The last time we saw a slightly more “robust” version of this game was back in 2002 – Gioco del Bracciale - 500 year old game played with heavy wooden spiked gloves and a heavy leather and wood ball.
Today on the same spot on the Fosso a decade later, we got to the see the other slightly more “user friendly” version – Gioco della palla elastica with 5 teams ignoring the searing heat to play this historic game – Vallico Sopra , Vallico Sotto (Fabbriche di Vallico); Pariana (Villa Basilica); Pieve San Lorenzo and Metra (Minucciano).
This is played with the open hand or fist and with a much lighter ball but this too has a history going right back through medieval Italy and according to the President of Palla Elastica Vallico a good deal further back as images of athletes playing a version of this game can be found of Greek vases dating back many thousands of years.
As he also says in the interview at the bottom of this article, the game was at one point the national game of “Italy” before the Anglo Saxon influence changed the emphasis from playing games with your hands to games using your feet. (The site of Palla Elastica Vallico can be seen here)
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