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BE AWARE! At this point, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the events of any kind are suspended throughout Italy. Therefore, the events promoted on our website are to be considered cancelled or postponed until further notice. The date in this article is no longer valid.
Gioco del Ponte (Battle of the Bridge) has its roots in an ancient violent game called Mazzascudo, held on the day of Sant’Antonio Abate, on January 17. On this occasion, the citizens of the city, divided into two factions, fought themselves with clubs and shields, in the current Piazza dei Cavalieri. The game was banned by the Florentines after the occupation of Pisa, in 1407.
Over the centuries, the game was repeatedly revived and interrupted, undergoing progressive changes to the original formula. At a certain time, the Florentines invented a dispute that was placed on the Ponte di Mezzo, with the clubs and shields being replaced by a wooden board called the Targone. The last battle disputed after this system dates back to February 6, 1807, when the queen regent of Etruria, Maria Luisa, suspended the game again.
The modern version of the game appeared in 1935. During the Second World War, due also to the demolition of the Ponte di Mezzo, the game was suspended. Revived after the war, it was canceled again in 1963. The Gioco del Ponte was resumed, for the last time, in 1981.
PROGRAM OF THE EVENT
The Battle of the Bridge is held on the beautiful bridge Ponte di Mezzo, between two teams dressed in elaborate 16th century costumes – one representing Mezzogiorno, the districts of Pisa south of the Arno river, and the other representing Tramontana, the districts north of the river.
The event has five stages: the march of the troops along the riverbanks of the revier Arno, the formal opening of the battle, the call to arms, the challenges made by ambassadors, and finally, the battle itself.
In the contemporary version, the game consists in the pushing of an iron cart along a specially mounted track on the Ponte di Mezzo, aiming to conquer the enemy’s side of the bridge.
The Pisan June (Giugno Pisano) is a series of events which take place during the month of June, in Pisa, in honor of the patron saint of the city, San Ranieri (Saint Rainerius).
The Pisan June 2020 will begin on May 28, when the historical game of Mazzascudo will be held in Piazza dei Cavalieri, and will conclude on July 6, when the ceremony of the Marriage with the Sea will take place.