The colourful parade of the Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.

- Image ID: AGD8T9
The colourful parade of the Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.
Peter Chadwick / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: AGD8T9
Calcio Storico Fiorentino Historical football This event takes place over a three week period in June in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence Italy More gladiatorial than sporting the precursor of the beautiful game in Italy was a ruthless brawl designed to keep soldiers fit in between battles The tradition began in the 15th century although its earliest origins may have been in Roman times and was revived in the 1930s Nowadays three matches are played in Piazza Santa Croce by teams drawn from Florence s four major neighbourhoods Santo Spirito Santa Croce San Giovanni and Santa Maria Novella the 27 men on each team each wearing the representative colours of the district White Bianchi Green Verdi Red Rossi and blue Azzuri A parade arrives headed by the district nobles on horseback Each game begins to cries of Viva Firenze and continues for a full hour of continuous struggling and scuffling among players dressed in 15th century costumes before the magnificent Franciscan church of Santa Croce The ball is in there somewhere