The legendary history of the chess game of Marostica, in the region of Veneto goes back to the year 1454 when the town of Marostica was still part of the Republic of Venice(Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco).

The two noble knights Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri di Vallonara both fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the governor of Marostica, Taddeo Parisio and wanted to duel for beauty in a bloody battle.

However, the governor did not want either of the two brave young men to be killed in the fight, so he forbade the duel. But who should now receive the hand of the beautiful Lionora? The governor ordered that the two opponents play for Lionora’s hand in a chess game with live pieces on the large parade ground. The loser became the husband of Lionora, while the loser received the cousin Oldrada as his wife. Thus, both received a wife and even became relatives.

Chess game with living pieces, Marostica, Veneto, Italy
The chess game with living pieces of Marostica, Italy. (photo © Associazione Pro Marostica / Sergio Sartori)

The unique chess game with live figures, Marostica takes place every 2 years.


The unique “Partita a schacchi di Marostica a personaggi viventi” is always re-enacted on the second weekend of September in the years with an even number of the year by the inhabitants of the town of Marostica.

Unable to recreate the moves made by the original competitors Vieri da Vallonara and Rinaldo da Angarano during the legendary chess match in 1454, the organizers have decided since 1954 to take inspiration from the greatest and most legendary chess matches in history. Every two years, a famous chess game of the past is replayed with live pieces on the giant chess board in Piazza Castello of Marostica.

In cooperation with the local chess club, the organizing committee will choose a chess game with very specific requirements: The chess game must be completed with a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 20 moves and should be spectacular, as well as last about 30 minutes.

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Chess game with living pieces, Marostica, Veneto, Italy
The living chess pieces at the event in Marostica, Italy. (photo © Associazione Pro Marostica / Sergio Sartori)

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