Needless to say, Italy is a wonderful country with great culture, food and not to mention a sporting history. Calcio Storico is a traditional Italian sport – a mix of football and rugby where there are no rules. There is a good bit of boxing thrown into the mix and is a rough and exciting spectacle to watch. It also incorporates elements of wrestling to make it visual spectacle.
The game of Calcio Storico goes as far back as 1530 by some accounts even further back in time. Florence is the venue for this visual spectacle – 4 teams represent the districts of the era – Santo Spirito, San Giovanni, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. There are no major rules to define the game – the final result only has to be a goal. The teams also have designated colors – game paraphernalia is distinguishable by team colors.
There are 2 teams of 27 each and the field is a gigantic sand pit with goalposts at either end. A referee, 6 linesmen and field master monitor the progress of the game and intervene at appropriate times. A game is played for 50 minutes – the winning team being the one to amass the most points or “cacce”, goals.
The game is still in costumes worn during that period. Winners are paraded through the historic Piazza in the city.
The game is played in late June- early July to coincide with the Feast of St. John, the patron saint of Florence. After the games are played, it is usually followed by food and drink. Check the dates on the Italian Tourism website before making your booking to see this wonderful part of the world – and taking in the culture. Enjoy the experience.