Calcio Storico, A.K.A. Calcio in Costume and Calcio Fiorentino is a historical sport that runs deep in the Florentine blood line. It’s played annually in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence.
Read why this soccer/rugby/boxing match isn’t really my favorite Florentine event and let me know what you think!
Calcio Storico in Florence
History of Calcio Storico
Calcio Storico—calcio, meaning soccer for the fellow Americans—feels more like a rugby death match that began in the 16th Century. Some even say it started as far back as 59 A.D.
The rules were established in 1580 which allowed a team of 27 to play with their hands and feet. Two opposing teams have 50 minutes to throw the ball over the goal in order to win.
The sport died off and was resurrected in 1930 when organized sports came into play—pun intended. The teams are split between neighborhoods, so make sure you’re on the right side of the arena when you go!
Santa Croce are the Azzurri , blues.
Santa Maria Novella are the Rossi, reds.
Santo Spirito are the Bianchi, whites.
San Giovanni are the Verdi, greens.
Calcio Storico June 2014
June 14th — Azzurri VS Bianchi at 17:00
June 15th — Rossi VS Verdi at 17:00
June 24th — Finals at 17:00
Tickets are € 21 – 52 and you can buy them online, which I highly recommended, or at the hectic ticket booth in Piazza Santa Croce before the game.
The winning team wins a Chianina. It’s the oldest breed of cattle dating back 2,200 years. It’s large, white, flavorful and typical of Tuscany.
My personal take
I’ve been in the Santa Croce bleachers twice during this crazy event. The first time was in 2002 as a student. I remember enjoying it and not thinking much of it, just that it was something I should see.
Then again in 2012 when Nicco and I took our Moms, oh my!
My Mom has seen it all, but she really didn’t need to have witnessed men beating the shit out of each other and knocking each other out. Seriously, I saw two men get knocked out and just drop to the ground.
Calcio Storico seems more like ultimate fighting than soccer. At times you can’t tell where the ball is because the teams disperse and start fighting. I don’t really hate it—to each their own—I just don’t ever need to see it again. Twice is plenty, wouldn’t you agree?
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