Interesting Facts

Casino Sanremo boasts hosting many famous names in its 110 years of history and has many artistic “jewels”.

Gallery of friends

The casino enjoys the friendship of many distinguished people who helped shape the image of the establishment over the years. After the war, Carlo Dapporto played the first of his "Riviera Folies" shows in the old Sanremo Ballroom, which then toured around Italy and Europe. Edoardo and Peppino De Filippo were enthused by the games at the Teatro della Casa and often performed there. Edoardo later said: “At four o'clock in the afternoon, just to spite the waiters, Peppino and I used to make our entrance performing the Schottischer dance towards our corner table in the casino restaurant for breakfast at tea time .... After that we sometimes headed upstairs. I can’t tell you if I won or lost. All you need to know is that my favourite number is 14 and I never bet on the colour. We are what we are, right? I’m still looking for a million…" Edoardo De Filippo Peppino De Filippo instead recalled: “I like Sanremo: when I think that from inside those casino walls you can come out rich, I get goosebumps, I go shy, I get lost among the numbers, the 14 and 24, and 26 and 16, and I put my tokens back in my pocket….that’s just the way I am. In those rooms they may well have met Vittorio De Sica, King Gustav of Sweden, King Leopold of Belgium, Ranieri and Grace of Monaco or King Faruk, who in the 50s visited the green tables on a daily basis. During a game of poker he proclaimed himself the fourth king, having another three in his hand. It was an unorthodox poker but one which nobody contested. Vittorio De Sica often returned to Sanremo, mostly in the festival period. He played and he had fun, saying “With all that I’ve wagered I could lay claim to the right tower of the casino” Even today there is still this close connection to the world of show-business, culture, art and high society.

Historic and artistic facts.

The origins of today’s playing cards date back to the age of the Egyptian dynasties. The pharaohs entrusted their decision-making to their high priests, who were able to predict natural events through numbers. Thus the first calendar was made. After that, similar systems of premonitions about the future were transmitted to other populations by the Hebrews. Many distinguishing elements of the ancient Hebrew and Egyptian calendars are reflected in the cards used today. Through tarot cards and fortune telling cards in general, playing cards seem to date back to Ancient Egyptian times. There are many parallels which prove this similarity. There are 52 cards in a deck, as with weeks in a year. The value of each card, if added up, gives a total of 364; add two Jokers and the number is 366: the number of days in the Egyptian calendar. Furthermore, the deck is divided into four suits, just like the seasons of the year, and every suit has numbers from one to thirteen, just like the lunar months of the Hebrew calendar. There are also four kings, which would seem to invoke the four elements: water, air, earth and fire.

The “Cica Cica” lucky foot.

Sanremo casino goers, to bring themselves a little luck, carry out a regular ritual: touching the foot of the “La Cica” marble statue found at the casino entrance. The sculpture was made by Odoardo Tabacchi and is known as the “Cica Cica” or simply “la Cica”. The community administration of Sanremo won it in a competition from the Turin exhibition of sculpture back in 1884. The statue has been bringing luck to players since the casino was founded, when it was brought to the games room of Sanremo Town Hall. It represents a naked damsel sitting on a rock, with her arms folded expressing imploration, invocation and perhaps one-upmanship, which is reflected in the name "cica-cica". The art critic Ugo Fleres decribed her as “...So beautiful and happy a young girl, she surpasses all her friends and perched on her little stone, she recites the mocking verses of the Cica Cica to those who are still splashing in the water….” Not so much for the nudity as the realism with which her appearance is depicted, the statue was considered too “indecent” to be displayed in the town hall and far better suited to the games rooms of Casinò Sanremo. When the casino opened, the Cica found her new permanent position in the spacious rooms of the grand building. The gesture of incantation against misfortune and her beauty straightaway made her the players’ lucky charm in the gaming house.

The Bronze of “The Fisherman”.

Among the artistic “jewels” kept in the casino, one can admire a precious copy of “The Fisherman” (Museo Nazionale del Bargello di Firenze) by Vincenzo Gemito (Napoli 1852 - 1929). The realistic bronze, which resides on the first floor, is rather a late work by the artist, towards the end of 1922, probably incomplete. The sculpture represents a young man in the very moment he disgorges the hook from a fish he’s just caught. It has an exceptional realism about it, which captures the cheery and carefree spirit of the young man, even describing every little anatomic particular.

Style, prestige, history

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