What better way to immerse yourself in the Florentine culture and history than watching men dressed in medieval costumes beat each other up? If you haven’t heard of Calcio Storico, or medieval football, we’ve got some exciting news for you. This Sunday, you can spend your afternoon watching one of these insane football game that pretty much has no rules. Think American hockey, but way more intense. The best part — it’s free!
Although Calcio Storico is referred to as a football game, it’s more like a mix of wrestling, boxing, and rugby. The game was originally meant to have no rules at all, but a few guidelines had to be added over the years due to the increasing violence of the matches. This definitely doesn’t mean the fights have stopped, though. It’s common to see wrestling matches break out on the sidelines between players while the game goes on around them. Do we have your attention now?
While the matches are usually played in June, there’s a special opportunity to witness one of these legendary events this Sunday in Santa Croce. On February 17th back in 1530, Florence was invaded by the armies of Carlo V and Pope Clemente VII. In an effort to stand up to the troops and show their pride in their city and culture, the Florentines played a game of Calcio Storico in Santa Croce that went down in history. No one will ever know for sure who won, but that game created a tradition that lets Florentines gather together each year to celebrate their roots.
Here’s everything you need to know!
When: Sunday February 17th at 3pm. There is a medieval parade leading up to the game that starts at 2:30pm from close to Piazza Signoria.
Where: Santa Croce Square
Who to root for: In June the teams are divided by Florentine districts: Santa Croce (blue), Santa Maria Novella (red), Santo Spirito (white), San Giovanni (green). On Sunday it is likely to be a mix of players from the four teams to commemorate this historic day.