Italian Chess + Grappa Tasting

For Lindsey’s last weekend in Italy, we decided to attend a not-so-ordinary Italian chess match.  Every two years, the town of Marostica puts on a live chess match, with people and horses serving as the chess pieces. It takes place in the main town square surrounded by a medieval castle and city walls. The story of the chess game dates back to 1454 when two noblemen, Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fell in love with the Lionora, daughter of the Lord of Marostica’s castle.  As was custom in medieval times, the men challenged each other to a duel to decide who would win Lionora’s hand in the end.  The Lord, not wanting to make an enemy of either suitor or lose them for his army, forbid the duel.  Instead, he commanded that the men settle the dispute by a chess match and Linora would then marry the winner.  Lionora, however, was secretly in love with one of the men already.  She informed the public, should the winner be her one “true love,” the castle would be illuminated by white light so that everybody could share their joy.  They replicate this match every two years with a fireworks display at the end, basking the castle in white light.  (Yep, I guess the right man won in the end!)

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