text and photos by
Sandro Pintus

Right on time as usual the Historic Florentine Football Game
A mixture of rugby, football and wrestling that fascinates both Florentines and tourists.

A procession of extras dressed in period costume, with a following of football fans from the four historic city quarters, makes its way through the city centre before the start of the game.
The procession proceeds in an orderly way onto the field, entering between the rows of tourists and Florentines to the sound of trumpets and drums, and lines up in front of the Signoria, who is today represented by some important guest in the city, saluting him; the competing teams are then presented to the public.

View of the field in Piazza S.Croce
The game starts after the procession has left the field. The teams, formed of 27 players on either side, face each other for 50 long and very intense minutes when almost anything is allowed, so that plain blows quite often degenerate into violent fights and brawls. Quite often the Judge and Referee, with the help of his six linesmen, finds it extremely difficult to keep the game under control, while the Master of the Field only intervenes when there are real fights.

A scene during a match between the
Red and White teams
The players have to pass the barrier of the opposing team and try to get the ball into the adversary's net which takes up the entire width of the field. The ball must be carefully aimed because, if a mistake or deviation is made, the opposing team wins the point. Each point corrisponds to half a "caccia" and the teams change ends after every two half "cacce". When a "caccia" is scored, the joy of the football fans can be seen and heard all around the field, thanks to exploding fire-crackers and smoke bombs of the same colour as the favoured team.

The Blue teams scoring a "caccia"
Naturally the winning team is the one that scores the highest number of "cacce" and the prize consists in steaks equivalent to the value of a white calf, which was once slaughtered then and there, but is only symbolic today. The prize is served up accompanied by good red Chianti wine. See also: The Historic Florentine Football Game:Its origins

FAN-Florence ART News
Silvia Messeri & Sandro Pintus

Web development Mega Review Srl - © 2005