Everything you need to know about Calcio Storico, Italy’s most violent tradition

On June 24th each year, Florence’s main square turns into an arena for a sport which is a brutal combination of rugby, football, and wrestling. The Local explores the history of the unique tradition.

Calcio Storico (Historical football) is a game thought up by 16th-century Florentines and as the name suggests, it’s an early – and very violent – form of football. It was also known as giuoco del calcio fiorentino (Florentine kicking game) and was very popular several centuries ago.

These days, your only chance to watch a match is in June, when four local teams battle it out in Florence to be crowned the champions. The whole city turns out to enjoy the spectacle.

How do you play?

The game is played on a rectangular field with a length roughly twice as long as the width, and covered with sand. It’s divided down the middle into two matching squares, with goal nets at each end.

Two teams of 27 players take part in the matches which last for 50 minutes. No substitutions are allowed, even if there are injuries – which there often are. The ball is thrown into the centre of the pitch, and the teams descend on it in an effort to gain possession and kick it over a fence at the opposing team’s end of the field.

Players can use hands and feet and tactics such as tripping and tackling are also admissible, meaning things get pretty violent – though there is a long list of rules aimed at keeping injuries to a minimum, updated from the original version written by a Renaisance count. For example, while many fighting techniques (including martial arts) are allowed, it’s not OK for more than one player to attack a single opponent at once.

Is it dangerous?

Yes. While there have been no deaths during the game in modern times, there have been numerous cases of players hospitalized, sometimes for months.

City authorities in 2007 banned the match for a year after a brawl which saw around 50 players (that’s almost all of them) taken to court. After that, new rules banned convicted criminals from taking part.

Who takes part?

Four teams take part in the Florentine Calcio Storico, each representing a different district of the city: Santa Croce (blue), Santa Maria Novella (red), Santo Spirito (white), and San Giovanni (green). Semi-finals take place early in June, with the pairings decided by drawing coloured balls on Easter Sunday, and the finals are held on June 24th, the feast day of Florence’s patron saint, John the Baptist.

This year, the final will be held between the reds and the whites. The blues were excluded after their semi-final match with the whites was stopped early due to violence.

In 2014, the rules regarding participation in the tournament were changed, so only people born in Florence or who have lived in the area for at least ten years can take part. Those rule changes also aimed to cut down on violence, for example banning head-to-head clashes.

Are there prizes?

Of course! The winning team used to take home a butchered calf, but now they get a free ready-cooked dinner at a restaurant. There’s no official prizegiving or medal ceremony – the players play for glory.

So … why do we celebrate it?

At one time, the game was practiced regularly, and today’s match is in part a reenactment of a game played while Florence was under imperial siege. It’s held on the city’s patron saint’s feast day as a celebration of Florentine pride by remembering the defiance of that match.

However, after the 17th-century, it fell out of favour and the tradition seems to have been forgotten for a couple of hundred years. Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini revived the game in the 1930s, promoting it as part of his regime’s focus on glorifying Italy’s past, and amateur games were held up and down the country.

But now, the only time you’ll be able to watch it is in June in Florence.

Is there anything else going on?

Yes. Calcio Storico is not just a sporting event but a celebration of Florence, and the day begins with a medieval pageant. Marching bands and costumed people, including Calcio Storico players from each of the four teams, make their way through the city’s streets on the way to Piazza Santa Croce.

The final takes place in the late afternoon at around 5pm, so afterwards you can expect a lively atmosphere in Florentine bars and pubs. St John’s Day is rounded off with a fireworks display over the River Arno.


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

B&B Home 16 Relais – One of our top picks in Rome.

Home 16 Relais offers air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms just 302 m from Re di Roma Metro. San Giovanni, with its shops, bars and restaurants, is a 10-minute walk away.

Rooms at the 16 Relais B&B are soundproofed and come with an LCD TV and a safe.

An Italian breakfast is served in guests’ rooms. The 16 Relais’s guests can enjoy special rates at nearby restaurants.

Termini Station is an 8-minute metro ride from the 16 Relais Home, and the Coliseum can be reached in about 15-minutes by bus.

San Giovanni is a great choice for travelers interested in roman ruins, ancient landmarks and city walks.

This is our guests’ favorite part of Rome, according to independent reviews.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8 for a two-person trip.

Facilities available:
– Free WiFi
– Airport Shuttle
– Non-Smoking Rooms

To view more facilities at this venue, please click on the link below…..

