Calcio Storico Fiorentino—Florence, Italy from The World’s Most Extreme Sports Competitions

The World’s Most Extreme Sports Competitions

Flickr / Nove foto da Firenze
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Calcio Storico Fiorentino—Florence, Italy

Think modern-day Italian soccer gets tempers flaring? Check out the no-holds-barred calcio fiorentino (or the Florentine kick game), a brutally violent sport which was first played during the 16th century and was later reintroduced (appropriately) in the 1930s by the Fascists. Taking place on a sand pit in the Piazza Santa Croce each June with teams representing the city’s four historic districts, the game is an update of the Roman sport of harpastum and a precursor to modern rugby and soccer. The rules are easy: Using your hands and feet, simply get a ball across a goal line. Then what makes this game so extreme? Players are invited to punch, elbow, head-butt, or even choke each other—everything’s allowed, in fact, except kicks to the head and sucker punches.