Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Play in Italy has a long and rich historical tradition. Some games were introduced as early as 2,000 years ago by the Romans, who had in turn often learned them from Greeks or Etruscans. The late political unification of the country (1861) has, then, contributed to the large number and variety of traditional Italian games, whose regional and at times municipal roots can still be recognized. Another factor that has contributed to such a variety has been the significant foreign influences and dominations that have shaped almost 2,000 years of the peninsula's history. A historical account of such a complex variety must be integrated into a sound theoretical framework. With this objective, it seems pertinent to refer to the framework proposed by the French philosopher and sociologist Roger Caillois (1961). His classification of games into four categories, according to the dominant roles respectively played by competition, chance, simulation, and vertigo, ...