Calcio Storico Fiorentino 2023: Take a step back in time Best described as a sporting event with deep roots and historical significance, this event is a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling all while playing in traditional costume and is considered one of the craziest festivals in Italy. There are four teams representing the four […]Calcio Storico Fiorentino 2023 Piazza di Santa Croce, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy Florence Italy
Best described as a sporting event with deep roots and historical significance, this event is a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling all while playing in traditional costume and is considered one of the craziest festivals in Italy. There are four teams representing the four historical neighborhoods that compete against each other to reach the finals.
“Imagine drunk gladiators taking out arguments with their neighbors. They just throw the ball in and one guy looks at his opponent and just beats the shit out of them. It’s basically a free for all.”
Netflix released a new docuseries about unique and dangerous traditional sports from around the world.
Episode 1 features Calcio Storico where rugby meets mixed martial arts.
The 500-year-old tradition full of violence takes place every year in June in the beautiful city of Florence. There are 3 games of 4 teams that fight for their district in Florence. On a sandy pitch 54 men fight, 27 each side for a ball. NO RULES! Punching, kicking and wrestling are allowed.
Who are these guys covered in tattoos and ripped? From a techie at a pharmaceutical company to a security guard, anyone can take part. Pride is what unites them. Oh and the goal to win a cow.
This sport is super violent, really intense and a bit confusing to watch – but obviously really exciting. The field is somewhat set up like a soccer field, with goals at each end but it is covered with sand instead of grass. There are 27 players for each team and play for 50 minutes. The aim of the game is to get the ball over the opponent’s goal, which is more like a fence.
Players are allowed to use hands and feet, as well as tripping and tackling – even martial arts moves! Injuries are frequent but the substitution of players is not allowed. The event is super local and is played in the city square. Calcio Storico pays homage to the history of Fiorentino and is a celebration of Florence pride.
Get your tickets early, you don’t want to miss out
Don’t just watch the final, go to the entire event and immerse yourself in one of Florence’s oldest traditions
Pick your accommodation close to the action
Calcio Storico Fiorentino takes place every year in Florence, Italy. The game is played in front of Santa Croce at the Piazza Santa Croce. In recent years, as part of the effort to keep the event local, tickets are only sold in person at the local box office.
If you are not able to score a ticket to see the game in person, the event is always live-streamed or you can watch on t.v or in a local pub.
As Florence is a pretty small area, most people get around on foot, by motorbike or bicycle. It is possible to get public busses and taxi, as well as rental cars, but it is easier on foot.
If renting a car, be warned that there are a lot of one-way streets and parking is hard to find.
You can find accommodation for any budget level while in Florence. There are hotels, hostels, BnB’s, homes to rent, villas, apartments and luxury apartments to stay.
There are even kid-friendly accommodations if you happen to be traveling with little adventurers.
This is an all-day event. Starting in the morning, there is a medieval parade with marching bands and people in costume taking over the streets and celebrating throughout the day. The main event doesn’t start until 17:00 so you have the whole day to enjoy the culture. After the game, many people spread out to the pubs to continue the celebrations. There are even fireworks over the river.
Aside from Calcio Storico, there are many museums to visit, loads of incredible traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants, as well as little boutiques and shops to look through.
Florence also has many parks and hiking trails to explore. There are also various water activities like cruises, stand up paddleboarding and rafting. If being active isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the river with a drink in hand at one of the many outdoor bars.
The semi-finals happen in early June 2022. Then the final of Calcio Storico takes place on June 24, 2023 which is the St. John the Baptist day, the patron saint of Florence.
Do yourself a favor and head to Florence to witness this incredible ancient celebration. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Sol Neelman attended the medieval rugby in Florence as one of his bucket list events for his book ‘Weird Sports’. What other weird sports exist around the world? Listen to Rad Season Founder Oli Russell-Cowan chatting to Sol, there are certainly some events you have not heard of yet…
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