Panforte Game
Rules and History

Another palce connected with il Patriarca, full of tourists from all around the world and Patrimonio dell’Unesco is Pienza. It was built by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, then Pope Pius II, at the end of the 5th century. Jewel of the whole of our peninsula and flagship of Tuscany, Pienza was chosen for the filming of Il Gladiatore, the famous colossal by Ridley Scott.


While in Milan we find Panettone and in Verona Pandoro, in the Province of Siena and in Pienza the Christmas tradition sees Panforte as protagonist.


Panforte, originally called Pan Pepatus or Christmas Bread, traces its origins back over the centuries. We have evidence of its existence even in the year 1000. Due to the high price of its ingredients, especially pepper, it was certainly destined for the more affluent noble class. The Panforte recipe was guarded by Arte dei Medici e Spezial of Siena who also used it as an aphrodisiac, curative or even a bargaining chip. The Panforte is linked to a popular legend that has been handed down for generations: during the battle of Montaperti between Siena and Florence the Sienese had the better because they had eaten some Pan Pepato, unlike the Florentines who refreshed themselves with meager provisions. Panforte as we know it today, however, was created in 1887 on the occasion of the Sienese visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy: lighter candied fruit and icing sugar were used. Since 2013, Panforte has received the certification of Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP).


Panforte Game, typical Valdorciano is as old as the recipe for the dessert. This game was originally played in taverns or private homes. In the 90s of the last century a new tradition was born throughout the Val d’Orcia. During the period between Christmas and New Year the inhabitants of the area, divided into teams, challenge each other to the game of Panforte in Piazza Pio II, in Pienza.

To play you need: a piece of panforte, a long enough table and a tape measure. Each player, in turn, throws the piece of panforte from one end of the table trying to get as close as possible to the opposite end. At this point, the referee measures the distance between the piece of panforte and the edge of the table. Whoever comes closest to the edge of the table takes the point. If the panforte falls, the pass is void. The team that reaches six points wins first.

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