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Calcio Storico - Explaining Medieval Florentine Football

Calcio Storico - Explaining Medieval Florentine Football

Learn about the Medieval Football Game of Calcio Storico!

What is Calcio Storico? We attempt to explain this craziest of games!

Calcio Storico, or historical football, is a game that was invented by the Florentines in the 16th century.

It is known as the most violent type of football, and perhaps sport, on the planet. It was known as the Giuoco del calico Florentino, which actually means Florentine kicking game, and it is one of the most popular games in history.

In modern times, the game is played in June, where four local teams battle it out in Florence for the chance to be crowned as champions.

The whole of Florence is entertained by the game of Calcio Storico and is now a world-famous event that people flock from around the world to witness.

Calcio Storico - Origins of the Game

The Calcio Storico Fiorentino originated in the Piazza Santa Croce, on 17 February 1530.

For some, it was about creating a distraction from the Spanish army occupation, and for other people, it was about ridiculing the enemy.

This game became a well-celebrated tradition in the city, and it is highly valued in Florentine culture.

The event, originally made for taunting the Spaniards in the conventional spirit, grows in importance at the Jocular dei Fiorentini in June every year at the San Giovanni Festival.

The Basics of Calcio Storico

Every team comprises 27 players and the game is carried out in less than an hour. Players are able to use their hands as well as feet for playing.

A Caccia goal is scored by throwing a ball across the designated area of the field's end. If the player misses the designated spot, then the opposing team is able to get half a point. Players are not identified through numbers but via symbols.

For example, some of the symbols include the Horn, Dragon, Star, Pear, and Key, amongst many others.

Semi-final matches are organised every Easter Sunday, by drawing balls that are painted.

Where is Calcio Storico Played?

Calcio Storico is played on a rectangular field with a length that is around double the total width and is covered with sand. It gets divided down through the middle into two squares that are matching, with goals at each end.

Two teams of 27 players participate in the matches, and they go on for 50 minutes in total. There are no substitutions even when injuries take place, which is very usual. The ball gets thrown into the middle of the pitch, and the players descend on that in an attempt to get it and then "Calcio” or “kick” it over a fence in the field of the opponent’s team.

Players are able to use pretty much any means necessary - and tackling by tripping is also allowed, which means the game can turn violent very quickly.

There is a list of rules which is directed at keeping the damage to a minimum, updating the original Renaissance count version of the sport.

For instance, while a lot of fighting techniques are accepted, it is not permissible for multiple players to attack a single player.

The Thrill of Calcio

The game is reported to be one of the most violent games around. Although there have been no reported deaths in the game yet, a lot of players do get injured during the game.

The city authorities in 2007 banned Calcio for a year. This happened after a brawl where approximately 50 players were taken to court. The rules were updated after this incident to state that there can be no convicted criminals taking part in the game.

Costumes in Calcio Storico

Before the beginning of the game, the Bishop of Florence raffles crews from marble eggs. All of the four marble eggs come in different colours- and every colour represents historic districts.

The game is also popularised as a type of football played in Costume, often referred to as Calcio in livery. The players used to play in their Renaissance clothing when the game was first invented, and the tradition has remained since.

The parading figures now wear the dresses of the Lori institutions belonging to the city.


The game of Calcio Storico comes with a lot of twists and turns and it is the most violent type of football to be played in current times.

It is also highly-regarded in the whole of Florence. What’s more, with such an ancient history, it comes with a certain interest for all the players, and entertaining for the viewers taking part in the game every summer.

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