You think rugby is tough? Meet the real football.

The real football, near our Tuscan villa rentals in Chianti

In the historical centre of of Florence in June every year, in the square in front of Santa Croce, there’s a sporting competition like no other on the planet. Forget football, soccer, or rugby. Meet Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a game that dates back to the Romans, but was renamed ‘calcio’ by the Florentines, which means ‘kick’. I don’t think they were talking about kicking the ball.

It’s a cross between football, rugby, wrestling, kick-boxing, and street-fighting. There are no penalties for diving. Lose your front teeth, and no one will stop the game. These guys play with broken ribs rather than finish the game early. There are no fat salaries. These men are passionate, hard, and probably a bit nuts. The game doesn’t even stop while the wounded are stretchered-off.

Here’s a great video about the event:

If you’re in Florence in June, it’s well worth watching (if you have the stomach for it). You can buy tickets online, and after the final on the 24th June there’s a big fireworks display.

Not for children, or for the faint-hearted. Extreme sports? Pah. Kids don’t know the half of it.

If you’d like more insider-tips, suggestions, and advice on what to do when you come on vacation in Tuscany, please follow me. Trust me – I’m a local!

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