The delightful medieval-walled village of Marostica, 30km (19 miles) north of Vicenza (7km/4 1/4 miles west of Bassano), comes alive every other summer (in even years only): The entire town dresses up to commemorate a true centuries-old chess game between two knights vying for the hand of Lionora, daughter of a 15th-century local lord. The chivalric Partita a Scacchi is reenacted on the main piazza with real people as the pieces, dressed in elaborate Renaissance costume, preceded by a flag-throwing procession. The whole town takes part, and the torch-lit nighttime setting is gorgeous.
Performances are repeated over the course of the second weekend of September. A few of the worst seats are usually available each day of performance, but it's best to purchase tickets months in advance. Tourist information is at Piazza Castello 1 (tel. 0424-72-127; fax 0424-72-800; www.marosticascacchi.it). Marostica's engaging Sagra del Ciliege (Cherry Festival) takes place in June. You can get here on one of two dozen daily buses from Vicenza in 40 minutes. Dozens of local buses do the short run daily from Bassano to Marostica. By car, head west on S248.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.