It seems incredible but every city in Tuscany has its own sporting tradition often in conjunction with the patron saint of the city.
In fact, in Florence on the day of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city, the final match of historic football (calcio fiorentino) is celebrated.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino has ancient origins, already the Greeks and the Romans played divided into teams with the ball, for the Greeks it is called spheromachia and for the Romans instead Harpastum, a word that means to tear by force.
In Florence this game is also known as Football in costume or in livery due to the gaudy clothes worn by football players to evoke the clothes of ancient times.
In Florence we have the first testimonies in the fifteenth century and it was played in the streets and squares and some matches have marked the history of the city.
Other games, on the other hand, were played for official events such as weddings of kings, official visits of Popes or Cardinals.
The ancient and present city is divided in the historic center into four main districts and each has its own team, flag and color.
· White team, Santo Spirito district
· Green team, Santa Maria del Fiore district
· Red team, Santa Maria Novella district
· Blue Team, Santa Croce district
The flags are not displayed all year round but in June they appear in various windows of the Florentine neighborhoods.
One game more than the others was important and still celebrated today, it is the game of February 17, 1530.
The event was not festive and much less to celebrate the patron saint but a true demonstration of the non-compliant character of the Florentines.
In 1530 the city of Florence was under siege by Emperor Charles V with the intention of conquering it and facilitating the return of the Medici family.
Florentines, almost mocking the enemy, during the siege decided to organize a large procession and to the rhythm of music and drums play Florentine football in Piazza Santa Croce!
From that day on, except for extraordinary circumstances, Florentine football continued to be played.
The rules of Florentine football have changed over the years but remain fairly faithful to the earliest known draft.
Each game lasts fifty minutes and the field, Piazza Santa Croce, is covered with sand.
Each team is made up of 27 footballers divided into different roles.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino is the basis of many other sports disciplines as it combines contact and ball sports, from football to rugby no spectator will be disappointed.
A legitimate question would be wondering what do you earn by playing Florentine football?
The curiosity is that, in economic terms, absolutely nothing is earned but “only” the honor and pride of having celebrated a part of Florence’s history!
To be honest, there is a prize: a white Chianina calf! In the past it was a very important prize for the neighborhood, today the animal is brought back to the farm after the historical procession.
Another recognition is that the winning team’s flag is displayed throughout the year in front of Palagio di Parte Guelfa, a historic Florentine place.
If you are curious, do not miss the final meeting of historic football which is played every year on June 24 in honor of St. John the Baptist and in the evening you can admire a wonderful fireworks display offered by the city.
We are waiting for you at Villa Campestri to celebrate the Patron Saint of Florence!
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