You’re familiar with soccer, rugby and MMA. But I bet you have never imagined having all three sports mixed into one. Neither did we, until we came across the ancient Italian sport, Calcio Storico Fiorentino. And we can’t get enough of it.
Translated to “historic football,” Calcio Storico Fiorentino, is a revival of the Roman sport, Harpastum, Calcio dates back to 59 B.C., in Florence, Italy. The city, also the birthplace of the Renaissance, was divided into four sections: Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito, and San Giovanni. Each quadrant of the city represented their respective churches with either blue, red, white and green, respectively. Holding values of toughness, chivalry, and pride for their own, this was the team and individual’s right of passage to earning true citizenship in the city of Florence. And the game was so popular that even the Pope participated in the local event.
The game is simple. The players, who happen to be volunteers attempt to score a goal as they make their way past a flood of 81 men, who are ready and willing to utilize any form of fighting and defense in their skillset. Historically, the game was played with the use of swords, but Calcio made adjustments to modern day sports by disabling the use. All four teams have 27 players consisting of 4 goalkeepers, 3 fullbacks, 5 halfbacks, and 15 forwards and about 15 injured players per team.
Today, Calcio Storico Fiorentino, is held yearly and is the most anticipated event in Florence, with over a thousand attending. There’s something about tradition that runs deep and it’s great to see Florence keep it alive.