Book your room at this Hotel now!
Find and Book your Cheap Flights here!


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

InternoRoma – Good value for couples!

Just 200 m from Manzoni Metro Station, this elegant guest house is located in a historic building, 1 stop away from Termini. Its bright rooms offer free internet and an LCD satellite TV.

All air-conditioned rooms at InternoRoma feature elegant parquet floors, exclusive furniture, and a private bathroom with bath or hydromassage shower. Self-catering facilities include a minibar and microwave.

The Coliseum is just 1.5 km from the guest house. Lively nightlife in the San Lorenzo district is a 12-minute walk away.

This small guest house offers a personalised service, requesting that guests call in advance to arrange check-in. Reception is not open 24 hours a day.

Central Station is a great choice for travelers interested in monuments, history and architecture.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8 for a two-person trip.

This property is also rated for the best value in Rome! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

Facilities available:
– Free WiFi
– Family Rooms
– Non-Smoking Rooms

To view more facilities at this venue, please, click on the link below…..

Book your room at this Hotel now!
Find and Book your Cheap Flights here!


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Relais Esquilino – Stay in the Heart of Rome.

Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Relais Esquilino offers accommodations in Rome.

Some units include a sitting area where you can relax. A flat-screen TV is provided.

There is a shared lounge at the property.

Santa Maria Maggiore is 100 m from Relais Esquilino, and Domus Aurea is half a kilometer from the property. The nearest airport is Ciampino Airport, 12.9 km from Relais Esquilino.

Central Station is a great choice for travelers interested in monuments, history and architecture.

This is our guests’ favorite part of Rome, according to independent reviews.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 9 for a two-person trip.

Facilities available:
– Free WiFi
– Family Rooms
– Non-Smoking Rooms
– Daily Housekeeping

To view more facilities at this venue, please click on the link below…..

Book your room at this Hotel now!
Find and Book your Cheap Flights here!


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Self-guided all-day trip from Rome: Ancient Etruscan Necropolis of Tuscia: a UNESCO World Heritage site

Embark on an 8-hour self-guided day trip to the area known as Tuscia from Rome. This historical region of Italy is comprised of the territories that were once under Etruscan influence, and was the name adopted for Etruria after the Roman conquest. At your leisure, step back in time through the history of the Etruscans in Tuscia, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hotel pickup in Rome is included. A tour guide is not included.

Book Now

Highlights
Comprehensive tour by bus/coach
Step back in time on a history tour
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Get picked up at your centrally-located hotel in Rome and begin the trip to your first Tuscia destination.

Tuscia is the historic name for the beautiful land of the Etruscans. You will be bewitched by the unaltered Etruscan charm and beauty that the Tuscia area preserves, all throughout the territory, with treasures hiding even in the smallest, most quaint towns.

Start off in Tarquinia, where the largest necropolis in the area is located. Upon arrival, explore the necropolis with more than 6,000 Etruscan tombs that completely cover the hill of Monterozzi. Adorned with scenes of human life that include hunters, fishermen, musicians, dancers, jugglers, and athletes, the painted tombs illustrate the wealth and power of the people for whom they were built. They are a fitting symbol of their high social status.

But Tarquinia is even more than that. It hosts invaluable archaeological artifacts and medieval remains, as well as a wide variety of natural features. In the immediate vicinity of the town, you will find the seashore, the natural countryside of the Maremma, and the mountains of Tolfa and Cimini with its view from its walls takes in Argentario and the island of Giglio.

Next, continue your trip to Cerveteri. Here, the necropolis is located inside a tumuli, or burial mound, partly cut into the rock. It is filled with luxury goods made of precious metals, such as tableware, razors, buckles, jewelry and ornate vases. The interiors are composed of multiple rooms and coffered ceilings. Cerveteri is largely unspoiled, and ideal for visitors who want to enjoy long walks in a natural setting. The territory is rich with iron, making the sand black, which makes it attractive to visitors each summer. Enjoy the intimate connection between nature and history.

Upon completion of your visit, return to your hotel in Rome.

Please note: A tour guide is not included, so you way want to bring a guidebook. Remember to check the website for opening times of the locations and the prices of entrance tickets. Entrance fees are not included.

Book Now


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Room 4 Rome B&B Risorgimento – Stay in the Heart of Rome

Just a 5-minute walk from the Vatican City, Room 4 Rome Risorgimento offers rooms with free Wi-Fi access and LCD-TVs. Ottaviano Metro Station is 300 m away.

