Calcio Storico – the most unusual Italian football match!

Here are some great shots from a match of Calcio Storico, a historic game that takes place each year in Piazza Santa Croce.

It is in great contrast to the usual things people immagine when thinking of Florence – rather than cobbled laneways, the world’s best museums, the Ponte Vecchio and other stunning must-see sights of Florence, Calcio Storico sees the toughest of Florentine men in a sand-filled Santa Croce piazza, to play a tought and at times violent game of football – all whilst clad in medieval garters and pantaloons!

The game is said to originate from an ancient Roman ball sport, which became the sport of princes and noblemen in the golden age of the Tuscan capital. Today it is fiercely fought between the four Florentine quarters: San Giovanni, Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito and Santa Croce.

Players often seem more preoccupied with attacking each other than actually putting the ball anywhere, though the rules of the game are fairly complex. The aim is to seize the ball and put it in the net (which runs the entire width of the pitch) by whatever means available. Players are allowed to hit one another, kick, and bite, whatever they please! It’s a very bloody game!

It is certainly one of the most traditional and entertaining things you will ever see in Florence!

To hear more about Italian traditions and the fascinating history  of Florence, we have the Original Florence Walk tour – a small-group tour led by an excellent English-speaking tour guide.

We also have the Original Evening Walk, exploring the charming Oltrarno quarter – a great way to get a better understanding of Italy and enjoy great local wine!

Our Original Florence Walk is part of our Florence tours discounted package, Florence in One Glorious Day (or 2), also including The Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery Tour, and our skip-the-line Accademia visit –The Original David Tour.

For more information on our top tours in Italy, see or email

Photos by our good friend

You may also like


  1. Keep up the great work, I read few articles on this site and your blog is interesting and holds circles of wonderful info.