Florence is the capital of the beautiful Tuscany region and the home of Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi Gallery, Renaissance masterpieces – and Calcio Storico, ‘historic football’, one of the most brutal games on earth.
A short history of the ‘beautiful’ game
‘Calcio in Livrea’ first surfaced around 1200-1300AD – although it was rumoured to be the sport of the gladiators – and became known as ‘Calcio Storico’ or ‘historic football’ in the 16th century. Originally it was played only by the upper classes. Once a year, every night between Epiphany and Lent, rich aristocrats would compete in the brutal sport – even popes were believed to take part.
How the game is played
The official rules were published in 1580 and, like football, it is played on a rectangular pitch with goals at each end, but there the similarity ends.
If your idea of football is getting a …