This guest house has bright rooms with air-conditioning, some with views over to St. Peter’s Basilica. An Italian breakfast of croissants and cappuccino is provided daily at a café nearby.

Room 4 Rome B&B Risorgimento can organise shuttle transfers from and to Rome Fiumicino or Ciampino Airports, and there is also a taxi rank right outside.

In a converted 19th-century building, Room 4 Rome Risorgimento is well located for Rome’s tourist sites, including Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican Museums. Termini Train Station is 6 Metro stops away.

Vatican City – Prati is a great choice for travelers interested in museums, art and culture.

This is our guests’ favorite part of Rome, according to independent reviews. Like shopping? Within 2 km of this property you can find popular brands including: Rolex, H&M, Zara, Nike, Cartier

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 9 for a two-person trip.

Facilities available:
– Free WiFi
– Family Rooms
– Non-Smoking Rooms
– Daily Housekeeping

To view more facilities at this venue, please click on the link below…..

Book your room at this Hotel now!
Find and Book your Cheap Flights here!


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Montepulciano and Pienza Tuscany Full Day Tour from Rome: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Spend a day exploring Tuscany’s famous hill towns on this 13-hour trip from Rome. Relax as all the transportation is taken care of, and enjoy free time in Montepulciano and Pienza to explore on your own.

BOOK NOW

Highlights
All taxes, fuel surcharges and service fees included
Instant Confirmation
Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Get picked up at your hotel or other accommodation in Rome at 8:00am by your driver for the day. Climb into a comfortable minivan and enjoy the scenery on the drive to the first stop – Montepulciano.

Montepulciano is between the Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia, and the town dates back to the Etruscan era. Today, it’s famous for wine production – the Montepulciano DOCG is especially prized. Stroll the town’s charming streets at your leisure, browsing in shops and stopping in wine bars to sample the local wines. Your driver can recommend a place to stop for lunch (own expense) before wine tasting at some local wineries (own expense).

Continue on to the next stop of the trip, Pienza. This town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and from its hilltop location you get a spectacular view of the Val d’Orcia below. Explore the beautiful town at your own pace, admiring its gorgeous mains square and historic buildings. Check out what’s in the local antique shops or pause to sample some locally-made pecorino cheese.

At the conclusion of your time in Pienza, your driver will transfer you back to Rome.

BOOK NOW


Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Small-Group Tour: Florence and Pisa Day Trip from Rome: Including a visit to Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa’s monument-filled central square

Explore the Renaissance cities of Florence and Pisa on a day trip from Rome. After leaving the capital, you’ll travel north through Tuscany to Pisa where the white marble monuments of Piazza dei Miracoli wait. Admire sights of the UNESCO-listed Leaning Tower of Pisa, and then head to Florence in time for lunch. Explore medieval streets, old craft workshops, and Michelangelo’s ‘David’ inside the acclaimed Accademia Gallery. Numbers are limited to just seven people per minibus for a small-group experience.

Book Now

Highlights
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Explore the local streets on a walking tour of the city
Small group ensures personal service
All necessary equipment included
Get inside tips from a local
Great overview and orientation of the city
Leave your central Rome hotel, and relax on the journey north to Tuscany, a region known as the “cradle of the Renaissance.” Cross the green valley around the River Tiber to the slopes of the Apennines to reach your first stop of the day: Pisa.

Hop out of your minibus for a stroll around Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa’s monument-filled central square. Stand before the Leaning Tower of Pisa for photos and learn about the Baptistery and Pisa Duomo, both resplendent in the local white marble.

Continue to Florence and enjoy free time for lunch at your own expense. Later, meet back up with your guide for a walking tour. Discover medieval streets and craftsmens’ workshops as you stroll with tales of the powerful Florentine Medici family ringing in your ears. Then, head inside the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s sculpture of ‘David’ alongside other influential Renaissance art by the likes of Da Vinci and Botticelli.

Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to swoon at Brunelleschi’s dome, check out the baptistery, and admire Giotto’s Bell Tower. Finish with a quick trip up to Piazzale Michelangelo where a stunning city vista awaits. Cast your gaze over the Ponte Vecchio, River Arno, and Florence Duomo, then return to your minibus for the journey back to Rome. Your day ends with a hotel drop-off.

Book Now


Enjoyed this post? Share it!