As you probably know, one of the most important sports for Italians is soccer, il calcio. People consider it a very serious topic, so if you haven’t a lot of free time to spend, don’t even try to start a conversation about calcio with an Italian, especially not after some match! Why? Because you seriously risk to spend more than one hour talking about this topic. You have been warned!
Anyway, anyone knows, more or less, what traditional calcio is about but in Italy, there’s a second type of calcio called Calcio Fiorentino or Calcio storico (historic soccer) that few people know.
And of course, today I’m going to talk a little bit about Calcio fiorentino.
What is it?
Calcio fiorentino is a form of soccer dating back to the Middle Ages. At that time, only the members of the aristocracy played this type of sport. During the 17th century the interest in Calcio Fiorentino shrank and increased again later on in 1930, when it started to be played by common people.
Today Calcio Fiorentino is still very important in Florence. Three matches are played once a year in Piazza Santa Croce, in Florence, by the teams of the districts of Florence: Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Spirito Santo, and San Giovanni.
The field measures approximately 100mX50m and it’s divided in two identical squares. At the end of each square, there’s a goal net.
During the matches, players wear Renaissance costumes and, of course, have to follow some rules, for example:
- 27 is the number of players allowed. If a player gets hurt and is forced to leave the filed or is expelled, no substitutions are allowed. This means, it’s better for your team to be careful and also to follow the rules.
- coward punches and kicks to the head are not allowed to limit the risk of severe injuries or death for players.
- no more than one player can fight an opponent.
A cannon fire signals the start of the game and the ball is thrown toward the center line. After that, some of the players begin fighting against the opponents using kicks, punches, wrestling, tackling, really anything, to try to tire and stop them. Once a good number of players has been stopped, some other players, go for the ball and try to score. If they score, they get one point. It’s super important to take the aim carefully before shooting the ball because if it misses the net, the opponents get half a point. The game lasts 50 minutes. The winner is the team that gets the highest score.
Once upon a time, the winning team got a Chianina cow as a gift but nowadays they get a free meal and, of course, the glory!
Since calcio storico is a very popular festival, if you want to watch it, you’d better buy tickets in advance or they’ll be sold out.
If you found this article interesting, don’t forget to share it and like our Facebook page!
Original image by dominickvietor