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      May 2011 > The 'real' European Cup

The 'real' European Cup

Apparently, there’s an important game of football at Wembley this weekend. Some team from Manchester and another for Barcelona. It’s not really my thing but I know many people around the world are besotted with this game. Now, if you want to see a real football match, the place to be is Florence this June.

Every year, this historic city plays host to the ‘Calcio Storico Fiorentino’, otherwise known as ‘Football in Costume’, and this year the tournament takes place on June 18 and 19 with the grand final on June 24, as part of the festivities to celebrate the patron saint of Florence, San Giovanni.
The game is played in teams from the different historic quarters of the city with 27 players in each team. It is a bit like football, though some say it’s more like rugby! The ‘Whites’ of Santo Spirito, the ‘Light Blues" of Santa Croce, the ‘Reds’ of Santa Maria Novella and the ‘Greens’ of San Giovanni compete in two preliminary games and then the final. According to tradition, who plays who in the first round is decided on Easter Day.

To witness this year’s noisy, colourful and sometimes bruising event, you need to be in Florence on Saturday 18 June to see the ‘Reds’ play the ‘Whites’; on Sunday 19 June to see the ‘Greens’ against the ‘Light Blues’, or, for the grand spectacle of the hotly contested final, on the Day of San Giovanni, Friday 24 June in Santa Croce. (Tickets can be bought in advance and cost around 10 euros.)

For something more peaceful, the patron saint of Florence is celebrated with a service in the Duomo on the morning, followed by an historical parade from the Piazza San Maria Novella to Santa Croce in time for the final of the Calcio Storico at 5.00pm. The winning team gets 'Bistecca fiorentina' - steaks to the weight of a white calf. To end the day, a massive fireworks display lights up the sky over Florence’s ancient rooftops.

You can be there by adding extra nights in Florence to a walk through the Tuscan Heartland, or by walking from Bologna to Florence for a delightful exploration of two great cities.

Beat that Wembley!

Posted: 27/05/2011 17:27:44 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: festivals, heritage, Italy, sport

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