June is one of the most fun months to find yourself in Florence, as there are the semi-final games for the Historic football matches, il Calcio Storico in Santa Croce square near the bed and breakfast Le Stanze di Santa Croce, with the final being played on June 24, on Florence’s patron saint’s feast day for St. John the Baptist.
What is Historic football, Calcio Storico? The Calcio Storico Fiorentino is a combination of soccer, rugby and big time wrestling originated in 16th century Florence and played today in historical costume. The four teams of the historical neighborhoods of the city play against each other, first in two semi-finals and then the final match to determine the winner.
Piazza Santa Croce has always been the home to this game, known as “giuoco del calcio fiorentino” or more simply just as Calcio (which means “kick” in Italian). The square is prepared to return to those times when it was just a dirt square (instead of stone) to recreate the setting. Of course, today bleachers set up so that spectators can better enjoy the game.
The prize for the winning team? A Chianina calf!!
The four teams are: Santa Croce (blue), Santo Spirito (white), Santa Maria Novella (red), and San Giovanni (green). Over a weeked, the two semifinals are played.In 2014, this will be June 14, when the “Whites” go against the “Blues” in Piazza Santa Croce at 5pm while the “Greens” challenge the “Reds” the following day, June 15. The final match is always played on June 24 in grand style on Florence’s feast day for its patron saint, St. John the Baptist. On this day, a splendid parade in historical costume starts in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and heads through the center on its way to Piazza Santa Croce. Each of the four districts is in the parade, you’ll see the players going by as they go to play the final, even those that won’t be playing the last match. The parade starts roughly around 4pm since the final should start around 5pm. Just head downtown, you’ll run into the fun! Don’t forget to end the day’s celebrations along the banks of the Arno to watch the spectacular fireworks display launched from Piazzale Michelangelo!