The Calcio Storico Fiorentino is a throwback to past times. It is played in costume (sort of) and the game of soccer/rugby/wrestling is played with the rules from the 16th century in Florence. Lots of things go, and it can get quite violent. In Florence, the main matches are always played in June, you can read more about it here.
In honor of the first match ever played on the 17th of February in 1530, a true historical reenactment of this first match will take place tomorrow in Piazza Santa Croce, 485 years after.
It is called “The Battle of the Siege” as at that time, the city of Florence was under siege by the Imperial troops of Charles V. The match being played at that time was certainly seen as a challenge to the troops to show how little the Florentines considered the threat just beyond its walls. In honor of the recurrence, tomorrow the piazza will be set up as it was back then, with wooden seats and bales of straw used to delimit the playing area and sand on the ground to recreate a piazza that was not paved a those times.
As was recounted by Benedetto Varchi in his “Florentine History”, the Whites against the Greens will play the historical match, with each of the players taking on the roles of the historical characters that participated then. In addition to numerous local authorities, the descendants of players and people taking part 485 years ago have also been invited as special guests, including Charles Hapsburg-Lorraine, descendent of Charles V and Beatrice, Queen of the Netherlands, descendant of the Prince d’Orange and other countesses and viscounts and dukes still in Florence centuries on.
Entrance is free, the afternoon will start at 2pm with a historical parade through the center as it makes its way to Piazza Santa Croce, the game starts at 3:45pm.
Here’s more details on tomorrow’s program:
1:30pm Historical parade and players of two teams meet up in Palagio di Parte Guelfa for parade
2pm Historical Parade starts and passes through Piazza della Repubblica, Via degli Speziali, Via Calzaiuoli, Piazza della Signoria, Via della Ninna, Piazza del Grano, Via de’ Neri, Borgo Santa Croce, to end in Piazza di Santa Croce
3pm Performance by the Bandierai degli Uffizi, the official flag-thrower group for the city of Florence
3:20pm Division of the court and two teams in the Piazza
3:45pm Start of the match reenactment of the Calcio Fiorentino, with Whites against Greens
4:35pm End of the match
4:45pm Award Ceremony for participants and winning team
5pm Historical parade returns to Palagio di Parte Guelfa following the same route it took to get to Piazza Santa Croce.
See you there!
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!