Calcio Storico Fiorentino, also known as Historical Florentine Football, is a captivating sport that may test the boundaries of modern sensibilities due to its chaotic nature.
Recently, the semi-finals of this ancient game unfolded, showcasing the intense competition and physicality that Calcio Storico Fiorentino has been known for throughout the centuries.
In the first semi-final, the Azzurri di Santa Croce faced off against the Bianchi di Santo Spirito. True to the game’s reputation, a fusion of MMA and football, the match lived up to its nasty legacy. The Azzurri di Santa Croce, clad in blue, emerged victorious with a score of 7-3.
The second semi-final featured a clash between the Rossi di Santa Maria Novella and the Verdi di San Giovanni. The Rossi di Santa Maria Novella, donning red jerseys, dominated their opponents, securing a remarkable 7 ½-2 victory. The highly anticipated final is scheduled to take place on June 24, 2023, at Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, where the blue and red teams will go head to head.
The origins of Calcio Storico Fiorentino can be traced back to the Middle Ages when it was played by nobles and members of the clergy. Each team consists of 27 players who employ both their hands and feet to score goals. The game permits a wide range of physical contact, including punches, head-butts, elbows, and even submissions. However, it is important to note that attacks must occur in one-on-one situations, and kicking opponents to the head is strictly forbidden.
This captivating sport serves as a celebration of Florence’s cultural identity, with the teams named after four prominent neighborhoods within the city. Participation is open to anyone brave and fit enough to join a team. However, it is essential to acknowledge the grueling nature of the game, as a match lasts for a relentless 50 minutes without breaks or substitutions.
In the late ’70s, Calcio Storico Fiorentino experienced a decline in popularity due to the excessive violence displayed on the field. Incidents like a player having his ear bitten off contributed to its fading allure. However, in recent years, the sport has undergone a renaissance, attracting attention from tourists and even MMA stars like James Zikic.
The global recognition of Calcio Storico Fiorentino was further elevated through its inclusion in the first season of Netflix’s Home Games. Premiering in 2020, the TV series shed light on unique and perilous traditional sports from around the world, captivating audiences with the raw intensity of Calcio Storico Fiorentino.
This ancient and nasty game stands as a testament to the rich history and unyielding spirit of Florence. While its violence may raise eyebrows, Calcio Storico Fiorentino continues to captivate and astonish both enthusiasts and curious spectators, immersing them in a mesmerizing world where tradition meets raw athleticism.