Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

A game of human chess

The good old fashioned way to settle an argument, especially when it came to love rivalry, wasn’t to talk things over like mature adults, but whip out the guns and challenge your rival to a duel. But one Italian lord, when faced with the prospect of losing one of two close friends both vying for his eldest daughter’s hand in marriage, decided to do things differently. He challenged the noble rivals to play a game of chess, with his daughter as the prize. And now, every second year, the town square of Marostica is transformed into a giant chess board with real people playing the parts of the pieces.

It might spoil the romance to note that Marostica’s human chess board is a tradition that only dates back to the first world war, when locals decided to spice up the game by using real people as the pieces. The legend itself was created by a comedy writer some thirty years later. But we don’t want to let the facts get in the way of a good story. So suspend your disbelief in the legend and head to Marostica on a September in an even numbered year to enjoy the theatre and fireworks of a human chess game.