I decided to open my cabinet of curiosities and give you some tips and information in case you ever want to visit Florence, my beautiful city. I'll give you some of the hidden details of my fascinating town and introduce you to my favorite places, my family traditions and a lot of things you'll never find in the tourist guides. My recipe for a perfect visit comes with a pinch of history, a dash of culture, and a drizzle of tradition. Are you ready for an art- tradition- gastronomic tour?
Today we'll jump back to the 16th century, to the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce and the ‘Calcio in Costume’ - The Florentine Historical Football Game!
Every year, since early 1500s, the most violent early form of football is played. It all begins with a parade of Flag Throwers walking into the old town to the sound of ancient drums. The ball is made from strips of leather and the goal is called ‘caccia.’ There are four (4) teams, because the town was divided in four parts: Santa Croce / Azzurri (Blues), Santa Maria Novella / Rossi (Reds), Santo Spirito / Bianchi (Whites), and my favorites - San Giovanni / Verdi (Greens).
In the beginning, historical football was a game for aristocrats, and there is still a costume parade with the Florentine nobles. You'll see counts, marquises and dukes, walking the streets in armor and ancient costumes.
It's such a beautiful experience, a living history.
I have a family coincidence to the ‘calcio storico.’ My father was the captain of the Greens aristocratic parade (I can remember him dressed up in such funny clothes!). He was the first Count of ancient Scottish origins to be admitted in a very very exclusive Florentine parade. Well, it just so happens that I recently found out that my boyfriend’s father was the captain of the same football team, the Greens…and was a hell of a player! I found this out last week when I was tidying up the cellar of boyfriends’ father and found some old pics of Calcio Storico. In three of the old photos I saw someone very familiar: my father dressed up like a knight! I got goose bumps holding the pics! I loved him so much and after 15 years from his death I still miss him terribly. This incredible coincidence could only be a sign of destiny.
If you want to see more photos, here is a link (I'm proud to tell you that the photographer is my boyfriend)