Calcio Storico Fiorentino a violent history lesson of Florence’s once gloried past

Calcio Storico Fiorentino started 500 years ago to show Emperor Charles V of Spain they weren't afraid of his invading army.

It’s the opening game of the 2015 Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a Florence tradition that dates back 500 years, back during the Italian Renaissance, when Florence was the biggest economic power in Italy, when art was its monetary unit and artists were its heroes. Yes, Florence. When you think of Florence, you think of the birthplace of the Renaissance, of Michelangelo masterpieces in the Uffizi, of the Ponte Vecchio straddling the Arno River at sunset. But hidden underneath the art, Chianti and romance is a sport that is all about blood, guts and a lot of glory. Calcio Storico Fiorentino combines rugby, soccer and violent assault. For nearly five centuries, Florenceā€™s four major neighborhoods have gathered for one weekend in June and, literally, fight for a city they will risk facial rearrangement to defend.
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