Monday, June 17, 2013


Address: Piazza Santa Croce, Florence 
Opening: 3 matches a year, in June
For booking:
Price: From € 20 to € 50, depending on seating sector 

It's June and you are in Florence? Would you have a shocking experience, discovering traditions? Enjoy the oldest game still played in the city centre...

Il Calcio Storico (also called Calcio in Costume): re-enactment of a Medieval game  

Let's imagine a hot Sunday in the summer of 1400 in Florence.. The square in front of church of Santa Maria Novella is crowded of people. Musicians are expected. And thus they arrive. First the drummers, with their two-tone costume, then followed by trumpeters with their long golden tubes.  

Playing together, they mark the rhythm for the parade of Grand Duke, florentine priors and beautiful noble ladies. The procession is monitored by halberdiers, cannoneers, and other militaristic orders of the Republica of Florentia.

But where are they going all together in full regalia? 

The procession walks through the narrow alleys of the Medieval Florence until Piazza Santa Croce. There, under the watchful gaze of poet Dante (its marble statue is nearby the church's facade) is set up a field game. A sandy arena covers most of the square. 
And gladiators are expected to arrive. 

Well then, the game is about to begin, which has its roots in a distant past, is not for faint. 54 players (27 for each team), called Calcianti, enter the arena and the show starts. 

The game is a cross between football - just because there is a ball for score points! - and rugby - but rules for shots and for tackle are less rigid thus the sport becomes more violent.   

There are 4 teams each representing a district of the city: Azzurri (blues) for Santa Croce, Bianchi (whites) for Santo Spirito, Rossi (reds) for Santa Maria Novella and Verdi (greens) for San Giovanni. 

The game begins with the ball thrown by Pallaio on the centre line. At the same time, a culverines shot greets the opening of fightings. From this moment on, the players try - by any means - to bring the ball down to the enemy field for making the Caccia (score point).

Along the path looking for the Caccia, pitfalls don't miss: flying punches, kicks, hand to hand combats...  Mouthfuls of sands, broken noses, blood abounds. 

As a reward for victory, a heifer of Chianina breed waits for the winning team. 


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