The origins of this game find their way back to the Renaissance period when noble man played. The matches are held in the main square in front of the Church of Santa Croce. In last centuries the Calcio in Costume took place during the Carnival in other place too: Piazza della Signoria or Santa Maria Novella but during solemn celebrations they played only in Santa Croce.
In 1739 Lorena’s family forbade Calcio in Costume untill 1930 when under fascim was elaborated a new tourist program. Since then, there is a great show with 550 citizens divided in noble and banner-bearer that represent their quarters which are also the names for four of the main Churchces in Florence: Santa Croce, San Giovanni, Santa Maria Novella and Santo Spirito. Every team has 27 players wearing clothes of the fifteenth century. The teams wear the colours of their quarters: blue for Santa Croce, green for San Giovanni, red for Santa Maria Novella and white for Santo Spirito. There are three matches in june – the victorious team wins a calf.
The Calcio in Costume matches are held in the centre of the square of which is covered in sand for the occasion. The game itselfs reminds us more of rugby, because many players are rugby players! The rules basically don’t exist: kicking, punching, shoulder charges, blocks and blows below the belt are all allowed in players attempts to get the ball and attempt a “caccia” or goal. When someone scores fireworks and shots are fired into the air. The atmosphere is particular and often players break their bones. Calcio in Costume is organized following the ancient tradition with a specific committee in Palagio di Parte Guelfa.