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Florence: Calcio Storico

June 24

Calcio Storico, a 500-year-old sport described as a cross between football (soccer), rugby, and boxing, dates back to the 1500s. Today, three games are held in June — two semifinals and a final match — to correspond with St. John’s Day, the Patron Saint of Florence. Four teams of 27 people, to represent the four districts of Florence, also represent the same four teams that competed when the sport was founded in the 1500s. Players compete in medieval garb and attack each other in what turns out to be a bloody game. The goal of the complex game is to seize the ball and put it in the net (which runs the entire width of the sand pitch) by whatever means possible. The winning team receives a pile of steaks equivalent to the weight of a white calf.

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June 24
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Piazza Santa Croce
Florence, Italy + Google Map