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 originated in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. Here it became known as the giuoco del calcio fiorentino (“Florentine kick game”) or simply calcio; which is now also the name for football in the Italian language. The game may have started as a revival of the Roman sport of harpastum.
The games were known to get violent. The game was probably played already in the 15th century. In 1490 some matches were organized on the frozen Arno river. In 1530, Florence held a match in defiance of the imperial troops sent by Charles V, while the city was under siege.
The game is played on a field of sand with a narrow slit constituting the goal, running the width of each end. Each teams comprises 27 players who are allowed to use both feet and hands to pass and control the ball. Goals are scored by throwing the ball over into the netting at the end of the field. Each match lasts 50 minutes.