Checkersque Marostica!

Marostica is a little town in the Veneto region of northern Italy, in the province of Vicenza. It is a picturesque place, located with the Veneto plain on one side and green hills to the north. Marostica’s own hill is crowned with a large ruined castle; defensive walls descend to enclose the hillside and the town centre below in a protective embrace.

Marostica bills itself as the ‘City of Chess’: every two years a medieval-themed festival is held here, when a giant chess game is enacted with human chess-pieces. This takes place in the town square, Piazza del Castello, where the paving marks out a huge chessboard.

Marostica’s principal tourist sights are the two castles, one at the top of the hill above town, the other in the main square, Piazza Castello. In the square itself you can see the chessboard laid out in paving stones, and admire the view up to the upper castle or Castello Superiore. The lower castle, the Castello Inferiore, guards the main entrance through the town walls. For four hundred years Marostica was ruled by Venice, and its dominion is recorded by a statue of the lion of St. Mark, Venice’s symbol, in the piazza. There are a few interesting buildings and churches in Marostica which you can see as you wander the historic town centre.

The best thing to do is to climb to the upper castle. There is a road if you can’t face the uphill walk, with lovely green hillside. The main footpath up zigzags up the left-hand side of the lightly-wooded slope. It is fairly steep and you will want practical shoes, but it doesn’t take long to reach the summit where there is a welcome tap of drinking water. There are benches en route, so you can rest and survey the town spread out below. Smaller paths lead off to the right. It’s worth exploring these to enjoy the semi-wild garden on the slopes.

The castle is mostly ruined, but part of it houses an attractive restaurant which has a picturesque outdoors terrace and a garden within the castle walls. It is possible to climb up the walls, using steps where lizards bask, to a rather precarious short walkway along the battlements. The view over town is great, but I wouldn’t recommend climbing to the battlements if you’re nervous of heights.

You might like to hire a car to take you to this region while you are out on a holiday in Italy. Renting a car is a good option as it gives you the freedom to explore the place to the core. You can take a car on hire to tour around the place and to reach the tourist attracting destinations there. Car Rental Italy provides car rentals with attractive customizable economy packages. So take pleasure to explore the place, with your hired set of wheels and cherish your hassle free and memorable holiday for a lifetime.

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