On at about 08:47:09 AM, Visiting Marostica: What to See and Do was updated.
This time I'll take you to the province of Vicenza and tell you what to see in Marostica as part of the Venetian walled cities project. This city of about 14,000 people is also well-known outside of Italy for its large historical re-enactment, which takes the form of a chess game every two years. But let's take it one step at a time.
The Origins of Marostica
Human settlements have existed in this hilly area beneath the plateau of the seven municipalities since prehistoric times. Marostica was a medieval village that was fought over several times by different factions, and it was during this period, more specifically in 1311, that Cangrande della Scala (which we also found in Soave) ordered the construction of the Castle, which was divided into two parts, Lower and Upper, joined by the walls.
However, in the following century, an event occurred that is commemorated every two years in the well-known historical re-enactment of the Chess Game. In 1454, Taddeo Parisio, the castellan of Marostica, is the father of the lovely Lionora, with whom two knights, Rinaldo d'Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fall in love. The duel challenge was used to settle disputes at the time, but the castellan wanted to avoid losing one of the two valid knights, so he suggested they play the noble game of chess instead. Thus, the first game of living chess was played, accompanied by music and dance.
When the Living Chess Game Happens
The historical re-enactment, which includes hundreds of costumed figures, is something everyone should see at least once in their lives! We're hoping to go this year because the game is usually held on the second weekend of September in even years. However, because it was unable to take place last year, it will be held again this year on Friday, September 10, Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12, 2021. The show will begin at 9 p.m., with a second show at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The setting is the famous Piazza degli Scacchi, as seen in the cover image. Approximately 550 people take to the streets for the two-hour show. The protagonists wear the most expensive clothes, which are displayed in a dedicated room inside the Lower Castle throughout the year. So, even if you visit Marostica at a different time, you can relive a portion of the famous game.
Tickets range from 23 euros for the afternoon show to 92 euros for the platinum grandstand on Saturday evening and can be purchased on the official website.
What Are the Top Things to Do in Marostica, Italy?
The Castle's Lower Level
We've already mentioned the Lower Castle, which underwent a major restoration in the 2000s that made it completely accessible to visitors. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 15 to 18 p.m.
Cross the ancient drawbridge to enter, and on the ground floor, admire the Corte d'Armi, which is surrounded by double Scaliger brick colonnades. The loggia, on the other hand, has all the hallmarks of Venetian Renaissance palaces. You'll also notice the Keep, which stands 34 meters tall and is divided into seven floors. The Captain's quarters and the ancient night signaling equipment were on the top floor. The Patrol Way has been well preserved as well.
Among the most important rooms is the Sala del Consiglio, which has long served as the seat of the city council as well as hosting the city's most important cultural events. The Sala delle Armi was located at the entrance to the podestà's private apartments; did you know that it was so named because visitors were required to leave their swords here before entering the apartments?
Another fascinating section is the one I mentioned earlier, which is dedicated to the costumes worn during the historical reenactment of the chess game. Some props can also be found here, while the weapons used on stage can be found in the Hall of Shields and Banners.
The Upper Castle and the Carmini Path
The Upper Castle, located on the top of the Pausolino hill, is accessible from the city center via a short but intense walk. The Carmini path to the castle does, in fact, have a significant slope. This means no strollers and the requirement to wear trekking shoes, particularly if you walk it in autumn, when the leaves make it especially slippery, or after a rainy day.
The view, on the other hand, will reward your efforts. As you climb, you will notice different views of Marostica, and once at the top of the Pausolino hill, you will enjoy a 360-degree panorama, as well as the remains of the Upper Castle.
The Madonna del Carmine Church
The church is elevated above the center of Marostica, represented by Piazza Castello, and the entrance is reached via a magnificent staircase. This is why it is frequently chosen for wedding celebrations.
The facade is in the Baroque style, and the interior has a single nave with three magnificent altars; the central one is in marble, and the two lateral ones are in richly carved wood.
The Carmini path leads up to the Upper Castle from behind the church.
In Marostica, where to eat and where to sleep
I can only recommend one of my favorite restaurants in Marostica: the old Madonnetta tavern, located a few steps from Piazza degli Scacchi. It is one of Italy's oldest taverns, having been in operation since 1904. The management is well-known, and the cuisine is traditional of the Veneto region.
Many traditional objects can be found on the premises, and in the summer, a pleasant internal garden welcomes you. Don't be afraid to bring the kids: when we went, Lavinia and I, along with our friends Giulia and Melissa, provided us with a large table, placemats, crayons, two high chairs, and a lot of patience!
The most appealing option for sleeping in Marostica is undoubtedly to stay within the walls. The selection of properties is limited, but they all have excellent ratings on Booking.com, which I recommend you check out. Remember to check their location by opening the map: those inside the walls are easily identified because they are in the yellow area, while the outside is gray.
How to Get to Marostica
Since the opening of the new Pedemontana Veneta highway, getting to Marostica has become even easier. If driving from the A4, exit at Vicenza for the Valdastico A31, and after Dueville, take the Pedemontana Veneta up to the Marostica exit.
Treviso is the closest airport, followed by Venice and Verona. By train, you can get to Bassano del Grappa or Vicenza and then take the bus to Marostica.
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