Giocatore di Palla al Bracciale  



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Historical Notes: The game “Pallone col bracciale” has very ancient roots, but it reached its apogee during the Renaissance. In this period it became the favourite sport of nobles and one of the main subjects for poets and men of letters. The game was played both in the northern and central Italy in the XVIII and in the XIX centuries in special arenas called “Sferisteri”. They were flat fields, 16-18 metres wide and 90-100 metres long, with a vertical high wall on one side and a place for the audience.


Technical information: The game is similar to tennis with a few evident differences. The aim of the game is to hit the ball with this sort of racket called "bracciale”. Bracciale comes from a single block of sorb wood. In the inner part there is a hole with a handle where player's wrist fits perfectly while outside bracciale is made of wooden spikes built into cylindrical holes. The average weight the bracciale is 2 kilos. The ball is 350 grams. Its surface was once made of portions of the thickest cow leather, while the inside was made of the softes cow leather. Nowadays the ball is made of modern materials even though it keeps ist ancient features. Each teams consists of three players, “battitore” (strikers), “spalla” (mid-player) and “terzino” (full-back). There is also an outsider known as “mandarino” who plays an important role in the game, he throws the ball to the striker who must direct to the opposite side of the field. This spectacular strike starts the game. In Chiusi one game is 12 gol, the final match is 16 score. One of the main section is called “volata”, the ball is hit out of the opponents’ field.


 Disfida del Bracciale in Chiusi (Siena – Italy): Disfida del bracciale is in the feast called “Ruzzi della conca” which starts every year the last week end of august and ends the first Sunday of september. During these 10 days of celebrations Chiusi gets crowded also thanks to its gastronomic stands with typical dishes: pici, “nana” arrosto, oco in porchetta, “stinco” of pork, etc. Every night there is live music and other entertainments. The five “contrade” (Le Biffe, Fornace, Granocchiaio, Mar Nero, Sottogrottone) compete for "Conca", the original trophy that goes to the Palla al Bracciale champion. Before the final match there is a great parade in which citizens wear traditional costumes of the last years of XIX century.