The Florentine Historic Football
Fifty minutes of passion
They are fifty minutes of strength, passion, sweat, fatigue and combat, played in the gaudy liveries of the past, soon transformed into fierce naked torsos who fight with tenacity and fury on a thick carpet of sand that cushions the blows of the falls but at the same time makes the movements heavy.
Calcio Storico restarts: Saturday, September 11, starting at 4 pm in Piazza Santa Croce, where the final of the Torneo 2021 will be played, the challenge between Azzurri di Santa Croce and Verdi di San Giovanni that, for the first time, will be broadcast live worldwide, in streaming and on television.
The stakes are the "hunt," as they say, for the ball that ends up in the opponent's goal. Dante does not mention it, a sign that in his time the tournament was not played, since his work is also a formidable encyclopedia of the time. But it is known that already in the second half of the 15th century, young Florentines played soccer in the squares and streets, decorated with their colorful liveries.
Slowly, the most important squares of the city were used, from Piazza Santo Spirito, to Santa Maria Novella, to Santa Croce. And historical soccer began to be one of the entertainments used above all during the carnival period or on special occasions. It was immediately a hard game in which the young nobles competed to make a good impression in front of the noble ladies. However, it was in Santa Croce, where the tournament still takes place today, that the memorable game was played, the first one of which there is real official information and which remained in history as the beginning of the tradition.
On the rectangular field divided into two perfect squares, the two teams of 27 players on each side begin to compete for the ball after the firing of the culverins and in honor of the magnificent messenger who watches from the stands.
Almost every kind of shot is allowed and the referee-judge, aided by his six linesmen, directs the game not without effort. The players must overcome the opponent's barrier and send the ball into the net that occupies the entire width of the field. A mistake costs the other team a point.
Each point is a hunt and every two half hunts the players change fields. The winning team is given a white heifer as a prize, which used to be slaughtered and is now symbolic, plus the "cencio", as the painting by a Florentine painter is called.
Each team is marked by a color, at the beginning they were two, but soon they became four and there are still many: the Whites of Santo Spirito, the Reds of Santa Maria Novella, the Greens of San Giovanni and the Blues of Santa Croce.
The starting time of the deployment of the Procession of the Florentine Republic will be at 4 p.m. The beginning of the match at 5 p.m. The Procession will not parade through the streets of the city center but will line up in the square starting from Via Magliabechi; after the exhibition of the Musicians and Flag Wavers of the Uffizi and the "Comando alla Voce", the Procession will leave the playing field to line up around the field on the whole square. They will form the frame of the public around Piazza Santa Croce.
The match will take place behind closed doors, without the public, and the entire area of Santa Croce will be delimited by a double ring of controls. The invitation is to follow the match on TV.