In the Valle d’Aosta a variety of popular sports are played, like rebatta, fiolet and tsan (also called tzan).
Tsan, a game whose origins are lost in time, is a team game rather similar to baseball. Although the word tsan means “field” in Franco-Provençal, the games are played on grass lawns. Each year two championships are organized, one in spring and the other in autumn, this because in the times when the game has its origins it was of vital importance that the grass, a source of sustenance for livestock, was not damaged.
This sport is particularly well-spread in the central middle-valley, between Montjovet and Aosta, in Val d’Ayas and in Valtournenche. Particularly popular in Fénis, tsan is played in a place along the Dorea Baltea, set specially aside for it.
The pitch, not less than 135 m long, is comprised of two circles and an isosceles trapezium without its main base. The lesser base of the trapezium, known as the bitse, is 30 m long and is marked off with small red flags (signals) each posted ten metres from the next. Along the axis of symmetry perpendicular to the bitse, at a distance of 12 m, is the S point, central to a circle with a 1 m radius, known as the “serclo di servià” (“service circle”). At 32 m is point P, in which one can find a wooden staff in the centre of a circle with an 8.5 m radius, known as “deden lo serclo” or “serclo di paletà”. The pertze is a 4.50-5 metre-long staff of wood, held diagonal by a fork.
The deden le bon area (in the good area), lies beyond the bitse line. If we draw two lines from the centre of the circle deden le serkio to the extreme ends of the bitse line and then continue outwards to the natural limits of the playing-field itself - that would be the deden le bon zone (see diagram). The sides of the pitch are marked off with small, red flags (signals), each posted 12 m from the next.
Each team is comprised of 12 on-field players and two reserves.
The game is made up of two main phases:
The History of Tsan
In 1920, the “Associazione del Gioco dello Tsan” (Tsan Association), wrote down the rules of the game for the first time.
In 1949 the first regional championships of the game were held. The rules of the championship were precisely defined.
In 1974 the “ Fédération des Sports de Noutra Téra” (“Federation of the Sports of Our Land”) was founded. This is a federation which unites similar traditionally typical Val D’Aostan sporting activities and is recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee.
In 1979 the regulations were revised in order to incorporate new security measures.