Here’s a sport that’s low on rules, high on brutality. It’s called calcio storico fiorentino or “Florentine soccer.” The sport has ancient origins. The Ancient Greeks played a similar game, which was adopted by the Roman army for use as a warrior training exercise. There is substantial evidence of the sport being played in Florence, Italy from the 5th century on, but the modern game has been played since May 4, 1930. The rules are simple. Matches last 50 minutes and are played on a sandy field. The field is divided into two squares, with a net running the width of each end, almost like an endzone in American football. Each team has 27 players. There are a number of observers both on and off the playing field who can referee and step in to return order to the game. The ball is thrown out to the center line, and a cannon goes off, marking the start of play. From this point on, both teams try to advance the ball and get it into the other team’s goal. They can use any method they wish to accomplish this goal.
As you’ll see in this video, this sport really is a no-holds-barred slugfest. You’ve got play that looks a bit like rugby, but with random team members from both sides beating the snot out of each other all over the field. It kind of reminds me of a game we used to play for conditioning on the wrestling team back in the day. I forget what it was called, but we would basically try to advance a ball and throw it into a goal, and your opponents would try to wrestle the ball away from you. That sport was a lot of fun, but we weren’t using MMA-style punches and kicks on each other either. This Florentine Soccer is some wild stuff. If it ever made it’s way to the States, you can bet it would build a cult following rather quickly. Check it out below. Enjoy and ‘Share’.