Board games are a great way to bring family and friends together, especially over the summer when everyone has extra free time on their hands. The popularity of board games and card games has been on the rise in recent years, offering captivating experiences set in historical, fantasy, or foreign settings that ignite the imagination. If you’re an Italophile and want to dive into Italian history and culture while also igniting some friendly competition, we’ve compiled a list of tabletop games set in Italy that are guaranteed to entertain you and your crew.
Embark on a journey through the picturesque Tuscan countryside with Viticulture, a board game designed for 1-6 players. Created by Stonemaier Games, each player inherits a rustic vineyard and takes on the challenge of managing it throughout the seasons of the game. Players will work on erecting new buildings, planting different varieties of grapes, and sending out wine orders in order to earn victory points. Whoever has collected the most victory points and therefore runs the most “fruitful” winery in Tuscany wins the game!
Walking in Burano
Transport yourself to the enchanting canals of Burano, one of Venice's famous islands, with this vibrant card game. Whether played solo or with up to four players, Walking in Burano captures the essence of the town's colorful charm. Over the course of 20-40 minutes, players compete to attract more tourists to their buildings by decorating them, giving their facades fresh coats of paint, and even surrounding their buildings with friendly neighborhood cats! The goal of the game is to complete a maximum of five buildings and whoever has gained the most points can proudly boast ownership of the most attractive buildings in Burano.
A Machiavellian-style strategy game, Virtù, is not for the faint of heart! Set during the Italian Renaissance, players vie for power over rival cities in this cut-throat game that usually lasts 1-2 hours. Players each represent an influential family of the time. Families include the Aragons of Naples, the Sforzas of Milan, the Medicis of Florence, the Doges of Venice, and the Borgias of Rome. Through each series of political actions, players gather “prestige points” in order to assert their influence and become the “Master of Italy”.
Medici: The Card Game
If you’d like to play a game that’s not as complex as Virtù, but still maintains a similar historical ambiance, then Medici: The Card Game is perfect for you! Set in the Italian Renaissance, this family-friendly game, suitable for ages 10 and above, typically lasts around 30 minutes per gameplay session. Players must act as merchants and seek to collect the most valuable wares for their ships over the course of three game rounds. After players load their vessels for sea and conclude each round, everyone receives florins (Florentine coins) based on the value of their cargo goods. After the three rounds have passed, whoever is the most successful merchant with the most florins wins the game.
Emily Rascon is from San Diego, California and is currently in the process of completing her Masters in Human Geography through the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. She has always had a passion for traveling and learning new languages, having lived in Germany and now Italy. Emily loves reading books, going hiking, and of course, practicing her Italian! In addition, Emily enjoys creating content on TikTok, where she documents her life abroad and encourages people to find the confidence to pursue their inner wanderlust.