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Il Gioco del Ponte – Pisa and its medieval traditions

In Events, Pisa on June 20, 2010 by lamiatoscanablog Tagged: , , , ,

On last Sunday in June the game of bridge takes place  in Pisa every year. At the end of a long procession, during which the participants wear traditional costumes from the Middle Ages, the two teams Tramontana  and Mezzogiono compete for the win. The game is a kind of tug of war. Object is not a rope, but a heavy car that is placed on rails. The team that manages to press the car on the bridge into the opponent’s territory  is the winner.

The game of  the bridge is a very old tournament, which has already been held since the end of 1400. At the time, when the Medici ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, there was a great rivalry between the inhabitants of the two opposite banks of the Arno. First, the ruler of Florence  banned the game, because they considered it as a dangerous instrument of rebellion. But the inhabitants of Pisa were very pourd of the tournament, because it was for them the symbol of the glory and virtues of the great Mediterranean Republic, that Pisa was at that time. In the Middle Ages educational and moral virtues of chivalry were attributed to the game. Then as now, the areas of the northern bank compete with the  southern bank of the Arno. Over the years the game has not only become one of the most important traditions of the city, but also a major tourist attraction.

The Arno divides Pisa in two parts called Tramontana and Mezzogiono. If one looks at the natural course of the river to the sea, one sees on his right the northern area called Tramontana, and on his left the southern area, called Mezziogiorno. At the tournament, a total of 12 teams take part. Six come from the six districts of the northern part and the other six from the southern part of the city.

The visit of the historic Pisa can be combined with a holiday in the hinterland of Pisa, known as the Era valley. This charming valley is still largely undiscovered by tourism, and tourists get in touch with the true face of Tuscany beyond mass tourism. In the inspiring and impressive scenery, guests will find an abundance of natural beauty, history, art and architecture.

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