Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fun in Florence! Traditional Men Sport - Calcio Storico Fiorentino

Supporting the Azzuri!

Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
Saturday Afternoon

Out of the blue, the surrounding streets in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence became empty on Saturday at 6pm!  Mmm…, what a bizzare circumstance in bright summer days… Then we heard loud noises of guys shouting... Eventually we found out the source of the noises!

Beautiful Wall at the Church, Piazza Santa Croce
There was a traditional sport held in front of a beautiful church in Piazza Santa Croce. Temporary sand dirt was constructed – it looks similar to soccer field.


The men in Florence have been playing Calcio Storico Fiorentino since 16th century. Team is representing districts in Florence. This men’s sport is not meant to entertain the tourists but indeed it has been in the blood of the people in Florence in centuries. This is the same sport that was watched by Leonardo Da Vinci - Italian Renaissance genius painter who lived in Florence in 15th century.

Red Team Supporters
What the interesting thing about this sport? #garuk-garuk kepala (I scratched my head). Anyway, Mr. Right managed to ask one of the guys in the street and luckily we found the ticket box…

The ticket guy offered us to buy tickets for the stand where the Blue Team's supporters get together. Another reason, he said, the seating is more comfortable as they are under the shade. 

So there we were, supporting the (Azzuri) Blue team played against The Red. Without realizing it prior to game, I was already ready in my blue shirt! Can you imagine if I had red shirt and sitting in the blue team supporters? #saltum: salah kostum!

Sunday Afternoon

We entered the Piazza at 5pm. No shadowy area yet at the Blue Team seating area like the ticketing guy said… It was still bright and sunny like 12 noon!

When the parade started (opening ceremony)
Parade started (opening ceremony)
I supposed, like any other sports, supporters are more eager that the sportsmen. At the temporary metal stands that were built for the spectators, the Azzuri team supporters’ seats were almost full. Most of them dressed up in blue to show off the power ... Guys in six packs and/or tattoos wandered around either to find their friends or just to chit chat.
Opening Ceremony
Opening Ceremony
If I could borrow one specific sample from French language where there are Masculin et Féminin words – this sport is in masculin category.  But still, it can be considered as family gathering. Some came with their children and there were many dating couples too. It is not as romantic as candle light dinner but it is a sweet historical event. 

Let the Game Started…

Around 5.30pm, the marching band started drumming - bang bang bang... What an entertaining opening ceremony!

Can you see the above video?

Parade of men marching to the field with flags, riding horses and dressing up in traditional European dresses just like the Robin Hood time! Spectators stood up cheering up their teams …

Opening Ceremony

The players started to enter the arena at 5.30 pm.
Players mixed with parade participants
Please imagine a field smaller than soccer field. There are 27 players of each team with the total of 54, plus a main referee, six linesmen and a field master…

Wow, what a parade...

The players are big, tall and have muscles – Azzuri team was in blue pants and Red was in red pants; both were without top!

Players - Calcio Storico Fiorentino

The referees also dressed up, in Robin Hood costumes and held big feathers (green, blue, white).  I would tell you later why the big feathers are useful.

About the sport itself…  This is the root of Rugby with no rules! In fact, it is a mixture of soccer, rugby and wrestling! However, there are the official rules of the Calcio Storico as they were first published in 1580 by a Florentine Count, it was invented by rich aristocrats.

Players - Calcio Storico Fiorentino
During the first ten minutes, a couple of players had already been taken out of the field i.e. one was injured and the other one was because of non-behavioral act. This is when the referees’ big feathers are useful; they are used to stop players punching or killing each other. When the feather was upraised in between two players, they had to respect referee’s decision and stop their actions. 

Minute by minute, the ball was not seen to be thrown/kicked/chased by players… It was thrown by one meter and most players got stuck in wrestling in different corners of the field… No player was seen carried the ball of more than one meter, but I saw many wresting in the field! Gladiators wresting in Florence, LoL…

When the sun began to set around 8.45pm – it was before 2 x 50 minutes - the Azzuri team won as Red seemed to give up after 11-0...! 

It was a nice way to end my Saturday evening, a sweet dinner outdoor after sweet historical sport, with the parade of the marching band marched around town, bang, bang, bang...

Sunset at Piazza Santa Croce

Next posting:

Saving Edward Cullen in Volterra…. #twilight mode#

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