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Marostica is famous for its chess festival, with real live knights and ladies as the pieces. Don't think it is only the festival though. The town has two great castles, wonderful old squares and cobbled lanes to explore.
The best attraction is the castle on the hill. Enjoy a walk of around 60 minutes up to the top, and you'll never forget the views—truly breath-taking.
It can get a bit strenuous at times, but there are plenty of benches offering great views and a drinking fountain too, so take it easy and enjoy.
To get there, take the meandering path called the Carmini Passeggiata, leaving from the main Piazza degli Scacchi, the one with the big chess board.
The castle is not in great condition, but the views alone are worth the walk, and nearby is the Museum of Ornithology (birds), which people have said is good, but I haven't been so I can't really comment.
The lower castle is right in the main square, and if you have always wanted to visit a straw hat museum, then you're in luck—the castle has one! It also has fascinating rooms showing the period costumes and weapons used in the chess festival.
Most beautiful of the towns churches is S. Antonio Abate which contains a very famous and extremely beautiful 16th century altar piece by Jacopo del Ponte.
The Monastery of S. Antonio Abate (see photo above) next to the church is particularly lovely; very simple with a small but unpretentious garden of olive trees...I love it!
From the Church of S, Antonio Abate you can take the impressive 17th century Scalinata Carmini (Carmini Stairway) which leads up to the Church of the Carmini. The video below shows the walk up.
In the 15th century, two of the town's most handsome knights fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the local lord. These things always ended tragically, and this was all set to end the same way. The two knights prepared to fight a duel to the death.
Thankfully, it was not to be.
The Lord, being a kind and compassionate man, came up with a unique way to settle the issue. A game of chess with real people as the pieces The winner got to marry the lucky lady.
Since then, the town has honored the event every second year (even numbered ones) with a game of chess where all the pieces are people wearing medieval costumes. All around the game are jousters, fireeaters, and hundreds of townfolk dressed up in period costumes. Words don't really do it justice, so rather watch the video!
There are not very many hotels to chose from but thankfully one of them is lovely - it is the Hotel Due Mori. The location of this hotel too couldn't be better - it is right inside the medieval walls, in a listed building, and two minutes walk from the chess board piazza.
The Medieval restaurant (Ristorante Castello Superiore) which is next to the castle on the hill (see photo above) is very good. In the town itself, just off the main chess square, you'll find a real gem - the Osteria Madonetta. The restaurant offers great local dishes and a great atmosphere.
There are lots of fascinating little shops tucked away down the lanes and back streets of the town, but for shopping heaven, you'll want to get here on a Tuesday for the market.
The stalls are amazing, and they seem to stretch on forever: up and down hills, around the piazza, and along the castle walls. I can spend hours and hours here, but still, it isn't enough time. It's only enough time to drive my husband to despair.
I almost forgot that there's also an antique market on the first Sunday of the month.