During October 2016 I was in Verona, Italy. I visited the Torre dei Lamberti. Within the square there was a game, perhaps a tournament as there was two matches going on at once.

What is this game?

It was hard to tell exactly what was going on, but I remember these details.

  • It appeared to be 4 a side.
  • Within a single round there was 4 'fielders' versus 1 'batter', with rotations between rounds.
  • The batter has a wooden bat, and starts with a wooden peg. They are stood next to a large round stone. The batter tosses wooden peg into the air and attempts to hit it as far as they can with the bat.
  • The fielders take up 'fielding' positions to either catch or block the peg. The fielders also appear to try and distract the batter.
  • In some instances the batter then gets to hit the peg again. In which case they have to first make the peg jump off the ground but hitting one end of it, and then attempt to hit it whilst it's in the air.
  • In some instances one of the fielders will attempt to throw the peg back at the large stone. The batter will attempt the defend the stone with their bat.
  • The game playing area was surrounded by talls nets.
  • Two games took up the whole square with each game having roughly half of the square. The pitch was rectangluar.
  • The players were dressed in normal clothing, but all had a matching scarf.
  • The peg was a cylinder with tappered ends so it never sat flat on the ground.

Torre die Lamberti


As described by the Associazione Giochi Antichi, the association of ancient games which, in Verona, is called s-cianco:


S-Cianco , the shorter of the two tools with which you play, it is [also] known in Italian as the lippa.

The game has very ancient origins, as evidenced by the discovery of the late Verona researcher Marco Fittà, who in 2003 identified at the Petrie Museum in London some finds dating back to the XI / XII Dynasty [2134 - 1806 BC] categorized as lippe.

This [means] that the game's practice was already widespread at least 4000 years ago.

The game is widely practiced in many areas of Europe, North Africa and Asia, such as Spain, France, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, India, Sri Lanka.

In Italy the game is practiced in many regions, [and referred to by different names]: Rella in Milan, Nice, Rome; and Mazza Pivezo in Naples; Ciaramela in Pavia, etc ...

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  • The batsman states the score of bats at the defenders on the opposing team
  • The defense relaunches the s-cianco to hit the 'sea' to eliminate the batter
  • Using the bat to hit the s-cianco on the tip (2), do a wheelie and hit it on the fly (3)
  • The striker has three chances to launch the s-cianco as far as possible away from the the sea [the rock]
  • After the third shot, the score is declared, or the estimated distance reached by the bat.
  • 3
    Any chance the rules of the game, as explained in the diagram above, could be translated from Italian to English?
    – njuffa
    Nov 15 '16 at 23:22
  • 4
    This answer doesn't quite make sense to me. Where exactly does it answer the question? What is the name of the game? The first sentence, S-Cianco , the shorter of the two tools with which you play, it is known in Italian as the lippa. is not grammatical. Is "S-Cianco" the name? Is "lippa" the name? Both?
    – user428517
    Nov 16 '16 at 0:08
  • 1
    @sgroves s-cianco or lippa are two regional names of the stick, from which the game takes its name.
    – clabacchio
    Nov 16 '16 at 7:47
  • 4
    Just for better clarity, the word is written s-cianco in order to emphasize the letters s and c are to be pronounced separately (in Italian sci would be read as the English sh), so an approximate English rendering would be schancoh, with ch pronounced as in chat. The name is different in various parts of Veneto: my aunt called it lippa. She used to play it with her male mates (not really usual at the times).
    – egreg
    Nov 16 '16 at 13:10

I'd say it is a variant of an ancient italian child game called Lippa, common in most of Italy (and a popular sport in India...don't ask me why...)

I have some doubts because

The batter tosses wooden peg into the air

is different from the way I used to play it as a children, but everything else is more or less the same.

While it is no more played by kids (italian mothers tend to be overprotective), adults are slowly starting to play it again in small tournaments.

  • 6
    In India its known as Gilli Danda, or Gulli Danda. Gulli/Gilli is peg, Danda Stick. And yes, the hits in eyes is the main reason mothers stop their kids from playing this.
    – DavChana
    Nov 15 '16 at 19:00
  • @DavChana in some regions of Italy there is an even better version: the peg is not tossed in the air, but must be sent into the air by hitting it while still on the ground. Now, how can you hit a small cilinder of wood on the ground and send it flying high enough to be able to hit it again and send it far away? Simply, you make the peg pointy! So you don't have anymore a small cylinder, but a smaller cylinder with two cones at the extremities :-)
    – motoDrizzt
    Nov 15 '16 at 19:13
  • 1
    Yes, we have same, a 5-6 inch of piece with conical ends, batter draws a circle around him with stick, need to bring peg in air by hitting one end, then hit it again to send it far away.. if opposition catches it mid air, batter dies, if not, then they have to throw that peg in circle. If donr, batter dies, if not, he gets another chance :)
    – DavChana
    Nov 15 '16 at 20:16
  • Wikipedia says its almost same game, but being played only in 8 countries mainly, India and Italy one of them. About 2500 years old game.
    – DavChana
    Nov 15 '16 at 20:21

I'm from Verona, and I can assure you it's called "s'cianco" My grandparents used to play it as kids.

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