Tocatı` – Festival of street games: Archetypes of game in the streets told by Shakespeare

30 November 2012

From an article written by Laila Caroli published in the International Journal of Play

For three days, a whole town opens its doors to the world, closes them to traffic, and gets out onto the streets to play. This is the Tocatı` Festival (TOCA-a-tı`: from the Veronese dialect ‘it’s your turn’). The Festival is held every year in the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona in Italy.

The only event of its kind in Europe, the tenth celebration of Tocatı`, the International Festival of Street Games, was organised by Associazione Giochi Antichi in collaboration with the Municipality of Verona. This year, it came to an end on September 23, 2012. About 300,000 people took part in more than 40 traditional games that filled the city streets and squares (about 220,000 square meters) of the Italian town. For the occasion, the squares and streets were free from parked cars and traffic and alternative means of transport were tested, like the fluvial transport.

Whilst the Department of Ecology organised a bike-sharing service, some electric cars and electric bicycles were available for journalists and the staff. An atmosphere of harmony transformed the city into an open-air laboratory with a very high quality of life from the point of view of sustainability. The energy used during the festival came entirely from certified and guaranteed renewable sources. At the Festival’s cafeterias, filter-purified water from the city aqueduct was served instead of bottled water, and meals were made with local products (from farm to fork).

In this tenth celebration, along with many Italian games, the event also hosted games from other European countries that had helped the Festival to be successful in the past, being present as guest countries. These countries included Spain (2006), Croatia (2007), Scotland (2008), Greece (2009), Switzerland (2010), and Mexico (2011). Also highly appreciated were the Italian traditional games debuting this year at the festival, such as Corsa con la Cannata (Lazio), Slitte della legna (Trentino), and Tir de Cidulis (Friuli).

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