“Calcio Storico Fiorentino (also known as calcio storico “historic football”) is an early form of football that originated in 16th century Italy. Once widely played, the sport is thought to have originated in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. Here it became known as the giuoco del calcio fiorentino (“Florentine kick game”) or simply calcio; which is now also the name for association football in the Italian language. The game may have started as a revival of the Roman sport of harpastum.
Interest in Calcio waned in the early 17th century. However, in 1930 it was reorganized as a game in Kingdom of Italy, under Mussolini. Today, three matches are played each year in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence in the 3rd week of June. A team from each quartiere of the city is represented:
Santa Croce / Azzurri (Blues)
Santa Maria Novella / Rossi (Reds)
Santo Spirito / Bianchi (Whites)
San Giovanni / Verdi (Greens)
After playing each other in two opening games, the two overall winners go into the final which occurs each year on June 24; this is San Giovanni (St. John)’s Day, the Patron Saint of Florence. The modern version of calcio allows tactics such as head-butting, punching, elbowing, and choking but sucker punches and kicks to the head are banned. It is also prohibited for more than one player to attack an opponent. Any violation leads to being thrown out of the game.”