Florence Prepares for Historic Football Match

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 03:49
Calcio Fiorentino

Players are airing out their costumes for a celebrated football match that tradition decrees must be played in the white, red, blue or green livery of Florence’s historic districts.

Calcio Storico Fiorentino is a football game that sometimes appears to have more in common with rugby than with the sport as we know it today. The game lasts 50 minutes and is played by 2 teams with 27 men to a side.

The historic match takes place always on the 24 June in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, following a parade to Santa Maria Novella.

Nowadays, the match is always played on the day of the Feast of St. John, Florence’s patron saint. But in the past, the game took place more regularly and was often played by nobles in gaudy livery.

Now, the livery represents the four districts of Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni, Santo Spirito, and Santa Croce, with Friday’s winning team able to claim bragging rights for an entire year.

For a taste of how to play calcio storico fiorentino, watch the video below (narration in Italian):