Le 24 JuneThe city of Florence celebrates twice, on the occasion of Saint-Jean, the patron saint of the city, but also of the final of its historic football competition, the Historical soccer. Each year, the players of this traditional sport, an astonishing mix of football, rugby and wrestling, compete in XNUMXth century costume in front of an audience made enthusiastic by the vigor of the game. That day, Florence rediscovers the air of past: a fine example of perpetuated tradition.
A little history
The origins of the game of calcio, which some consider to be an ancestor of current football, go back to very distant times. The Roman legionaries of ancient Florence already practiced a similar sport, arpasto, itself inspired by a Greek game ...
For centuries, calcio has been practiced regularly by Florentines, as an informal leisure activity or, more officially, on the occasion of carnival or events such as the wedding of a great city man, the visit of a important person, etc. In these particular circumstances, one of the great squares of Florence, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Santo Spirito or Piazza Santa Croce, was covered with a layer of sand, and it was then the nobles who took part in the competition.
February 17, 1530: a date engraved in the history of the game and of the city, that of the probably most famous part. While the Florentines were weakened by months of siege imposed on them by the imperial army of Charles V, they did not hesitate to taunt the troops by offering them the spectacle of a frenzied party in Piazza Santa Croce! We now understand the symbolic importance of the show ...
Until the end of the 1930th century, exhibitions of calcio were regular, then they fell into disuse. It was not until XNUMX, for the anniversary of the famous siege, that the tradition was resumed. Since then, every year in June, on the occasion of the celebrations in honor of Saint-Jean, the patron of the city, the competition resumes.
There will be sport ...
The time has come to present the principles of this sport where muscles, sweat and tactical skills come together. Three matches in total oppose four teams, which represent the main areas of the city: San Giovanni (the green), Santa Maria Novella (the red), Santa Croce (the blue) and Santo Spirito (the white). Today the games take place only in Piazza Santa Croce.
After the first two matches, which took place this year on 7 and 8 John. A large parade in 16th century costumes will precede the game: departure at 17 p.m. from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, to go through the historic center to Piazza Santa Croce. Then at 50 p.m., the players will enter, in livery, the playing field on the square. After the presentations to officials and the public, the XNUMX-minute game can begin.
As for the rules of the game, each team is made up of 27 players. They compete for a round ball, which they can handle with their feet or with their hands, and which must always remain in motion. A referee is there to check it, assisted by linesmen. The goal for each team is to send the ball into the nets set back from the half-court defended by their opponent. Each goal is worth half a caccia, that is to say half a point. But if a player misses his shot, the half point goes to the opposing team. Let us add that almost anything is allowed, and that it is a sport of strength, hence its links with wrestling ... Very quickly, the game becomes muscular, and the atmosphere warms up in the public!
At the end of this spectacular event, the winners are those who have accumulated the highest number of points. They receive as prize, no longer a white veal as it was previously customary, but its equivalent in steaks, with wine to accompany. What to regain strength, during a well-deserved final banquet!
Or sleep ?
- Hotel Dali, via dell'Oriuolo, 17. Tel. 39) 055-234-07-06. Internet: www.hoteldali.com. From 60 to 75 € for a double room with or without bathroom. Very welcoming pension, located on the 2nd floor of an old building in the center. Bright and adequate rooms. Free private parking for customers.
Where to eat ?
- Ristorante-pizzeria I Ghibellini, piazza San Pier Maggiore, 8-10 r. Phone. 39) 055-21-44-24. Open for lunch and dinner until 0:30 a.m. Antipasti from 3 to 7 €, first from 4 to 5 € and second from 6 to 15 €. Add 12% for service. Housed in a beautiful medieval building, one of the most popular restaurants in the center. Terrace in fine weather.
Final on June 24 at 17 p.m., Piazza Santa Croce.
Tickets from 14 to 40 € (at the central grandstand), on sale at the Box Office, via Alamanni 39. Tel. : (00-39) 055-21-08-04.
Internet: www.comune.firenze.it and www.aboutflorence.com.