I went to the “Caccia al Tesoro Mediceo” – a Medici themed treasure hunt – put on by the Mese Mediceo last night. I laughed so hard, my jaws hurt. From the brochure it was not clear exactly how this show works. I’m glad I went because it was truly brilliant and a really different way to spent a few hours on a Friday night.

collection

 

villa

Review

You arrive at Villa Le Piazzole, an agriturismo just outside Florence that has apartments and rooms that look gorgeous. I have no idea what it costs but if you’re looking for a magical place to stay I’d check it out. Arrive early and partake in the 10 euro aperitivo, or just nab a good parking spot and enjoy the sunset by the pool (into which they did not invite us to jump). Bring bug spray.

 

boat

Le Piazzole is an amazing property with an interesting range of spaces to explore, and the evening’s activity invites you to do this fully. The set designers have arranged nine areas that you will visit over the course of the evening in order to get nine pieces of information that you need to solve the puzzle. This includes a beautiful boat at the edge of the pool, a grotto, a chapel, corners of the garden, etc.

 

bath

At each station there is an actor role-playing a member of the Medici family, assisted by other actors. The women seem to have gotten some of the least comfortable locations: pictured is the actress who spent 3 hours in a steamy hot tub.

 

pope

What I really did not expect is that everyone participates while the actors do improvisation, and they were really very good at it. You are forced to get in there and do what they suggest or ask questions, or else you’ll never get the information you need. This is where I’d say it would be best to go as a group of 6-10 friends so that the boldest of you could jump in to the action and the rest of you could laugh at him. Also, I saw that various groups split up to divide the “work”, although this I don’t really advise, because seeing each scene is a lot of fun. Anyway, here is a photo of me singing “papa don’t preach” to Giovanni de’ Bicci and the Pope. This great effort was necessary because Tommaso’s harmony singing a Gregorian chant in Latin was insufficient to buy us the information needed. At the top of this post there’s a photo of my favourite (art-related!) scene of participants posing as paintings.

elettrice_santuario

The evening was fully booked and the crowd quite varied. Age ranged from a group of amusing teens and another group of rude boys in their 20s, to families with kids aged 10-12, to many people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Really this is an appropriate game for anyone over the age of 10. You should have the physical ability to walk around a large and uneven property for 2.5 hours; wear sneakers. This is not the kind of theatre for which fancy dress is required. Interaction with the actors depends on the crowd of course, but seems to necessarily involve sexual innuendo and Tuscan slang, hence the consequent jaw ache from laughing so hard. For this reason, an at least basic understanding of Italian is required.

The Mese Mediceo events are written and directed by Alessandro Riccio, who presents the prizes and troupe at the end. This is the seventh annual Medici Month, so if you miss it this year, you can attend next year. This is just one of three events put on this year, each at a suggestive villa location that is a privilege to explore. I’d suggest that you get on their mailing list now so that you don’t forget, by emailing info@mesemediceo.it or bookmarking their website www.mesemediceo.it.

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