Games made with plants are an expression of the places, their environments and the most common biodiversity that characterizes them. Games do not follow provincial differences but rather, indifferent to administrative boundaries, they cross distant places that share landscapes and plants.
Ecomuseo della Valvarrone
The Valvarrone rises wild on the eastern shore of the Lario, along the steep path traced by the homonymous stream. It is a border area between Valsassina and Valtellina, between the Legnone mountain and Dervio, where the Varrone stream flows. Many of the villages in the Valvarrone are depopulated during the winter while they are animated by the return of old and new inhabitants during the summer period. The squitàcc, the "schioppetto", a game of Valvarrone, has a close connection with the social history of the place. In Avano, on December 8th, the Madonna of the squitac was celebrated. The shooting game was at the center of the day and, after the celebration of the mass, a real battle broke out between the children of the village and those of Tremenico, the neighboring place, antagonist of tradition. The children were sent to graze for whole days: that was the time when they made wind instruments with chestnut branches like the siolèt, the trumpet or the "orgne".
Esino Lario (LC)
Eomuseo delle Grigne (LC)
Val d’Esino includes the narrow funnel valley that borders the Valsassina, and that extends from the eastern shore of Lake Como to the slopes of the Grigna. Esino is a small town that rises to a height of 900m in the center of the plateau where the valley opens up. The peaks of the Grigne group crown the town from which the paths branch off to enter woods and pastures. The forest was also the place of the game, where children became Indians thanks to some chestnut leaves (sioux headgear). To imitate the trumpet the stems of the leaves of pumpkins and courgettes were used instead.
Canneto sull’Oglio (MN)
Ecomuseo Valli Oglio Chiese (MN)
L’ecomuseo si estende nella provincia di Mantova tra i fiumi Oglio e Chiese. Canneto sull’Oglio, dove è stata svolta la documentazione, è un paese della pianura padana che per tradizione è legata al gioco. La prima fabbrica italiana di bambole ha avuto origine in questo paese intorno al 1880 e ha avuto un ruolo economico fondamentale nell’area fino alla metà degli anni ’90, quando l’azienda non ha retto la concorrenza della plastica e del mercato globale. I giochi che abbiamo raccolto a Canneto ne descrivono il paesaggio: il fiume e la sua biodiversità (in particolare le canne palustri per fare cerbottane o bolle di sapone) e le colture orticole (il tutolo del granoturco per fare volani e paracadute) che hanno caratterizzato questa frazione di pianura padana prima di lasciare il posto all’esperienza vivaistica.
Oltrepò Pavese (PV)
The agricultural landscape of the Pavia plain, between the river Po and the hills, is dominated by cultivated land and by the spontaneous grasses that invade the landscape in the spring season. The ephemeral games made in the plains were linked to the most widespread plantations such as corn (meliga doll) or to wild flowers like poppy, unexpected guests of the wheat fields (the cardinal).
Valle Scuropasso (PV)
Oltrepò Pavese (PV)
The Scuropasso valley is crossed by the homonymous stream that winds from the first Apennines to the Broni plain. Although the hilly landscape is dominated by the presence of the vine and its geometries, the banks of the stream remain free zones for the biodiversity that grows wild. The lack of human control makes these areas the most interesting from a playful-botanical point of view, ideal places for ephemeral games. The presence of elderberry allows the battles between the rows to blow of blowgun, using the grapes of grapes still immature as projectiles.
Castione Andevenno (SO)
Castione is a small town situated on the Rhaetian side of the middle Valtellina whose slopes are softened by terraces where the vines are grown. Viticulture has represented an important part of the landscape of this area of Valtellina, deeply linked to the local peasant culture. It is not by chance that the documented game (the sciguéta) starts from a vine shoot cut during pruning that becomes a tool to make a sound like similar to that of the owl.
Canneto Pavese (PV)
Ecomuseo della Vite e del Vino (PV)
Canneto Pavese extends over the hills between the Scuropasso valley and the Versa Valley. The clayey soil of these hills has combined them with the cultivation of the vine, a plant that pivots around the landscape and leaves room for the forest only where the slopes are not tameable. The vineyards are often small and sometimes arranged on terraces, the only possible compromise with the slope. The inter-rows and the paths that connect the vineyards and the forest with each other, with their rich biodiversity, are still today for the youngest a place to spend time and try out ephemeral games with biodiversity.
Cimmo is part of Tavernole sul Mella, at the foot of Mount Guglielmo and which stands out, in a valley mostly dedicated to the extraction of iron, for its agricultural vocation. The cows represented an important part of the local landscape (as witnessed by the game of the Cows), often associated with the farmhouses, in an intermediate position between the dwellings and the pastures in the altitude pastures. Among houses, farmhouses and malghe a dense network of paths traces the mapping of an agricultural geography founded on the cow.
Bovegno is a town in the upper Trompia valley whose history and landscape are intertwined with the main economic activities: the extraction of fluorite and iron and, up until the 1960s, the glorious tourism of which today remains as a testimony hotel structures now transformed into private residences. It is no coincidence that a game that we documented in Bovegno was aimed at vacationers who spent the summer in the mountain village and to whom the children tried to sell baskets made with the stems of herbs and filled with flowers.