Calcio Storico

An absolute must see if you are planning to visit Florence in the early summer. Each game is filled with more passion and energy in the stands than most American football games.

Each match lasts 50 minutes with 27 players on each team, where each team tries to get the spherically shaped ball to the other end of the field by any means necessary. Whether that means boxing or wrestling, it is all allowed to restrain the opponents from stopping your team from running the ball to the end of the field to score a point.

To an American, Calcio Storico may seem like a mix of football, rugby, and mma. Before each match the streets of the city are filled with passion and excitement, as parades are held with people marching and chanting in groups wearing their own color.

Each of the four teams, with their own colors, are subdivided into the four largest and most historic churches and important neighborhoods in Florence that compete every year for a championship. The teams are as follows…


Calcio Storico is an authentic Florentine sport, with its origins dating back to the late fifteenth century, and early inspirations from the game dating back to Ancient Rome. Florence is the only place in the world where this sport is played, making the experience even more special



  • In the early stages of the sport, Calcio Storico was commonly played amongst other celebrations during Carnival period, a month-long period usually during February and early March before the catholic holiday of Lent.
  • The celebration of Carnivale used to be heavily celebrated hundreds of years ago in Tuscany as a way of setting aside your individuality by wearing costumes and masks creating a sense of social unity. Despite its violent nature, Calcio Storico is played as a celebration of community.

The most important piece of history of the Calcio Storico sport, was the time when it was played in defiance of the Holy Roman Empire’s invasion in 1530. Three years prior, Florentines exiled the Medici family, the ruling class in Florence, and in an attempt to reestablish his political ally in the region, the imperial army of Charles V had besieged the city of Florence.

In a show of strength and unity, Florentines organized a match of Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa Croce, where it is currently being played, in an area that is easily visible from the neighboring hills where the imperial troops were. Although the city subsequently fell, this displayed the symbolic spirit of Florence.

If you are thinking of a holiday in Florence in the early summer, make sure to secure tickets while they are still available. Do not miss the chance to participate in this one-of-a-kind Florence experience!