calcio storico fiorentino   A blend of rugby, football and wrestling that fascinates Florentines
and tourists

by Sandro Pintus

Before the game, the figurantes all dressed in authentic period costume, form a procession that parades through the historic centre, followed by the supporters of the four historic districts.

With a crowd of tourists and Florentines on either side, the procession orderly enters the playing field, presents itself to the Seigniory, today represented by an important guest of the city, and pays its salute. The two teams are then presented to the public; the figurantes leave the field and the game begins.

The teams, composed of twenty-seven players each, compete for fifty long and very intense minutes in which, no holds barred, the game often degenerates into violent rows and fist fights. The Referee/Judge, assisted by six linesmen, often has a very hard time directing the match; the Field Master intervenes only in the event of fighting.

A moment of the game between "Azzurri" and "Verdi"

The players must thwart the opponent's defence and send the ball into his net which occupies the entire length of the field. The ball must be thrown with great precision because if it misses target or is intercepted, this is a point for the opposing team. Each point corresponds to a half "caccia" and every two half "cacce," the teams exchange playing field. Every time a "caccia" is scored, the crowd of supporters goes wild, setting off firecrackers and smoke bombs with the team's colour.

The winner, of course, is the team that scores the most "cacce" and his prize is a quantity of steaks equivalent to the value of a white calf, which originally was butchered for the occasion but today is only symbolic. The prize is served accompanied by a good Chianti wine.

See also:

The Origins of "The Florence's Historic Football Match"

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