Calcio Storico (Historical Soccer) is an early form of football that originated in the 16th century in Italy, a mix of rugby, soccer and wrestling, and which today is disputed only in Florence.
The four teams that are facing each other on the field are the Bianchi (White) of Santo Spirito, the Azzurri (Blue) of Santa Croce, the Rossi (Red) of Santa Maria Novella and the Verdi (Green) of San Giovanni. The game, lasting only 50 minutes, is very violent and often ends up with broken limbs and a lot of blood.
The first match of Calcio Storico was played on February 17, 1530, when Florence was besieged by the army of Carlo V and Pope Clemente VII, who were trying to bring the Medici Family back to the city, from their exile. Instead of celebrating the Carnival, the people played a match of Calcio Storico, to make fun of the attackers.
The popularity of the game increased and lasted throughout the 17th century, but in the following century it began a slow decline that soon led to the disappearance, at least as an organized event. The last official game was disputed in January 1739, in the Square of Santa Croce, in the presence of Maria Theresa, future Empress of Austria.
Except for two games played in 1898 and in 1902, almost two centuries passed before the city of Florence could see its ancient game resurrect. The rebirth of the game was in May 1930 when, for the four hundredth anniversary of the Siege of Florence, on the initiative of Alessandro Pavolini, was organized the first tournament between the neighborhoods of the city. Since 1930, except for the World War II period, the challenges between the players of the four historic quarters of Florence were regularly held.
The MATCH OF THE SIEGE 2019 will take place on February 17, when the players will return to the same field, in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce, for a new game of Calcio Storico. The game will take place around 4 pm.