Question: the battle of neighbourhoods


I saw a documentary a while ago about a huge event in a city in Italy which I’d really love to witness. But… I forgot some details.

Basically, it was a contest between the four main parts of town (I THINK it was Florence) where the contestants have to bring a specific ball to a specific area. Basically, a four-team American Football match, only with more bruises and a higher dentist bill.

Does anyone know which event this is? When is it? And is it possible to witness it as a traveller? I’d love to go…


I think I may have watched the same documentary once on youtube, not sure if it was a documentary or just a small video. I can’t for the life of me remember the name but I remember a orange hue to the video.


I believe you are referring to Calcio Fiorentino, or Calcio Storico. Happens in June in the Piazza di Santa Croce with the final always being played on the 24th June, which coincides with the day of the city, the feast of San Giovanni, the city’s patron saint.

Short description: gladiators from the 4 historic districts of Florence playing football. It’s pretty brutal and violent. It’s the Renaissance-era version of ‘Fight Club’ (Florence’s Fight Club).

Long description:

Calcio 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 started in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. There 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.

This 5 minute video will give you the gist of it:

Dates for the semi-finals of Calcio Storico 2018 are not known yet. They’re drawn around Easter time, but usually one week earlier than the final which is on the 24th June.

Official site:


Yes! That’s the one.
Do you reckon it would be a possible scenario to go to Florence just for a few days around that time. Would there be anything available? Or should I book now to be able to visit in 2020?


June is one of the best months to visit Florence since it’s literally filled with events all over the city. Calcio Storico is one of the main events, even more so since it coincides with the feast of the city’s patron saint (official Florence’s Day).

If you want to buy tickets for Calcio Storico, I would advise to do so as soon as they become available, since they are limited and there’s high demand. As far as I know there are 2 zones: numbered seats (more costly) and standing room only. The day of the final is 24th June, while the exact days for the 2 semi-finals are announced around Easter time (usually they are one week earlier than the final).


That’s the exact youtube video I was talking about! Great to watch it again! Hopefully I could be there next june!


@Dan: Oh, I will have to buy tickets? LOL. I thought it was just in the streets, so I figured I’d climb in a tree or something :slight_smile:

I will definately need to do my homework!

What other events are there? I thought this thing was so big, there wouldn’t be anything else.


There are other demonstrative matches held in that period with free entrance, but for the final and semi-finals you will need to buy tickets in order to get anywhere near the “pitch” and see something. This is all held in a piazza, thus there aren’t tens of thousands of seats with perfect view of the pitch as would be in a real stadium scenario.


More matches? Really? I thought it was just the four neighbourhoods beating eachothers’ ass! I’ve got a lot to learn.


OK, this might be silly, but I am pretty sure I saw that website with English info too…but I cannot seem to find it anymore…


I see they published the 2018 Calcio Storico Semifinals dates: 9th & 10th June 2018. The final is on the 24th June as always. (only in Italian at the moment. Perhaps they had an English translation at some point…can’t really recall)


Now this seems interesting! It’s like a cross between rugby and war. Dan, have you ever been to see a match? Do spectators ever get hurt? I had no idea that such a sport existed.


Hmm, I will have to go for the 2019 edition then.

Maybe a silly question, but I assume they sell overcharged food in the venue like other sport events, so it is probably also not allowed to bring food in. Or drinks or water. How well is this checked? I usually manage to smuggle in the bare essentials (some water and some candybars)… will I get away with that there?


You will, no worries about that. They aren’t as strict as the usual regular sport events.