Thursday, 2 April 2020

As Millions of Croats Self-Isolate Responsibly, Split's Sporting Picigin Tradition Continues

April 2, 2020 - Croatia has introduced some of the most restrictive measures on movement in the world to combat COVID-19, and with great success. But the Split game of 'picigin', it seems, is an exception. 

One of the most powerful (in a field of very powerful) articles I have read in the last few weeks about our new reality was A letter to the UK from Italy: this is what we know about your future in The Guardian. 

The harrowing details apart, the sentence that stays with me is this:

Being locked up in a house with a pretty garden or in an overcrowded housing project will not be the same.

It was a thought that occurred to me several weeks ago. And so when schools were closed for an initial two weeks (we all knew it would be months), we had a choice to make. Stay in our very nice rental home in a village near Varazdin, where we would slowly kill each other once restrictions, or come to our rental apartment and previous home in Jelsa on Hvar. 

From a mental health aspect, there was no question. The sun, the terrace, the nature win every time. And if things got really bad, as they might, we had the family field to feed us. 

We were responsible and kept away from everyone (and I am yet to have a conversation with anyone here in the flesh almost three weeks later). Self-isolation and work. I have never worked harder. 5am start, bed at midnight. A break for lunch and one precious hour when I leave the house for my own solitude and escape from the world. 

I think twice before posting on social media, because I am aware that gorgeous videos of sunset by the sea must be frustrating to watch. But I do post them because 1)  I want to support Croatian tourism by reminding people in isolation that this is what awaits, 2) giving people a happy reminder that their favourite places are waiting for them, and 3) because those who follow TCN will appreciate the hard work we do needs some stress relief. 

And Hvar is stunning right now, and the local tourism businesses will be very happy to welcome you after all this madness is over. 

Meanwhile today, in Split, reports Dalmacija Danas...

The traditional Split game of Picigin was in full flow. If you are not familiar with picigin, it is a Split tradition with its very own World Championship, and the first beach game in the world to get cultural heritage status. You can learn more about picigin here

Dalmacija Danas is conducting a poll on whether or not this is responsible behaviour, with 79% initially disapproving. 

Your thoughts? Comments below or vote in the Dalmacija Danas questionnaire

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Picigin Days Returns to Bacvice Beach in Split Next Weekend

September 19, 2019 -  Split society 'Picigin Bacvice' will host this year's 'Picigin Days' on September 27 and 28 at Bacvice beach.

Picigin was created on the sandy beach of Bacvice in Split somewhere around 1923, and precisely who invented the game? We’re still unsure. The game is played throughout the year by the young and old, men and women, and is simple enough for anyone to enjoy.

Picigin is played in a circle with two or more players, with the objective being to keep a small rubber ball in the air between the players as long as possible.

The game ends once the ball hits the ground, er, water. 

Picigin is played in shallow waters (thanks to Bacvice) with depths never reaching above the knee. While the first Picigin players were known to wear monokini swimsuits, today, you can only play the sport wearing a speedo.

One of the least expensive sports you can enjoy in Split, Picigin is even played on the New Year holiday when sea temperatures could drop as low as 10 degrees Celsius.

Thus, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the favorite Split society 'Picigin Bacvice', this year's 'Picigin Days' will be held on September 27 and 28 at Bacvice beach - and on October 23, the society's 20th anniversary will be celebrated at the Marko Marulić Library, reports Dalmacija Danas

After ten or so years successfully hosting the Picigin World Championships, last year, there were changes to the competitive concept. Thus, Picigin Days were established, a manifestation to revive the character through which, apart from picigin, efforts are made to promote other traditional and new games and activities, all organized by the Ecological Society 'Picigin Bacvice'.

Therefore, this year, with the inevitable picigin spectacle, there will also be football on the sand, shallow football (Nogbi), Glavomet (or football with your head) and some new games such as Picigol, Picington and Pennis.

In addition to the sporting events, there are plans to landscape the beach, where ornamental plants and tree seedlings will be planted. 

Friday, September 27, 5 pm 

In the afternoon and early evening, plans will be made to landscape the beach and holes will be prepared to plant tamarisk and ornamental plants. All tools will be provided. Members of the society are expected to attend the action, and of course, citizens and supporters of the society are also welcome.

Saturday, September 28 (10 am - official program start)

10:30 am - football on the sand, shallow football (Nogbi), and Picington. Planting ornamental plants and trees immediately begin

10:40 to 12 pm - Picigin - a revue of picigin crews from Bacvice and the neighboring Firule

12 to 12:30 pm - Picigol in the sea, Pennis in the sea

1 pm - Snack and drink

Wednesday, October. 23 (6 pm - Marko Marulić Library)

The 20th-anniversary celebration of the founding of the Ecological Society 'Picigin Bacvice', with a commemorative program and thanks

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Best of Bačvice: Picigin Day Returns this Weekend!

