In ancient Rome, soldiers used to play it to have fun and to train
The Calcio Storico also known as "Il gioco di calcio fiorentino", is a sport that has been practiced since the times of ancient Rome and ancient Greece. At that time, the soldiers played it for fun and in the manner of training. It is said that afterwards it was taken to Europe, specifically to Florence, Italy.
In its essence, Calcio Storico is a ball game where the goal is to score more points than the opposing team. It is played with 27 players of which 5 are goalkeepers. Furthermore, it is practiced in a court similar to football in measures, however, it is necessary that the court is covered with sand.
The game lasts 50 minutes during which the ball can be played with hands and feet. It is important to highlight that at the time of scoring, the players must have an accurate aim since if they try to score and do not, the opposite team receives half a point or half goal. The game is regulated by 6 referees and supervised by paramedics.
Unlike football, in this sport players can openly attack their opponents; the attacks can go from kicks, punches to the head, fist punches, and even strangulation. It is only prohibited punches in the lower parts or kicks in the head.
This uniqueness in the game has caused that some teams, in several occasions, were unable to finish the games since they ended up forgetting the objective of the game and getting involved in fights. Moreover, the type of movements practiced in the Calcio Storico are also considered precursors of rugby and even known to include movements used in Greco-Roman fights.
There has always been people injured in this game and there have even been dead. However, it has not generated the intentions of prohibiting the game. On the contrary, every year very punctually during the third week of June, the tournament is organized in the Piazza di la Santa Croce and coincides with the San Giovanni festivities.
Before each tournament, there is a celebration where a large part of the population dresses in renaissance costumes and traditional music is played for their amusement. All the tournaments are played by four teams representing the most historic districts of Florence.
Each district has its color, so players and fans carry it depending on where they come from or who they support. For example, white is used by the district of Santo Spirito, blue is used by the Santa Croce district, green is used by the San Giovanni district, and red belongs to the Santa Maria Novella district.
The rules of Calcio Storico were known in the year 1580 by the Count of Vernio Giovanni de Bardi, who was a great legislator. Bardi wrote 33 articles of the rules of the game, making that game something more regulated and less violent compared to what they knew as carnival football.
The tournament consists of three matches to define finalists and one to define the winner. In this sport, there is no physical or metallic prize, in this case the players practice it because it is important for them to keep the honor of their district up.
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