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Gioco del Ponte

This historically evocative event, called Gioco del Ponte, consists of two distinct but both significant parts: the historical procession along the Arno river which is a huge military parade, and the battle.


This historically evocative event, called Gioco del Ponte, consists of two distinct but both significant parts: the historical procession along the Arno river which is a huge military parade, and the battle, that takes place on the Ponte di Mezzo during which the two opposing teams give proof of their own physical strength in a strongly competitive atmosphere. Some sources try to date back this game to the classic antiquity. These hypotheses are not confirmed and it is more likely to be a local transformation of the Gioco del Mazzascudo, that from the XI to the XIII centuries was played as a simulated battle in the ancient Piazza degli Anziani, called today Piazza dei Cavalieri.

Gioco del Ponte - Pisa - Pisa events - Giugno PisanoThe game was played between single players, equipped with body armour, cudgels and shields. In the final day the individual battle was replaced by a general battle where the fighters where divided into two teams, respectively called of the “cockerel” and of the “magpie”. The first known edition of the Gioco del Ponte was held on the 22nd  February 1568. The Old Bridge, now called Ponte di Mezzo, was the seat of the battle and the aim of the game was the conquest of a part or of the entire half of the bridge occupied by the opposing faction. The players of Tramontana and Mezzogiorno, were divided in a variable number of teams, of 50/60 players each. Each team had its own colours and banners. The participants taking part in the battle, characterised by a man to man fight, wore an armour, a helmet called "morione" and used the "targone" a large oblong and asymmetrical shield, with rounding extremities, made out of lime or poplar wood, over a meter long and weighing around two and half kilos which was also improperly used to attack.

The violence of the fight has always been one of the unchanged characteristic of this game. The desire for autonomy from Florentine domination and the growing competitive nature of the game caused Pietro Leopoldo to find the Gioco del Ponte obnoxious, so that after the 1785 game it was abolished and was interrupted until 1807, the only time when the game was played in the XIX century.

The Gioco del Ponte was interrupted again for 128 years. It was organised again in 1935 according to the ancient historical traditions and after the Second World War, in order to avoid physical contact, a cart on rails to be pushed by participants was introduced.

Gioco del Ponte - Pisa - Pisa events - Giugno PisanoThe event is traditionally held on the last Sunday of June and also includes the historical parade with 709 participants. The Mezzogiorno and Tramontana Sides march separately, creating thus two parades of 314 participants each, but at the same time anticlockwise along the four streets running along the Arno river close to the Ponte di Mezzo. There is also a third parade composed by the Judges, that is 81 more participants.

More than remarkable is the scenographic effect of the participants Spanish costumes of the late XVI century, created for the edition of 1935 on the sketches of the art critic Fortunato Belloni, who got his inspiration from some prints of the Medicean age. The intensity of the effort that the twenty heavily-built men of each team put into the challenge is impressive. As in ancient times, victory goes to the team that conquers the Bridge by pushing the cart and all the opponents to the opposite end of the sliding rail.

The different teams of both Tramontana (representing the districts of St. Maria, St. Francesco, St. Michele, Mattaccini, Calci and Satiri) and Mezzogiorno (representing the districts of St. Antonio, St. Martino, St. Marco, Leoni, Dragoni e Delfini) fight in turn. The winner of the game is the side that wins most of the matches. Until 1996 if the challenge ended in a draw (three victories for each side), a final match was held to decide the winner between the selected best fighters for both parties. Since 1997 only six matches were held so that the final result could end in a draw.


Pisa: discover the surroundings

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Accommodations in the area


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 17 km from Pisa

    Villa Vista Mare

    Stone farmhouse in typical Tuscan style skilfully and elegantly renovated in a dominant position on the hills of Massarosa with spectacular views that reach the sea of Tuscany. The farmhouse has a swimming pool with whirlpool.
    Perfect solution for those that search the real authentic Tuscany staying in the hills but not far from the Versilia sea.

    Availability request


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 20 km from Pisa

    Villa Golf Versilia

    Beautiful ancient Tuscan farmhouse completely renovated located on Tuscan hills 10 km from the golf course of Versilia. The villa can accommodate up to 14 people.
    An oasis of peace for those looking for a stay in the Tuscan hills while staying close to the sea. Perfect for a relaxing holiday in close contact with nature.

    Availability request


    • Massarosa (Lucca)
    • 23 km from Pisa

    Villa Mimosa

    Beautiful and spacious villa in the countryside located in the hills of Versilia, 3 km from the golden beaches of the Tuscan coast with private pool and park.
    Perfect solution to stay in the green hills of Tuscany, 3 km from the golden beaches of Versilia

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Residenza d'Epoca I Pini

    Historical house HOTEL I PINI : In Lido di Camaiore in Tuscany 100 meters from the sea only, a place of serenity and charm in Versilia!
    The Residenza d'Epoca HOTEL I PINI is an ancient villa in 1900 in Liberty style, completely renovated which still has all the charm of the residence of the painter / Ceramist Galileo Chini.

    Booking ONLINE


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Villa Cherry

    Villa Cherry is a luxurious and charming villa with swimming pool for rent surrounded by the green hills of Camaiore not far from the sea of the Tuscan coast.
    The villa is ideal for those looking for an oasis of absolute peace and relaxation guaranteed by the elevated position and the external fence in style.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 24 km from Pisa

    Villa Unique

    Beautiful fully restored farmhouse located on the hills of Camaiore. The villa is surrounded by a park of 2500 square meters in which is inserted the beautiful pool.
    Thanks to the dominant position on the valley from the farmhouse you can enjoy a beautiful 360 ° panoramic view.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Toscana

    This villa is really some thing special, perched on the top of a hill the views are endlessly breath taking.
    This villa is really some thing special, perched on the top of a hill the views are endlessly breath taking.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Sorriso

    Wonderful villa with swimming pool surrounded by greenery, tranquility and privacy of the Pieve di Camaiore about 10 km from the sea of the Tuscan coast.
    The villa has all the comforts necessary to ensure an unforgettable stay in Tuscany and is the ideal solution for small groups up to 7 people who want to stay in the countryside but not far from the sea of Versilia.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa Dolce Vita

    Villa Dolce Vita is located 3 km from the center of Camaiore in a quiet and sunny position 10 km from Tuscan sea.
    Ideal for those looking for a villa accommodation on the hills of Versilia a few miles from Tuscan sea.

    Availability request


    • Camaiore (Lucca)
    • 25 km from Pisa

    Villa dei Fiori

    Detached villa with pool and annex in Lido di Camaiore in the heart of Versilia. The beaches of Lido di Camaiore are just 1.5 km away.
    Ideal solution to stay in a villa in Lido di Camaiore.

    Availability request



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