06 March 2011

Marostica Scacchi


The story of the Chess Game dates back to 1454 when Marostica belonged to the Venetian Republic.

It happened that two noblemen, Rinaldo D'Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, daughter of Taddeo Parisio, who was the Lord of the Marostica's castle. As was the custom in that time, they challenged each other to a cruel duel to win the hand of Lionora.

The Lord, not wanting to make an enemy of either suitors or loose them in a duel, forbade the encounter in conformity with Cangrande della Scala's Edict. He decided the two rivals should play a chess game: Lionora would take the winner as her husband and the loser would in any case join his family, marrying Oldrada, the younger sister.

The game should take place on the square in front of the Lower Castle on a feast-day with armed living persons carrying the noble ensigns of Whites and Blacks, in the presence of the Lord, his noble daughter, the Lords of Angarano and Vallonara, the noble court and the entire population.
He also decided the challenge should be honoured by an performance of armed men, fool-soldiers and knights, with fireworks and dances and sounds.

So the armed men entered the field: archers and halberdiers, fool-soldiers and knights, then the Lord and his noble court with an anxious Lionora, who is secretly in love with one of the two rivals, her faithful nurse, noblemen and their ladies, the herold, the master of arms, falconers, pageboys, maidens, standard holders, musicians, farmers and their wives; the Whites and the Blacks with their kings and queens, rooks and knights, bishops and pawns and the two suitors who decide the moves. Then tribulation for the victory, fireworks and music according to the Lord's orders.

This event is repeated today just like the first time, in a framework of sumptuous costumes, multi-colour banners, martial parades, exquisite elegance.

A note of unique courtesy pervades everything; it inspires the whole re-evocation of this ancient story which, from the darkness of remote times, still live today as a miracle of fantasy.

The orders are still given to characters and cast today in the "Serenissima Republic of Venezia" dialect.

The show, with over 550 characters, last about 2 hours.


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