Match of the Siege 2020, the most important match in the Calcio Storico Fiorentino calendar of events, will take place on February 17, in Florence. The game will start around 4 pm in the Square of Santa Croce, in front of the church with the same name.
Calcio Storico (Historical Soccer) is an early form of football appeared in the 16th century in Italy, a mix of rugby, soccer and wrestling, which today is still played in Florence.
The four teams 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 held 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 to decline, and soon the Calcio Storico disappeared, 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.