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During the Renaissance period, people spent much of their time doing physically demanding activities - whether it was for military service or for farming and other household chores. It was only natural for people to relax with games that were less physically demanding. Card games and board games like chess were very popular during those times. Other types of games were more active, such as football.
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Card and Board Games
For most of the Renaissance, card games were played frequently. Games like Frussi, which is now known as Primiera, were highly popular during that period. Frussi involves dealing four cards to every player, with the one who gets four of a kind emerging as the winner. The game was played by virtually every person from all walks of life, from the royalty to peasants.
Another popular game was Basetta, in which the dealer lays down three cards. Players then have to draw a card from the pack with the aim of matching any of the exposed cards.
Chess was likewise a favorite game during the Renaissance. It is said that the game was played in Florence as early as the 14th century.
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Games of Strength & Skill
One popular ball game played during that era was Pallone, where a ball had to be struck by a person using his fist. The object of the game was for the players not to let the said ball rest on their side of the field. A modern game that is similar is volleyball.
Another ball game played during that time was Maglio where a ball had to be knocked to a certain spot. The player who knocked the ball to a spot nearest to the “goal” was declared the winner. The game was said to have been popularized in Florence in the 15th century.
Football was another favorite game during the Renaissance time period. It was played in Florence during the republican rule. The game was particularly popular during the 16th century as young men of 25 per team battled to bring their football to the other side of the goal. Interestingly, the game was called Calcio during those times, a name that is still used to refer to the modern-day game.
The Pome which is a game of skill and strength, was also played during that time. The game had players throwing a spear at an apple that was hung from a tree or beam. They were allowed to run to get more momentum in taking aim at the target.
These are just a few of the many types of sports and games played during the early Renaissance. People back then were not so much different than today!
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Image Credit to: Wikimedia.com / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License / by: Christian Gidlöf