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The Calcio Storico Fiorentino in Florence

NEWS: The FINAL MATCH will be EARLY, on Saturday, June 15, 2024!

June is one of the best months to find yourself in Florence, as it can be a lot of fun to watch the semi-final games for the Calcio Storico or the final match played on June 24, on Florence's patron saint's feast day for St. John the Baptist. For those that can't see it in person, the viewing rights have been given to an international network so that the match can be viewed across the world. Details further down this page...

What is 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.

The four teams are: Santa Croce (Azzurri, or Blues), Santo Spirito (Bianchi, or Whites), Santa Maria Novella (Rossi, or Reds), and San Giovanni (Verdi, or Greens).

Piazza Santa Croce, located directly in front of the church 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 covered in dirt to "return" to those times when it was just a dirt square (today it is covered in stone) and recreate the setting. Of course, today bleachers are also set up so that spectators can better enjoy the game.

The official rules of the Calcio Storico were first published in 1580 by Giovanni de’ Bardi, a Florentine count. Invented by rich aristocreats, Calcio was originally just played by just the higher social class and took place every night between Epiphany and Lent. Just like Roman harpastum, it was played in teams of 27 and both feet and hands were used. Goals can be scored by throwing the ball over a designated spot on the perimeter of the field with another goal running the width of the short ends. There is a main referee, six linesmen and a field master. Each game is played out for 50 minutes with the winner being the team with the most points or “cacce” scored.

Want to know what the game means for a "calciante" or Calcio player? Read my interview of Fabrizio Vallero, a "calciante" for the Bianchi of Santo Spirito to find out.

The prize for the winning team? A Chianina calf!!

Who plays who for the semi-finals? The teams are decided on Easter Sunday by drawing painted balls, see photo below.

The Dates

Over a weekend in early June, the two semifinals are played between the four teams. The two winners will then play against each other in the final match, which is always played on June 24th in grand style on Florence’s feast day for its patron saint, St. John the Baptist. On the days of the semi-finals and on the final match, 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. For the semifinals, the parade starts roughly around 4.45pm, arrival in Piazza Santa Croce around 6pm and the game should start around 7pm while for the final game the times for the parade are an hour earlier for everything, with final game starting at 6pm. Just head downtown, you’ll run into the fun! The parade divides in half in Piazza Strozzi: part of it heads to the bank of the Arno river, then heads towards Ponte Vecchio and on to Piazza della Signoria passing under the Uffizi museum. The other part heads straight to Piazza della Repubblica before also heading to Piazza della Signoria. Both continue from there to Piazza Santa Croce, passing by Palazzo Vecchio and Via de' Neri.

The day of June 24th ends with a spectacular fireworks show launched from Piazzale Michelangelo that can be watched along the Arno's banks.

Calcio Storico Fiorentino 2024

On Easter Sunday during the Scoppio del Carro event, the draw for Calcio Storico was held to decide who plays against whom on the semi-final dates. For this 2024, we have bad news: because Florence is having elections for mayor in June, the date of Monday, June 24 overlaps with possible run-off elections and therefore the calendar has been adapted to have the final played early: the final match is scheduled on Saturday, June 15 and not on the usual June 24 on the city's feast day! :(

The dates of the semi-final matches also reflect the change for this year and will be played on June 1 and 2.

The Azzurri of Santa Croce will play against the Verdi of San Giovanni on Saturday, and then the Bianchi of Santo Spirito will play against the Rossi of Santa Maria Novella on Sunday.


This year, tickets for the semi-finals will go on sale online on May 23, 2024. Check out our blog post for details.

As for the final match, it is likely that tickets will be sold right after the semi-finals so stay tuned for more details!

Cost of tickets: This is what has been the cost for the past few years, if they change for this year I will come back and update them as soon as I find out.
€ 50,00 Tribune "C" (this area is in the sun, general seats)
€ 29,00 for the "Curve", these are the ends, one for each team (general seats, not numbered)

The Tribune "A" area will be completely dedicated to host the participating members of the historical society Corteo della Repubblica Fiorentina. No seats from this area will be sold to the general public. See map below that shows the areas.

Watch on internet or TV

The information for this section is also based on last year's info --- likely to remain the same or similar, but it will be updated with definite links and info once it is confirmed.

Generally, anyone can get a front row seat to the Calcio Storico games by watching online (pay-per-view) or on TV (locally generally on Toscana TV, channel 11 and Firenze TV on channel 80; replicas are given that same night at 9pm and 11pm, respectively) but the rights for local and international shows will be on DAZN (paid streaming, here are the links for the semi-final games on Saturday and Sunday). While watching online or on TV isn't the same thing as being at the game in person, you can enjoy Calcio Storico Fiorentino from the comfort of your own home if you can't make it to Florence this June.

Last update: May 21, 2024

Author: Lourdes Flores

I'm from California but have called Florence my home for over a decade. I love to explore Italy; it is a lot of fun to try to see everything like I'm seeing it for the first time, keeping you, our readers, always in mind. I enjoy sharing what I know and helping others as they make their travel plans for Tuscany through our Forum. If you have itinerary-related questions, please post them there!


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