In Italy, Scopa is an immensely popular Italian card game that rivals poker in popularity in the United States. I was fortunate to have learned Scopa from my nonno, an immigrant to the United States from Puglia, Italy. Nonno would share stories of how old men sitting in parks, cafés, piazzas and pizzerias would play the game passionately, and how the "giovani" would just hang around trying to look hip while learning.
I've visited my nonno's hometown and watched these Italian old-timers play for hours on hours. My wife and children would marvel at how much energy these men had and how much fun they were having. I explained the game to my family. Within each of the four suits - denari, bastoni, spade, coppe there are 10 cards. The cards one through seven were easy to explain; however, the three picture cards weren't so easy. The Re or King and the Cavallo or Knight are relatively simple to identify but Le Donne were difficult to comprehend. Le donne "the women" don't look feminine at all, which tends to annoy most beginners.
With Italian beauties like Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigdia, and Claudia Cardinale, having "le donne" illustrated to look like young peasant boys is confounding.
After explaining the game and playing a few hands, my family understood the rules and were determined to play the traditional Italian card game.
“I’m going to have to teach my classmates how to play,” said my daughter.
Those eager-to-learn can visit www.ScopaCards.com to learn how to play, then confidently challenge their "paisans" in either parks, cafés, piazzas, pizzerias or online.