You know that whole World Cup thing we have going on for the next month? This may be a nice little getaway for all of you non-football fans.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Summer Weather Returns to Split, Picigin in Full Swing (Photos)

Today in Split measured air temperatures of 27°C and a sea temperature of 22°C.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

TCN Hits the Streets to Find Out Why Split is a Hit (Video)

Beaches, boat rides, Bačvice, picigin and Uber. These are some of the things tourists say they love about Split in the summer.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Video: Picigin Returns to Solin Beach After Decades!

Did you know that Solin has its own access to the sea?

Monday, 10 June 2013

Briškula, Trešeta, Karambol, Balota, Picigin…Dalmatian Pastimes

Along the Dalmatian coast and on the islands are quite a few activities that everyone shares. Some of the games stems from Italy or France while others are indigenous to Split. Nonetheless, they play an important role in Split culture and its identity; it brings people together for social game, whether outdoors or around a table.


Balota is a game you will often see played all over Dalmatia as well as in Italy and France. Balota is known as Bocce in Italy or Boules in France. The game involves two teams throwing heavy balls as close to a marker ball (known as bulin in Dalmatian or cochonnet in French) as possible on a pitch of about 4 meters wide and 15 meters long. These pitches can be found outdoors all over Dalmatia in city parks and in small coastal villages. The pitches are usually public and are therefore free to use. It’s such a charming site to see elderly men and women who gather for a game and a chat. You will often see overcrowding around the pitches and loud conversation in the making.



Karambol is the billiard version of Balota played in Dalmatia. A Karambol table is similar to a billiard table but has no holes or pockets. Players roll the ball with their hand and without a cue. Again, like Balota, teams have to get as close to the Bulin as possible but first they need to kit two sides of the table first. See here the Karambol rules made easy in Split’s underground café, Zanat, which is where the game is more popularly played.



Briškula and Trešeta are popular card games played in Dalmatia, particularly in Split. The game, originally from Trieste in Italy uses Italian cards, and not the regular decks you would find in a casino or anywhere else in the world. An Italian deck has 40 cards of four suits; coins (Denari), swords (Spade), cups (Coppe) and clubs (Bastoni). Briškula is the simplest and most popular (Briscola in Italian) and is played in the normal Italian fashion though there is also a popular variation called briškula Dalmatian style or briškula na duplo (double briškula). Usually, after completing a round of Briškula, thenTrešeta is played. Trešeta (Tresette in Italian) works on a point system where the winner is the firs to achieve 41 points where akuža scores highest; having three or three aces or three highest ranked cards. If the Trešeta round results in a tie, another round of Briškula needs to be played in order to determine the winner.If you want to learn how to play Briškula and Trešeta, Wikipedia explain the rules of Briscola and Tresette where the Dalmatian variations are explained. If you want to experience a real local vibe where the game is being played, you head to Zanat in Split; an off-the-beaten-path café in the palace where youth come to play the game. Zanat has a tendency to close when its too warm outside but try and find this watering hole anyway by begging a local to reveal its location. Hint: it’s in a side street between Peristil and Pjaca.

Picigin is an amateur sport played in the shallow waters of Bačvice consisting of players tossing a small ball to one another, keeping it from touching the water. Quite rare for these parts, Split’s Bačvice is a sandy beach with quite shallow waters, which spurred the birth of Split’s very own sport. It is not a competitive sport as there are no winners, points or opposing sides, but rather a relaxing way for friends to relax and exercise. As the game grows with intensity, passing tourists are treated to the spectacle of grown men flying in the air in an often vain attempt to keep a small ball in the air and if you ask the women what the best part of the game is, it is that the male contestants are expected to wear mudantine, a tight speedo. The Picigin World Championships were introduced in 2005 and, as the sport is non-competitive, it was decided to determine the champions on a combination of number of touches and acrobatic style. Also, it is a tradition to keep the ball out of the water on New Year's Day, whatever the weather.

Here is a little Picigin clip:

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

More Crazy Scenes at Croatia's Famous Zlatni Rat Beach: Picigin in a Lake!

Bol's famous Zlatni Rat beach is Croatia's most famous, and know to change shape with the tides and winds, but the last few days have been truly incredible. A game of the local watersport 'picigin' in a lake in the middle of the beach on January 13, 2016.