When the Tressette raged in Gela

Gaming has always been the subject of in-depth studies, in particular with regards to entertainment with ancient origins, as in the case of card games.

It is the indicator of popular culture, the litmus test of traditions, even of the prevailing mentality, habits and customs. It’s not just a pastime, it’s much more. The card game, in particular, highlights liveliness, common sense and the simplest feelings better than any other game.

Each people, but also some communities, is also distinguished by the type of cards. There are tarot cards, Sicilian and Neapolitan cards, Venetian and Dalmatian cards, etc.

Sicilian cards are inspired, for example, by the Paladins of France. An oddity, because this preference is not at all an indication of good consideration towards the French, who in Sicilian history are still “those of the Vespro2”, against whom the Sicilians of Palermo, and not only, rose up, starting a bloody revolt.

With the Sicilian regional cards it is possible to play trumps, scopa, scientific scopone, tressette and all the others. Tressette, the capital T, belongs to it, because it is the game that more than any other gives the players’ diligence, memory and “speculation” significant advantages in the search for victory. Alongside the scientific scopone, the scopa and the trump, it has a spoken language and its own dialect phrases, which over time have also moved into common language. The most famous is sanctity and sanctity.

It literally means that solitude is a sanctifying choice, that is, a good one. Provided, however, that the solitary player does the calculations well with his cards before proclaiming it (he cannot back out), gaining the advantage of exchanging some cards with those not dealt out. An essential evaluation that allows you to compete with other players, generally two or three, with a good chance of success.

The right choice and intelligent play do not guarantee victory, however. The unexpected remains an element that contributes, albeit to a limited extent, to determining the fate of the match, and it is thanks to the unexpected (the favor of the cards), not only to the quality of the player, that the Tressette maintains its charm.

In Gela in the post-war years up until the 1980s, Tressette was the favorite game, especially in clubs and meeting places (in “civilian” circles, indeed, rummy was favored, with all its types, which plays with French cards). Naturally, in cities like Gela, games were also played outdoors, as elsewhere, often with hard cash stakes. Illegal betting? Gamble?

None of this, Tressette is a socializing experience, the game prevails, the opportunities it offers players to compete with their opponent, the fun, the pleasure of spending free time without putting the mind to rest. For these reasons, the Tressette also fascinated young people, not only adults and elderly people, rich in years and experience.

Quarrelsomeness, due to the mistakes of classmates or otherwise, was allowed, but contained in a context of good relations. A few harsh words also flew, but the tension soon dissolved without leaving a trace.


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