Calcio Fiorentino: the origins of football

Before soccer, before rugby, before football, in Florence there was “Calcio Fiorentino”!
“Calcio Fiorentino” (Florentine kick game) or “Calcio Storico”, takes origins from Greeks and Romans and it was played from centuries in Florence.

The match is played in the sand of a temporary arena in Santa Croce Square.
The rules are …no rules (almost).
And the game can be a real fight.
More than every modern football or rugby match: in Calcio Fiorentino, players are real gladiators.
There are 27 players per team: the “calcianti” (kickers).
Calcianti can use feet and hands to score goals or “cacce”, as Florentines say, by throwing the ball over a designated spot of the field. Each game is played out for 50 minutes with the winner being the team with the most “cacce”.
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Here is an english short video clip to give you idea of what Calcio Fiorentino is.

It’s a very old tradition: in 1530, Florence was besieged by the Charles V’s imperial troops.
When the Emperor launched his final ultimatum, Florentines decided to play the game to show its total indifference to the emperor’s army.
Despite the dramatic moment for the Florence Republic, Florentines wanted to respect the tradition, to show they were not subdued.

At today, every year, in june, four districts of Florence fight in Santa Croce square to win the competition.
This year, first match will be on june 15: Rossi (Reds) of Santa Maria Novella will play against Bianchi (Whites) of Santo Spirito.
On June 16, the match will be between Verdi (Greens) of San Giovanni and Azzurri (Blues) of Santa Croce
The winners of both the games will play the Final on june 24, the feast of St. John, the patron saint of Firenze.
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