Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

The last player to pass away, a few years ago, was 87 years old; Giannetto Mariotti. He played a sport called “tamburello” and was the winner of the Italian championship played in Florence in 1953.

The game was popular in San Casciano around WWll. It was played with 8 players, 4 on each side (similar to tennis, but without a net).

The team was made up of the “battitore” hitter, the median, and 2 back men.  They rotated  roles when sides were changed. The  “battitore” hit the ball with a pear shaped tambourine. The ball could only bounce once, or a point was lost, and the ball couldn’t go over the line that outlined the width of the field.

This game was very well-loved in town and the passion for the game was passed down by Giannetto’s father Mario, rope-maker by profession, who worked not far from the playing field. He couldn’t resist the sound of the ball hitting the tambourine and would leave work early to go and play.

In Giannetto’s household were kept some of the old tools of the game; the oval tamburello to serve and a rounder tambourine to play, as well as a beautiful photo taken in piazza della Repubblica under the wall of the Piazzone (large piazza) in 1932.

It is a rare photo, of the young Giannetto together with his father and many other San Cascianese who loved the sport. Older residents might recognize somebody, while the newer generations will appreciate this glimpse of the sporting life, passed on by Giannetto, a kind-hearted and pleasant man.