Public days: 3 - 5 November 2023

Table football on the beach

late 1960s
© Intesa Sanpaolo Publifoto Archive

The ownership of the patent for table football, known in Italy as “calciobalilla”, dating back to the 1930s, is uncertain. Claims to the invention have been made in many countries, and the game has been an enormous success from the outset. As a result, there are many more or less authoritative anecdotes regarding the birth of the game, differing from country to country. There are various intriguing legends: it is said that in France the idea came from an employee of Citroën, who wanted to find a way to amuse his grandchildren on rainy days; others say the pastime was invented in the United States for the rehabilitation of wounded veterans. In Italy, rumour has it that the initial production relied on the skills of a maker of coffins. In any case, table football reflects a widespread trans-generational and trans-national passion for football.

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