CURIOSITA' - CURIOSITIES - CURIOSITÉS - KURIOSITÄTEN - CURIOSIDADES

  1. WE’LL PUT OUR FACES IN THIS

    preparation pack

    From the moment we receive your orders to the time we ship them with our carriers, we are careful to put in this all the attention they require.

    Processing and shipping them in 24 hours, a pocket size catalogue and a safe packaging.

    Because we’re aware that when you receive something expected, expectations are not to be disappointed!

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  2. A BRIEF HISTORY OF BACKGAMMON

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF BACKGAMMON

    To start with, this traditional board game, of which a new version will arrive by the end of June on our site, is known by other names around the world. In Italian we also use to call it Royal Table, but we also hear it called Tric Trac.

    Its birth dates back to 4500 years ago, thanks to the discovery of the Royal Game of Ur in the tomb of a Sumerian king in ancient Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. Other sources would like him to be even older and originally from Iran.

    It certainly managed to spread to the West as well as to the East, thanks to the various migrations of peoples and tribes; of the original Backgammon began to create different variations, different ways of playing, depending on the geographical area. Some frescoes representing a playing field very similar to today's were also discovered in ancient Egypt, inside the tomb of none other than the legendary Tutankhamen.

    Backgammon is also mentioned in the well-studied Odyssey, with the episode of suitors intent on playing with pawns in the outer atrium of Ulysses' palace. Try to take your old school textbook and have fun finding this passage.

    A game consisting of a board and three dice won its place of honor even in ancient Rome; it was known as Ludus duodecim scriptorum ("game of the twelve lines"), which subsequently took the name, probably also undergoing modifications, of Alea ("dice") or Tabula ("table"). The game was to be widespread in all social classes. Suetonius, in his Lives of twelve Caesars, thus describes the maniacal interest that the emperor Claudius had for that game: «With great passion he played dice, on which art he even put out a book; and he used to play even while traveling, having the chariot and the board adjusted so that the game would not get messed up ».

    Traces of this game are also found in Pompeii: the excavations brought to light the murals inside a tavern that depict the development of a game of tabula, which ended between mutual insults.

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  3. THE REAL SOCIAL WEIGHT OF MAHJONG

    THE REAL SOCIAL WEIGHT OF MAHJONG

    "Mahjongg has had the power to be both a bridge and a barrier between different cultures," explains Annelise Heinz, a researcher who has dedicated an entire book to this specific board game.
    Heinz has managed to trace how the popular game of Asian origin has always found a way to be community across various cultures and countries.

    Mahjongg is a relatively modern game that developed around the mid-1880s, especially in large cities in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing. It was then in the early 1920s that he developed a truly international reputation. Exporters, shopkeepers and businessmen helped spread this new fashion all over the world, even in America.
    In the new world, everything started anew from the elite and subsequently reached the entire population, especially as a tool to facilitate the transition into a new era, more globalized and deeply connected with the Asian world.

    And this transition is also visible in women's lives.

    In its origins, Mahjonng was a game played mainly by men; nothing suggested his subsequent and decisive association with women and their femininity. American ideas about Asian culture were founded on a completely different, non-canonical, non-standard way of being women. The exoticism and femininity that revolved around the Mahjonng absolutely favored such a widespread and enthusiastic participation.

    Ironically, the times were deeply racist. The Johnson Reed Act of 1924 only cemented the restrictions on the immigration of Asians to the United States. The Americans continued to practice it with pleasure because they associated it with a mysterious and ancient Chinese past, now vanished, allowing them to distance themselves from the contemporary population.

    Asians living in America had to deal with their middle position, if we might say so.
    Although they looked at the famous board game as a way to return at least in thought to their homeland, often they could not escape its commodification in

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  4. ERNO RUBIK AND HIS MAGIC CUBE

    ERNO RUBIK AND HIS MAGIC CUBE

    You got it right ... today we talk about the Rubik's cube, originally known as the magic cube.

    The puzzle was patented by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian designer and architect with a passion for enigma. The first curious fact, however, is that the inventor himself took more than a month to find the solution for its creation. Just think that when the cube was born, Erno didn't even know if there would ever be a solution!

    There are several ways, however, to approach the solution of the puzzle. The most intuitive is the layered method: 7 steps to perform and a few algorithms to memorize. The method most used by professional speedcubers, on the other hand, is the Fridrich method, which allows you to solve the cube much faster, grouping second-third, fourth-fifth, sixth-seventh steps of the layered method in single steps.

    The Rubik's Cube began to be marketed by Idela Toy Corp in 1980, winning the award for the best game and brain teaser of the year.
    And if initially it was appreciated above all in the circles of passionate no brainers, during the Eighties it became a real must-have.
    Over the years, 350 million have been sold!

    The first organized tournament was held in Monaco in 1981 by the Guinness Record Organization.
    It was an Australian player who took the victory, with a solution time of around 38 seconds ... 38 seconds ... SECONDS! Crazy times!

