Marostica

Chess game performed by people in costume

The medieval village of Marostica is situated in the Province of Vicenza. It is well known for the surrounding perimeter walls; the chess games performed by living people as well as for the hills where the cherry of Marostica grows. Due to the mild and sunny hills, it has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The town was fortified by the Romans and, as evidence of it, there is a “roman vestigia”.

The defensive system that surrounds the old town rests upon two castles: the Superiore (superior) and the Inferiore (inferior) connected with each other by walls built along the slope of the Pausolino’s hill. The system dates back to Roman times and was built by the Scaligeri between 1311 and 1387. The Castello Inferiore or “low Castle” and the Castello Superiore were built by the Scaligero Cangrande. The walls and the attractive “pivellini and torrioni” were built in 1372 by Consignorio. Not only the Scaligeri provided for the fortified system, but also for the organization of residential and commercial area of the city by changing the winding road into the current “Via Mazzini” connecting the porte (doors) Breganzina and Bassanese.

The centre of Marostica is the part in front of Castello Inferiore marked with houses and the Loggia Comunale. The Castello Inferiore, has a quadrilateral side floor plan of about 40 meters, with balconies on the courtyard, a well and a massive keep (strong central tower). It was damaged under the Austrian domination and recovered in 1935. The Castello Superiore or “Rocca”, is a fortress designed as a separate unit with two courtyards and two wells; it was the Castellano’s house and garrison. Today only two of the four angular towers are visible.

From 1404 to 1797, the city fell under the dominion of the Republic of Venice, to be later on transferred under the domination of Napoleon Bonaparte and then to the Austrian Empire until 1818. The walls is developed for almost two kilometers with a structure of about 2 meters and 10 meters in height. In addition to the great towers of Porta Bassano and Porta Breganze (doors), on the walls there are 20 torricelle (towers), some of them turned into housing. At the centre of the walls, the square which overlooks the Castello Inferiore (castle) and the rebuilt Palazzo Doglione (palace). In 1383 was built the Chapel, today the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate enlarged in the fifteenth century and annexed to the convent of Minori Osservanti (monks). The Chiesa del Carmine (church) is placed on the high churchyard and, on the background, steps onto Via Sant’Antonio of the seventeenth century.

Celebrations of Marostica village

On the first Sunday of June, the city celebrates the cherry festival. The second weekend of September, in the central square of the town, takes place the traditional chess game performed by living pawns dressed with sumptuous antique costumes of the ‘400 – and over 500 appearances and multicoloured banners. Since 1493, an ancient tradition as a challenge between duelists to win the heart of the beautiful Lionora, Taddeo Parisio Castellano’s daughter of Marostica. “The two noble warriors Rinaldo d’Angarano and Vieri from Vallonata, challenged to a duel but the Castellano forbade the clash by referring to Cangrande della Scala’s decree stating that Lionora would have been married by rivals who had won the noble chess game”. For al those fond of Historical reenactment, every second Sunday of the month throughout the year, takes place il “Castello che rivive” (riliving castle), a 1454 performance with ladies, knights, kings and queens wearing period costumes.