Based in Verona, Italy, the Associazione Giochi Antichi (AGA) is engaged, since 2003, in the safeguarding of Traditional Games and Sports and has supported the growth of a large “community of communities”, through events, meetings and networking activities. At present, “Tocatì, a shared programme for the safeguarding of traditional games and sports”, brings together groups of practitioners of a rich variety of traditional games and sports (expressions of, so called, ludodiversity) from Italy, Europe and the world in a common effort to transmit a widespread, often invisible and precious ludic heritage to the new generations. Traditional games and sports help strengthening the community, generating relationships and memories, promoting new encounters, and reinforce the vital link with urban and rural environments and natural materials: wood and stone, eggs and nuts, metal, leather, fibres, etc.
In the present difficult times of confinement and restrictions, due to COVID19, thanks to an initiative of the Verona municipality, Tocatì proposes to the Italian communities of its network to adapt some traditional games to play at home, reviving, with greater strength and conviction the values of the intangible cultural heritage: alive, local and universal at the same time !
The games described with the initiative “I giochi a casa di Tocatí” (literally, “the games of Tocatí played at home”, see Tocatì web site
- Il “Gioco delle noci” (Game of walnuts) – the game is played by a community of women in the village of Monterosso al Mare (Liguria Region), a World Heritage site (the Cinque Terre). It connects to traditional food (the recipe for pesto) and to local sociality, being at the same time a means for meeting the tourists crossing the streets of the village in the summer months. It belongs to the so-called family of “games with food” that is, the nuts themselves are the playing material. In the past this was a coveted “booty” because they were rare and expensive, and so in a game, challenging luck, with a certain dexterity, you could take home a whole bunch of them.
- Playing with eggs during the Easter period - this is a tradition still rooted in many regions of Italy. The “Gioco del Truc” (Game of Truc) is played in Cividale del Friuli (Friuli Venezia Giulia Region) and is widespread throughout Friuli and in the east of Veneto. In the days before the Easter, in the streets and squares of the village are built wide basins of sand, supported by a structure of bricks: A real small arena surmounted by a “launching ramp”, made with an inverted roof shingle from which the eggs slide. The aim is to hit with the own egg the eggs of the adversaries that are already in the basin. Also the “Gioco of Punta e Cul” (Game of tip and bum) is played during Easter days, in the village of Urbania (Marche Region), where people of all ages meets in the central square to play. Wichin small groups the goal is, in turn in pairs, to try to break the opponent’s egg, by beating with the tip of the egg and keeping the own intact.
- Traditional throwing games – several so-called “giochi di osteria” (tavern games) are well suited to be played at home. Within the family of “games with food”, for example, the “Gioco della Capanna” (Game of Capanna) is practiced in the taverns of the village of Santa Fiora (Tuscany Region), during winter, with real tournaments at Christmas time. It consists of the skillful launch of a form of Panforte cake on a table, in order to drop the panforte as close as possible to the far edge of the table without dropping it. The game of the “Campana di Lama Mocogno” (Emilia Romagna Region), instead, consists in throwing coins on a wooden board, divided into scores sections, like in the pub game “Shove’ha penny”. The tradition of playing in the taverns, in fact, recalls of other traditions, such as the English pub games or Greek and Turkish tavern games, and reminds a way of socialise by playing in public spaces.
- Racing street games – several games with marbles or crown caps, are suitable to be played at home. A racing game with crown caps, spread throughout Italy, until the ’70s played by children, while since the ’80s fascinating especially adults is that of “Ciclotappo” (Game of Cyclecup).The Federazione Italiana Giuoco CicloTappo is based in Genoa (Liguria Region) and brings together numerous groups of players, who compete each year in a stage championship all aroung Italian regions: a crown caps “Giro d’Italia” !
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