Calcio Storico Fiorentino

photography Peppe Tortora

Issue IX

CALCIO STORICO FIORENTINO IS AN ANCIENT FORM OF FOOTBALL THAT LIKELY ORIGINATED IN 15th CENTURY FLORENCE. LEGEND HAS IT THAT IN THE 1490s THE RIVER ARNO FROZE OVER AND A MATCH TOOK PLACE ON THE ICE. SOME TRACE THE SPORT BACK TO A GAME PLAYED BY THE ARMY OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE CALLED HARPASTUM (“TO RIP AWAY, TO SEIZE”).

DURING THE MEDICI REIGN, FLORENTINE NOBLES OFTEN PARTICIPATED IN THE BLOODY CONTESTS, ORGANIZED DURING CARNIVAL. THE 20th CENTURY REBIRTH OF CALCIO STORICO TOOK PLACE ON MAY 4th 1930 – THE 400th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIEGE OF FLORENCE. THE MATCHES PITTED THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE CITY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER. THE ONLY OBJECTIVE WAS TO GET THE BALL INTO THE OPPONENT'S GOAL...BY ANY MEANS.

TODAY MATCHES ARE HELD EACH JUNE IN PIAZZA SANTA CROCE, IN FRONT OF THE BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE. MATCHES LAST FIFTY MINUTES. TWENTY-SEVEN PLAYERS, NO SUBSTITUTES: FOUR GOALKEEPERS, THREE FULLBACKS, FIVE HALFBACKS, FIFTEEN FORWARDS. THE CURRENT INCARNATION OF CALCIO STORICO ALLOWS HEAD-BUTTING, PUNCHING, ELBOWING AND CHOKING, IT DOES NOT, HOWEVER, ALLOW SUCKER PUNCHES OR KICKS TO THE HEAD. THESE RULES ARE OFTEN BROKEN.

THE TEAMS:
SANTA CROCE / AZZURRI (BLUES); SANTA MARIA NOVELLA / ROSSI (REDS); SANTO SPIRITO / BIANCHI (WHITES); SAN GIOVANNI / VERDI (GREENS).

More from GREY

Fabio Quaranta S/S 2014
Maison Martin Margiela S/S 2014 - Menswear
The Boa Knife