Gioco del Ponte 2018
A total of 240 fighters will face each other on the cart trolley on the Ponte di Mezzo
30 June 2018
On 30th June, the Game of the Bridge 2018 will mark the end of Giugno Pisano, an event-filled month that includes also the Luminara of San Ranieri and the Regatta of San Ranieri held respectively on 16 and 17 June. In short, the summer in Pisa in 2018 will have a long list of events that you should definitively not miss! They will offer the opportunity to see a different city, to try and move away from Piazza dei Miracoli and to breathe on Lungarni the atmosphere of bygone times. Like the other traditional festivals in Pisa, the Game of the Bridge in Tuscany has ancient origins dating back to the communal period. It seems that the first battle was disputed in 1568, therefore in 2018 the game makes 450 years! Over the course of time, it has undergone several changes in the way it is conducted: in fact, the once violent clashes fought with cups and shields have given way to a decisively less fierce version.
The Gioco del Ponte 2018, as has been the case since 1935, will showcase a cart being pushed on rails installed on Ponte di Mezzo. A total of 240 fighters will challenge each other, each one fully committed to pushing the trolley to the opposing side to win the game. The fighters are strapped to the pole that supports them, you just need look at the grimace of the fighters to understand the magnitude of the effort they are undertaking. Impossible not to cheer them up! Even if you are not from Pisa you should decide what team you want to side with: Tramontana or Mezzogiorno? In actual fact there are several districts but they are grouped into two areas that replicate the city's division marked by the River Arno. The Game of the Bridge winner in 2016 was the Mezzogiorno team. It is up to you to decide which faction to support.
Let's look a bit more in detail at how the Game Ponte di Mezzo takes place, which, like any worthy historical re-enactment, features a crescendo of events before reaching the climax of the evening. The times of the various events of Game of the Bridge Pisa 2018 kick off in the late afternoon. On the Lungarni stands are set up from which you can enjoy a great view of the historical procession. It is a true military parade consisting of 700 re-enactors in Spanish dresses divided into three distinct groups: the two Magistrature, which are the troops representing the districts of Mezzogiorno and Tramontana, and the Giudici (Italian referees). If you want to watch the power struggle in comfort, Gioco del Ponte tickets for 2018 can be purchased in advance or directly on the day of the Game of the Bridge 2018 in the atrium of Palazzo Gambacorti where, among other things, once you have purchased the ticket you can visit an interesting exhibition dedicated to this great event set up in the building. For these and additional information, we recommend you visit the event's website at www.giocodelpontedipisa.it
GIOCO DEL PONTE PROGRAM 2018
- 18.30: Children's Parade
The Battle of the Bridge 2018 begins with the parade of children who attended the School of Historical Events during the year. During the historic procession just before the Battle on Ponte di Mezzo, this will be the group that will definitively stick in your mind: a multitude of young flag wavers, loud small drums and budding trumpet players.
- 18.45: Appointment of referees
After the ritual dressing which takes place in Via Bovio, the referees arrive in Piazza XX Settembre along Via San Martino. From here, they parade on the Lungarni: Lungarno Galilei, Ponte della Fortezza, Lungarno Mediceo, Pacinotti, Ponte di Solferino and, finally, Lungarno Gambacorti.
- 19.15: Historical parade
A shotgun marks the start of the processions of Tramontana and Mezzogiorno, the two factions that, as they have been for centuries, will be challenging each other in the Battle of the Bridge in Pisa in 2018. Just to give you an idea of what we are talking about, you should know that you will enjoy a show comprising no less than 723 re-enactors and 41 horses. Impressive, don’t you think? The Magistrature of Mezzogiorno get kitted up at the Zerboglio, after which from Piazza XX Settembre they follow the procession of the Referees. The Magistrates of Tramontana, however, put their gear on at the Church of San Francesco School and arrive in Piazza Garibaldi and then follow the lungarni: Lungarno Pacinotti, Ponte di Solferino, Lungarno Gambacorti, Galilei, Ponte della Fortezza and Lungarno Mediceo.
- 20.45: start of the power struggle
After the procession of the two teams with the accompaniment of flag wavers and the drummers, you will witness the 'Call to Battle': the losing team from the previous year - in last year’s edition it was Tramontana – throws down the gauntlet to Mezzogiorno that through its ambassador will accept the challenge. Rejection is obviously not contemplated! At this point everything will come to a standstill during the Pisa historical event and with bated breath spectators will follow the fighters as they stretch their muscles in an attempt to move the cart in the right direction or, on the contrary, to counter attack the surge of the opposing team. There will be 6 fights and a possible play-off and in the end the winners of the Gioco del Ponte 2018 will be announced.
Just be honest, the Game of the Bridge program has convinced you, right? Pisa is always beautiful but visiting it on such an occasion will make your trip a unique and unforgettable experience. There is no time to waste therefore, take a look at the hotels in Pisa and plan your vacation in one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany. You will not be short of places to visit: you can take a leisurely stroll, relax in San Giuliano Terme, follow interesting food and wine routes on the Monti Pisani, discover the enchanting villages dotted around on the Pisan Hills and San Miniato. And why not take advantage of one of our fantastic tours from Livorno? You can discover other wonderful Tuscan cities like Florence and Siena.
Nice idea, right? Well, we at toscanainside.com are here for this! Now it's your turn! Do not miss this year’s Gioco del Ponte events and the chance to see Pisa under a different and certainly more fascinating light.
Period: 30 June 2018
Event location: Pisa
Contacts: more info on the official website www.giocodelpontedipisa.it
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Half-day trip to Pisa from Florence
Duration: approx. 5 hours and 30 minutes
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