Dazzling groups that have seen it all can be a challenge. For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, groups need only look to Marostica, a captivating medieval town in the province of Vicenza in Northern Italy's Veneto region. Based on the artifacts that have been unearthed, people have been living in this town from at least 1 BC.
Major attractions include 2 medieval castles, Castello di Marostica and Castello Inferiore. In May and June, there is a cherry festival. During the summer, there is an antique and crafts festival.
Every other year, during the second weekend of September, La Partita a Scacchi di Marostica con Personaggi Viventi, a truly unique medieval themed event, takes place with processions, flag waving, flag throwing, medieval dancing, and fireworks. The next one is scheduled for September 12 - 14, 2014.
On even years since 1923, in Piazza del Castello (the town square laid out like a chessboard), people in period costumes dressed like chess pieces (including knights on horses) re-enact events that took place in 1454.
"....Rinaldo d’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara both fell in love with Lionara, daughter of Taddeo Parisio governor of the town. Parisio was a great Humanist and forbade the two ardent lovers to joust for his daughter’s hand, and suggested instead that the contest should be resolved by a game of chess." La Partita a Scacchi di Marostica
This living chess game has been acted outside Italy 11 times including in 1984 (New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia), 1986 (Vancouver), 1987 (Stuttgart), 1991 (Sao Paolo), and 2003 (Melbourne, Australia). I'm sorry I missed it in Toronto in 1997.
Photo Credits: Frank Kovalchek