Calcio Storico Fiorentino is one of the most ancient traditions in Florencethat has been the same for over five centuries.
A bit of history
It is an early form of football, whose stadium is the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce in Florence center. There the calcio has been played since the 16th century. Originally it was played by rich aristocrats who played every night between Epiphany and Lent. The first rules were written in 1580 by Giovanni de’Bardi who was a Florentine count. It was played by two teams of 27 players each. Every player could use both hands and feet to hit the ball. Goals were scored by throwing the ball over a narrow slit running the width of each field’s end.
The Calcio Storico today
Nowadays the Calcio Sotirco Fiorentino is still played in Piazza Santa Croce three times per year, just before Florence Patron’s Day. The four city boroughs fight each other and they can be recognize by their colors:
the Blues represent Santa Croce
the Whites represent Santo Spirito
the Reds represent Santa Maria Novella
the Greens represent San Giovanni
Each game is played out for 50 minutes with the winner being the team with the most points or ‘cacce’. The finale is held on June 24th, San Giovanni the patron’s day. Each game is proceeded by a large costume parade departing from Piazza Santa Maria Novella and walking through the streets to arrive in Piazza Santa Croce just before the match, where the flag-throwers show their abilities onto the field. Every match is played in historical dressed by 27 players and its start is announced by the firing of a small cannon, when the ball is thrown to the center line.
Tickets have different prices and you can purchase them online with your credit card at Boxol.it.
If you are in Florence I strongly recommend you attend this great event, since it’s the real essence of Florence and its citizens. For more information and for some pictures look at the official website of Calcio Storico Fiorentino.
I recommend you download TooMuchFirenze, the free unconventional guide to Florence!
Watch out this video about Calcio Storico Fiorentino by Fabio Segatori.