Is this the most brutal football you have ever seen?

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Calcio Fiorentino Calcio Fiorentino By Lorenzo Noccioli, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Each year on 24th of June, at St. John's day, an unusual sporting event takes place at Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. A blend between football, rugby and mixed martial arts attracts citizens, as well as tourists to watch this, for a lot of people one of the most brutal sports in the world - Calcio Fiorentino.


For the game itself, also known as calcio storico or simply, calcio, we could easily say that the rules are "there are no rules". Three still apply, though: no sucker-punches, no kicks to the head and not more than one player can attack the opponent. Everything else, including punching, elbowing, choking, head-butting, wrestling is allowed. For us bystanders unfamiliar with the tradition, it is basically a time limited street fight with a ball.

Originating somewhere in the 16th century in Italy, it was revived back in 1930. and recognized as a game in Kingdom of Italy. Four teams, each representing a quartier of Florence play the game:

- Santa Croce / Azzurri (Blues)
- Santa Maria Novella / Rossi (Reds)
- Santo Spirito / Bianchi (Whites)
- San Giovanni / Verdi (Greens)

After playing each other in opening games, the two overall winners face each other in the finals. The play for a pile of steak equivalent in weight to the traditional prize of a white calf that was historically butchered for the occasion.

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Last modified on Saturday, 03 May 2014 21:08
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