The Pisan June (Giugno Pisano) is a series of events that take place ev Read more [...]
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).
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 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 Ponte di Mezzo, with the clubs and shields being replaced by a wooden board called 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 bombing of Ponte di Mezzo, the game was suspended. Revived after the war, it was canceled again in 1963. The Battle of the Bridge was resumed, for the last time, in 1981.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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 takes place in five stages: the march of the troops along the riverbanks of the Arno river, 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 pushing an iron cart along a specially mounted track on Ponte di Mezzo, aiming to conquer the enemy’s side of the bridge.
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