the Chess Game

marostica-piazza-degli-scacchi-partita-a-scacchi-300x225Although Marostica is a small town of 13,894 inhabitants in the province of Vicenza, it is famous all over the world. The first thing you notice when you drive to Marostica is the city walls, that rise on the slopes of the hill Pausolino, and connect the two castles, The Upper Castle and the Lower Castle. The Lower Castle is located on the central arcaded square, while from the Upper Castle visitors can enjoy a beautiful view over the plain. But... this is not what Marostica is famous for! This little town is known all over the world for its chess game that takes place in the town square every two years (even years), with live people.

The chess game evokes a historic match that took place in 1454 when Marostica belonged to the Venetian Republic.

It so happened that two noble warriors, Rinaldo d' Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara fell in love with the same woman, Lionara. As it was the costume of those times the two men challenged each other in a bloody duel. The castellano, however, did not want to lose any of the two men, so he forbade the duel and decided that Lionora would marry the winner of a a noble game of chess, while the loser would marry her sister Oldrada.

The idea of this chess game played with live people in the square came from the sculptor and artist Mirko Vucetich (Bologna 1898 – Vicenza 1975) who proposed it in 1954. Over 550 people in medieval costumes, horses, flag wavers, fire breathing players, ladies and gentlemen contribute to the reenactment of the chess game. This year the event is scheduled to take place Friday September 12 through Sunday, September 14. The dates however have not been confirmed yet.