Florence Free Tour

Calcio storico fiorentino, often referred to as calcio in livrea or calcio in costume, is an ancient football variant that has its roots in medieval Italy.[1] The sport is said to have originated in Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce. There it was called the giuoco del calcio fiorentino (“Florentine kick game”) or just calcio, which is currently the Italian term for association football. It’s possible that the game originated as a harpastum resurgence, a Roman pastime.

Renaissance era

A game of historic fiorentino calcio played in Florence, Italy’s Piazza Santa Croce

Rich nobility were the only ones allowed to play chess; it was played every evening from Epiphany until Lent. In Vatican City, even popes Clement VII, Leo XI, and Urban VIII participated in the game. Teams competing to score goals might lead to violent games. It is quite probable that calcio storico fiorentino was also played in the fifteenth century since in 1490 a match was held on the Arno River on a day so cold that the waters froze over.

Another historic event occurred on February 17, 1530, when the city of Florence staged a match against the imperial forces sent by Charles V when the city was under siege. Only noblemen, lords, princes, and notable troops participated in the “noble game” at Piazza Santa Croce.

Giovanni de’ Bardi wrote down the game’s rules for the first time in the late 16th century.