Calcio Fiorentino returns to Piazza Santa Croce on February 17 with a historical re-enactment of the famous Siege Match. A must-see show for anyone in Florence on the weekend of February 16-17 to get you through the long hiatus until the next match. In fact, fans must wait until June 24 to see another game of Calcio Fiorentino at the San Giovanni Tournament final held on the anniversary of San Giovanni, patron saint of Florence. So seize your opportunity while you can!
The Siege Match remembers Florence’s 1530 challenge to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who had been besieging the city for months. The Florentine population, moved by patriotic pride, improvised a football match to taunt the emperor and his army.
As per tradition, the match is held in Piazza Santa Croce at 3:45 pm, where the two historic football teams of 27 players will compete in a game that is less like modern calcio (football) and more like a no holds barred rugby/fight on a clay court in front of the cathedral.
The show actually starts at 2.30 pm, with the departure of the costume parade from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa. At 3:00 pm it reaches the church of Santa Croce where the blessing of the teams is held, then at 3:30 pm the procession enters the square accompanied by flag throwers. Finally, the game begins at 3:45 pm and ends at 4:35 pm with the historical procession resuming the parade back towards the Palagio di Parte Guelfa.