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The Giro comes to Recanati, where “playing is serious business”

The Giro in Recanati: discovering Clementoni educational games that have spurred young children to learn while having fun since the ’60s.

reading time5 minutes

We continue to travel across Italy together with the Giro d’Italia. Today’s stage takes us from Pescara to Jesi, crosses the Marche countryside and arrives close to Recanati, famous above all for being the birthplace of the great poet Giacomo Leopardi, but also home to a Made in Italy company that we are going to get to know today. We are talking, of course, about Clementoni, the historic toy and educational board game company, which was the brainchild of Mario Clementoni, “the Sapientino man.”

Playing is serious business

Mario Clementoni, born in 1925, worked in the field of musical instruments and, during one of his first trips to America, discovered that board games, a product at the time almost entirely unknown in Italy, were very popular in the United States. Believing that “playing is serious business,” he began to make a board game inspired by Sanremo songs at home with the help of his wife.

But the big hit came in 1967 with Sapientino (a name chosen to evoke learning), a Clementoni’s milestone and Italy’s first electronic board game. Sapientino still exists today and has become a brand in its own right known throughout Europe. What’s more, the term is included in some Italian dictionaries!

A string of successes

The success story was just beginning. In the ’70s, Walt Disney licensed Clementoni and Pippo Olimpionico, another best seller in the catalog, was launched.

Magician Silvan, then a very popular television personality, was one of the first testimonials for the company, which, year after year, continued to churn out successful “boxes” such as “Concilia?”, a game on road safety education.

In the 80s, it was the turn of Insieme, a kind of Trivial Pursuit with the peculiarity that Mario Clementoni personally asked several people at the time famous in very different fields to write the questions. Just to name a few: Giulio Andreotti, Sandro Ciotti, Piero Angela, Renzo Arbore, Maurizio Costanzo, and Jas Gawronski.

A company that doesn’t stop playing

Today, Clementoni, which has maintained its headquarters in Recanati, is a national leader in the production of toys and educational games and is led by Giovanni and Stefano Clementoni. With “Growing is a beautiful game” as a slogan, the company has hundreds of employees, a revenue of millions of euros, produces games in 16 languages and exports all over Europe.

Educational games, of course, have evolved to suit the times, and today, the company has a computer line that is very similar to the real thing, helping children approach the digital world. However, Stefano Clementoni believes that “toys should remain linked to dreams,” and we can only congratulate those who, every day, bring the Made in Italy desire to play and dream to the world!

Discover other outstanding companies from Marche.