    The cube is now a real vintage icon that never loses its charm, it is a continuous challenge in search of new records.
    So continuous and global that a Braille version was also made.

    The passion for this mind puzzle with a thousand faces can take even more unpleasant turns. In fact, it was necessary to create an organization called Anonymous Alcoholics, to help people suffering from Rubik's cube addiction.
    Rubik can be harmful to health if not played in moderation!

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  5. MEDICI'S "BALLS"

    MEDICI'S "BALLS"

    The new secret box of our Leonardo Collection is inspired by the famous Medici family, central to the Florence of the Renaissance period.
    In fact, on our puzzle appear elegant and refined inlays that could have to do with that historical and artistic period.

    Florence, in honor of the Medici, has strewn its streets with the family crest: a shield with red balls on a golden field.
    The curiosity lies in the fact that the shields are not exactly equal to each other ... the number of balls, in bisanti heraldry, can vary.

    If at first, in fact, the spheres in the coat of arms were equal to eleven, Giovanni di Bicci brought it to nine, his son Cosimo to eight, and the latter's son, Piero il Gottoso, came to reduce it to seven. The last decrease occurred with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who brought the spheres to 6, with the top one loaded with the insignia of the Royals of France.

    As to why, then, there are balls in the center of the Medici coat of arms, suppositions and hypotheses have been made far and wide. Some more likely, others less so.
    Among the most accredited is that for which, in heraldry, the "balls" of a coat of arms usually represent the number of enemies killed in battle by those who took them as their own insignia. The Medici would therefore begin with some soldier who, in an important battle or campaign, for example during a Crusade, killed eleven enemies, or the number of balls that, as mentioned, was at the beginning on the coat of arms.

    Another hypothesis, which is also very much accredited by historical sources, wants the Medici coat of arms to allude to the florid and fortunate banking activity carried out by the Medici. The balls would be nothing more than coins.
    This hypothesis in particular would be supported by the similarity of the Medici coat of arms with that of the Arte del Cambio, a shield with a red background with gold bezanti.
    The Medici, therefore, would have simply inverted the colors of the

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  6. INTO THE SPIDER'S WEB

    INTO THE SPIDER'S WEB

    In one of the past articles, we have already introduced you to Professor Hoffman's impressive book, "Puzzles, Old and New".

    For those who missed it, this enthusiast of games and puzzles, decided to enclose in a single text any puzzle he could trace back to his days.
    Some were newly invented, others as ancient as Noah.

    And anyone who is lucky enough to leaf through the pages of the book is faced with barin teasers of all kinds, from the most traditional to the most absurd.
    Brain teasers and more, because there are also sections dedicated to numerical and literary logic games.
    In short, aiming at the idea of ​​solving them all, was a long long time project.

    One of the puzzles explained and illustrated by Hoffman has to do, as you may have guessed from the title, with a spider.
    The professor refers to it as "The Spider and the Flies", describing it as one of the cutest of the "dexterity and perseverance" puzzles.

    It is a small wooden tray with glass on the front.
    In the background a spider's web is outlined, drawn right in the center of it.
    And in correspondence of the spider's stomach a slight depression of the base of the game.

    In different points of the canvas appear small colored circles, two blue and two red, and four small balls of felt to represent flies.
    The player had to have fun bringing each fly in its relative position, avoiding ending up in the belly of the spider (personified by a mercury globule).

    And, speaking of puzzles that have to do with webs and spiders, in our catalog you will find a small, very enigmatic wooden chest.
    In fact, on the Einstein Box a spider similar to that of Hoffman's game is drawn, but inside? We do not know ... at least until we can solve it!

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  7. MICHAEL COLLINS THE ASTRONAUT

    MICHAEL COLLINS THE ASTRONAUT

    The MOON puzzle is finally available on our site, a new challenge for all fans not only of puzzles but also of space, stars and cosmos.

    You too will have a difficult mission to complete on the lunar surface, for which you can draw inspiration from the crew of Apollo 11, in particular the often forgotten astronaut who played, perhaps, the most important role of all.
    We are talking about Michael Collins, who passed away last April.

    We can start by saying that we also feel Collins a bit of an Italian hero, given his birth in Rome.

    In 1963 he was selected as an astronaut and, after being a reserve member of the Gemini VII, he had the great honor of traveling in space twice: aboard the Gemini 10 and, subsequently, the famous Apollo 11.
    266 hours in space.

    Of Apollo 11, two names are often remembered, Armstrong and Aldrin.
    This is because they were the ones who put their faces on it, they were the ones who descended to the surface of the Moon aboard the Lunar Module Eagle.

    What about Collins then?
    Collins remained aboard Columbia, the Command and Service Module (CSM) that orbited the moon.
    A role just as central to the success of the mission, as much as the landing of his companions on the immaculate surface.
    Without his guidance and control of the module, the crew could not have returned home safely.

