The history of Marostica is lost in the mists of time. A succession of dominions and castellans that made it so valuable the Monte Pauso and Monte Pausolino, become palimpsests of this town: a pearl of Veneto.
The sunny slopes in communication with the plain below have made the area conducive to human habitation since prehistoric times. In Roman times on the Pauso hill was built a castle with its walls tumbling down the hill and along the plain, and they still surround the historic city. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Marostica was crossed by various rulers: Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards and Franks; dominating races that enriched its fabric.
Today Marostica is famous for two things: its delicious cherries and chess. Marostica is called “the city of chess” and its square, every two years, it recalls an apparently old tradition, a game of human chess is played.
This year the game will be played on 9-10-11 September 2016. For further information you can consult the site of the event.
Let me tell you the legend that gave birth to this wonderful place and event.
The year was 1454 when in Marostica two knights challenged each other to a duel for the love of a woman. The nobles were Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara. The contention was nice to Lionora, the daughter of the governor of Marostica Taddeo Parisio.
The governor, not to alienate either side, and to prevent the fight occurring with the possible loss of an ally, applied an edict of CanGrande della Scala. He decided that the beautiful Lionora would marry whichever of the two rivals who had won a game of chess with living pieces held in the middle of the town square. The loser would marry the lovely sister of Lionora, i.e. Oldrada. And so goes the story that created the current chess game after WW2.
Never before has this story seemed as useful as today. Possibly, this story encompasses all the know-how and problem solving that is typically Italian. The governor in Marostica had used a harmless game of chess to resolve a serious conflict “a fight between friends” by using pawns, to dissipate the accumulated aggression without irreversible damage.
A very interesting comment about this situation is made by Massimo Del Papa who says: “We are just so: bellicose in words, much less on the field, more apt to make love than war. These things many complain about, but the fact is that those who come here don’t go away: perhaps it may happen to these hotheads, just to give them time.”
So Italians are heroes who prefer to solve conflicts through games. In the past with games of chess. Today, through wordplay. Here through the games they might not solve the problems but they sure know how to roll with the punches in a world that play too much with lives.