More like the modern version of gladiator matches minus the weapons, Calcio Florentino in Florence is probably one of the manliest and most physical sports ever. A sport that dates back to the 16th century and is a mix of football, rugby and yes, wrestling, Calcio Florentino gives you a visual feast of half-naked men in odd-looking uniforms all eager and fighting hard (in the truest sense of the words) to get the ball into the net and make a score.
The game is played by 27 players each on a team at a sand pit with two goals at both ends. The players battle it out in the field for 50 minutes straight – no breaks or timeouts – and try to make a score however they please – kicking the ball, carrying the ball, or even throwing the ball and clawing or knocking each other out just to score a goal. There are eight referees on the field to make sure the game doesn’t get too rowdy.
Because of the interestingly unique nature of the game plus the fact that it has no rules at all, Calcio Florentino draws loads of tourists and enthusiasts from various places. This annual event takes place at the Piazza St Croce, and the game is open to anyone curious, eager, and brave enough to watch.
Have you ever watched Calcio Fiorentino? How was your experience like?