    An important role, but also a risky one. Collins found himself on several occasions to be the human being furthest from Earth as well as the most isolated, also from the point of view of communications. He had to stay focused, very concentrated, all without being able to communicate with his companions, without even knowing if they were still alive.

    It seems right to me, therefore, to also remember who worked in the shadow of the moon ... which is not so much of a shadow, don't you think?

    Discover our puzzle in refined

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  8. HOW WERE THE SAFES BORN?

    HOW WERE THE SAFES BORN?

    We don't know the exact moment. The first safe of which we have historical information, however, dates back to Ancient Egypt, precisely to the 13th century BC. And guess what, it was made from wood. Surely arriving at the exact burial place of the Pharaoh was not an easy thing. Pitfalls and traps to overcome without losing body parts or staying dry. For Ramesses II, all this was not enough. He encased his most precious treasures in a wooden safe with a lock similar to that of pin locks. A very ambitious mechanism for three thousand years ago! A further step was taken by the merchants of Ancient Rome, who invented a locking system with fixed flaps to prevent the goods from being stolen. Over time they also began to use flaps of different sizes, so that each safe needed a different key to open. During the Renaissance, a period in which sculpture and architecture flourished like never before, safes became not only more elaborate and safer, but also beautiful to look at. In the eighteenth century, however, human invention exceeded its limits: alarm bells that warned of the opening of a safe or locks encrypted with numbers and letters. William Marr, Cyrus Price, Thomas Milner or Charles Chubb. These names may not sound to you. Yet they are the engineers who laid the roots for the birth of the British Safe Industry, renowned in the world of safes and security. During the mid-19th century, they developed businesses to provide people with what they needed most: security. The UK was able to advance in safe innovation over other countries due to its industrial superiority. They managed to meet the huge demand in the field. More and more sophisticated thieves require equally sophisticated mechanisms! Take a look at our MAKE-UP SAFES from the Leonardo collection or test yourself with the SAFE from the Luxury Collection!

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  9. SANTA CROCE: ANOTHER PANTHEON IN FLORENCE

    SANTA CROCE: ANOTHER PANTHEON IN FLORENCE

    A brainteaser from our Leonardo da Vinci collection is emblazoned on the imposing and famous basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.

    Our wooden 3D puzzle consists of 6 pieces with an ingenious interlocking system and is part of the mini puzzle series ... great fun in a small format.

    The homonymous Basilica, on the other hand, is anything but small. Indeed, it is the largest Franciscan church in the world, famous above all for its 16 chapels decorated by great artists of the Italian Renaissance and the presence of several tombs and cenotaphs belonging to famous people buried there.
    So famous that it gave Santa Croce the name of Florentine Pantheon or our local Westminster Abbey. A temple of Italian Glories.
    Some names? Michelangelo, Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo.

    The remains of Galileo Galilei were brought to the basilica 95 years after his death.

    Few people know that even the square in front of the Basilica takes its name from it.
    The Santa Croce area was originally an island of the Arno outside the walls of Florence.
    Construction of the church began in 1294 by the Franciscans who settled in the area.

    Every year, in June, Piazza Santa Croce becomes a football field for matches of Calcio Storico Fiorentino: 4 teams representing the different areas of Florence that compete against each other.
    In historical football, unlike modern football, everything is allowed: elbows, heads and so on and so forth.
    Only in recent times has it been decided to bring this version closer to that of the present day to avoid too many injuries between participants.

    A sport that does not cause harm is the mental one you will do with our Holy Cross.
    Test yourself with our pocket brainteaser!

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  10. AN ANCIENT PUZZLE INSPIRED BY THE SOLAR SYSTEM

    AN ANCIENT PUZZLE INSPIRED BY THE SOLAR SYSTEM

    There is a massive text that we will often talk to you about from now on.
    It is perhaps the largest written collection ever made in the history of brainteasers and puzzles.

    In Puzzles Old and New, in fact, Professor Hoffman, already author of texts on magic tricks and card games, set himself the goal of creating a real illustrated story of all the puzzles to be found, from the past to his present.
    After all, we know, starting from the ancient Enigma of the Sphinx, traps and riddles have always fascinated young and old.

    Today we want to start from one of the first puzzles present in the pages of the famous text.
    It is a thin wooden tray, closed above by a glass plate.
    It is called the Planet Puzzle and, in fact, inside it you can see as many small marbles as the planets of the Solar System back then known.

    The goal of the puzzle was to get each ball into the hole corresponding to its position with respect to the Sun.
    As many holes as there were marbles.

    Solving this brainteaser, therefore, did not only mean playing with manual skills, but also having some notions of astronomy in mind.
    Otherwise ... you had to start studying!

    The game turned out to be intelligent in the truest sense of the word. Stimulating and educational.

    To us, the Puzzle of the Planets immediately reminded us of the beautiful ASTROLABIUM.
    Those who buy it test themselves with not one, but two different challenges: the first extreme, the second incredibly difficult.

    Find out on our website!

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