The idea for an international tournament came about by accident at one of the founders' birthday parties, when he and his friends began a spontaneous game of hide and seek and wondered why there was no official world event. Though it started out as a joke, the event has grown year after year, attracting visitors from around the globe, organized by Bergamo magazine CTRL and local authorities.
Photo: Nicola Carrara
This year, the tournament moved from Bergamo to the abandoned town of Consonno, which has lain empty for around fifty years. Consonno, near the city of Lecco, was intended to become 'the Las Vegas of Lombardy' in the 1960's, but was abandoned just a few years after works began, when a landslide left much of the town uninhabitable.
Photo: Nicola Carrara
Over the weekend however, there were food trucks, music concerts and other events to accompany the massive game of hide and seek.
Only Italian teams participated in the first few editions, but as word spread the event, now in its seventh year, has become truly international.
"The most widespread game in the world deserves its own World Championship, and every adult deserves to be free for a weekend, playing hide and seek," the organizers explained.
2016 saw 320 players, split into 64 teams, hide in the woods and fields around Consonno. They represented all corners of Italy, as well as France, Switzerland and Belgium, with one team even having made the journey from Minnesota in America.
The rules of the games are as follows: The hide and seek arena is split into five sections, and one member from each team must hide in each section. While the seekers (the winners of last year's tournament) count for one minute, the players find a hiding spot among the obstacles set out, and then have to make it back to the 'base' before the seekers can find them.
The video below captures the start of the event.
After Saturday's event, the finalist teams competed again on Sunday, with the team Sneaky Frenchy from Marseille eventually crowned as Hide and Seek World Champions.
As well as the players, spectators from around Europe and the world visited the town to watch the games unfold in the ghost town, which came alive for the weekend.
The idea of hide and seek as a competitive sport is not unique to Italy however; a Japanese professor, who runs a Hide-and-Seek Promotion Committee in the country, has been lobbying to get the event introduced in 2020's Tokyo Olympics, and the organizers of the World Championship are waiting eagerly to see if this comes to fruition.