A Le Marche Festa of traditional games
Sarnano celebrates a golden age of childhood
Personally, the latter subject still irks my dad. He had confiscated my catapult at my uncle Gordon’s just completed 1970s designer home, with its alla moda glass walls. He said “don’t ever fire towards the house”, he took aim, fired away from the house, hit the cement mixer and the ricochet smashed the ridiculously expensive glass. Oh how we, with the exception of my Dad and Uncle Gordon, laughed!.
Anyway, the wonderful ancient village of Sarnano, have just held “Borgo in gioco”a weekend of traditional Games.
With the backdrop of the nearby Sibillini Mountains , the sun drenched terracotta walls of the medieval village, the sound of wandering minstrels and the delicious smells wafting from a couple of pop up Osteria restaurants creating a unique atmosphere.
A festival of family fun & games for the kids
The historic Piazzas and lanes were alive with whoops of joy and laughter. At the entrance to the village, an old loggia housed an exhibition of traditional toys and games, outside were demonstrations of card games, a Burrattinaio, or puppet show, sack races, a Go kart piste, wheel of fortune, hopscotch, catapulting (away from glass without cement mixers), archery and stilt walking.
Sony and Nintendo really have a thing or two to learn from this enchanting community event . Its all very well getting your mates up to your room for a game of Wii, but an imaginary bat and ball cannot replace real thing and besides a) you look daft playing wii and b) there are ways to have more fun jumping up and down in your bedroom
Among the more unusual traditional Italian games were
Scoccia Pignatte or “angry pots”
This involves a row of terracotta pots being hung from a line about 10 feet in the air.Contestants are blindfolded and given a long stick, they are then guided by a teammates and then allowed a couple of whacks to try and break the pot. If successful, they are showered with broken pottery.
Lippa is a traditional game played with two sticks: a large one, which is used to hit a smaller one, that resembles a peg or table skittle. The idea is to tap the small stick and when its airborne to volley it as far as possible In Europe, the game was only played in Italy, strangely though, it is also played in the rural areas and small towns all over India and Pakistan as well as Cambodia where it is called Gilli-Danda .
Ruzzola is a traditional game usually played during Lent using a 11cm diameter hard wooden disc, 1.2cm thick. The game is played by teams along white roads in rural Italy took place . The types of throw depended on the terrain and route and involved shows of strength along straight pistes, but also included technical ability such as curving the disc to the right or the left, hills, up and down hills. Each team takes turns to throw the ruzzola a far as they can along a prescribed course, with the winner being the one that passes the “salmo” (finishing line) first.
Albero della Cuccagna
The game Albero della Cucagna involves a pole (often greasy); which is erected for climbers to show their agility and speed in climbing and hopefully rescuing the treats that are hung at the top (In Sarnano’s case these were locally made salamis).