• Sports

    Obscure Sporting: Florentine Football

    At the visceral sound of a small cannon, the sound ricocheting off of Florenceā€™s ancient structures, 27 players rush forward into the lurid brawl which is the sport of Florentine Football. Imagine a strange combination of handball, rugby, and hand-to-hand combat, in a sandy gladiator cage 80x40m, surrounded by jeering fans. This is the revived version of the 16th century Italian sport, calcio, which itself may be a revival of the antique Roman sport of harpastum.   In the Renaissance era, the brutal sport was limited to the most elite. Rich aristocrats played before Lent, and even Popes (Leo XI, Urban VIII) entered the game in the Vatican. The game…