Calcio Storico is arguably the most violent port on earth. The game incorporates elements of various violent sports. In Calico Storico, you will see a bit of soccer, rugby, wrestling, American football, boxing and MMA. Some Greco Roman wrestling can be seen too in the sport that takes place once a year in Italy. The town of Florence is credited with the game which locals have participated in for over 600 years now. It is believed that Calcio Storico began as a form of ancient football, but lost its brains and took a liking to brawl somewhere in its evolutionary path.
The players in Calcio Storico use their feet or hands to control the ball in the game and score goals. The field is a large sand pit that is narrow in its width since the whole width is the goal. In the game that lasts 50 minutes, players are allowed to kick, punch, elbow, and use all martial arts techniques except kicks to the head or fights of more than one player against a single player. There are six linesmen, a referee and a field master.
A twist in the extremely violent game is that there are rules in it. The game was originally played by the rich and naturally, they had to have some rules to bring a semblance of order, albeit it is more likely that the rules were to deceive those who would have opposed a game without rules. The rules were written by a count from Florence called Giovanni de Bardi around the 1580s.
Modern day Calcio Storico is held every third week of June in the centre of Florence at the Santa Croce square. Four teams of 27 players drawn from the main neighbourhoods of Florence face each other in semi-finals and the winners face each other in the finals. The winner is usually honoured with a cow.
Fear and basic survival instinct is what keeps the players going for the 50 minutes of the game, knowing that there are 27 men out there who want to maim or kill you. As one player puts it, in Calcio Storico, you go in knowing how you are, but you never know how you will come out.