As many of you know, Italians live and breathe soccer. This sport keeps all Europeans on their toes, especially during the world cup. The competition between each country is quite outstanding. Restaurants and bars play games on their big screen TV’s to attract a large crowd of viewers! In the month of June the Calcio Fiorentino games take place in the Santa Croce Square. Calcio simply means to kick thus, after translation it would the “Florentine kick game”. The history and extraordinary rules of calico fascinates many people, drawing them in to watch the games. Here are a few points to fill you in on the sport.
History- Calcio is an early form of soccer that originated in the 16th Century. It is said to be the game that started out all rugby and football events! Initially, the games were reserved for the wealthy citizens and it was said that even high public figures (such as the popes and royalty) were known to play. In 1930 the games were back in action after being dormant for two hundred years! I would not be surprised if these games continue for many more centuries- I mean who doesn’t like to watch something historical and full of violence (this is a must see for all men!). To this day men take the game very seriously, dedicating their life once in the timeless arena.
Rules- Here I will discuss the rules or better yet, lack of rules in Calcio. The official rules were first published in 1580. There are three games, each a duration of 50 minutes. The idea is for players to use both their hands and feet to move the ball up and down the field. Each team must take the ball beyond their opponent’s defense line. One of the only few rules that apply are no sucker-punching and kicks to the head. Head-butting, punching, elbowing and choking are all fair game! Since no substitutions are allowed, this game can get quite bloody. As you can imagine, this is very VERY entertaining.
Teams- There are four teams with 27 players on each. A team that once belonged to the roman gladiators represents each district in Florence. The teams are as follows; Santa Croce (blue team), Santa Maria Novella (red team), Santo Spirito (white team), and San Giovanni (green team). Each team dresses up in some sort of costume to display their pride; of course all in matching team colors.
The soccer tournament is said to be an honor of San Giovanni, thus the final Calcio game on is June 24th (Florentine holiday for Giovanni). The finals are played during the evening, which is followed by an amazing display of fireworks on the Arno River. Cherishing the ongoing tradition of Calcio Fiorentino, Florence has kept the medieval spirit alive by reliving an event so ancient. To check out the Official Facebook page click here. I will also provide you with a well-filmed video to summarize the games, enjoy!