It is a very popular one over the Peninsula and is played by four people. As any couple-played game, the allegiance and the mutual understanding are the most important assets to play, the results are somehow less important than the game itself. At the end of the day, we are just talking about a way to waste time and have fun, no work, no stress, just relax.
According to a legend, a priest in the 16th century wrote a very detailed list of rules called Le regole dello scopone scientifico di Chitarrella (The rules of scopone scientifico by Chitarrella).
There are two main ideas behind the game: the first is that the players have to rotate after a set of matches, and the second is that during the game the players of a couple have to pair (parigliare) the cards of the same seed between them and, vice versa, they have to try to dispair (sparigliare) the cards of the adversaries.
These two ideas are crucial to understand the Italian political system; the first main Chitarrella rule is about the fact that any “legislatura”, the five year term of the Parliament, is a timeframe in which the majority of the political parties are granting themselves the right to play several matches with different actors regardless to the mandate received by the people.
This idea comes from the fact that historically the government is a power to be mitigated in order to deny any tyrant as Mussolini the possibility to re-put in place a new dictatorship. The result of this is that over the last decades a high level of anarchy has been reached.
While discussing and approving the laws the second main Chitarrella rule applies, the political parties are just focused to “parigliare” and “sparigliare” the alliances, they do not consider the laws in their content and in their utility for the future.
Italy is a Country in which this sort of policy has left the administration of the State unattended, the debt has grown without limits and any category of people, from workers to students is just asking for more money. Italy is wasting time in a very pleasant way, but the inheritors of this disaster will pay the consequences.
From time to time it appears that the European politics is going along a similar path, maybe the Italians are spreading their syndrome in the old continent.
p.s. Mr Fini, Mr Casini, Mr Rutelli and Mr Bersani are having an argument on the issue to form the couple to play against Mr Berlusconi. “Why should I go on to play in couple with Berlusconi?”, states Fini. “Tell your former friend to give us the cards, we just want to have a match among ourselves until the end of the “legislatura”, we will consider the elections afterwards”.
Photo: Alberto Sordi in Lo scopone scientifico (Italian movie directed by Luigi Comencini, 1972); Italian elders playing cards in Civitavecchia, Rome/www.pirgo.org