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Calcio Storico (“Historic Football”), The Most Violent Sport

Calcio Storico fight

What is the most violent sport currently being played? No, it’s not American football, or even Rugby. It’s Calcio Storico! Now, you’re probably thinking “what the hell is that?” Well, it’s an Italian relic and arguably the most manly sports you could ever take part in.

Also known as Calcio Fiorentino, Calcio Storico is a kind of football that began in Italy in the 16th century. Thought to have begun in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, the sport was played widely in the old days. It was known as ‘Florentine kick game’ (Del Calcio Fiorentino) or just Calcio, meaning football in Italian.

The game is played by two opposing teams on a field of sand, with narrow slits running the width of each end acting as the goal. Each team normally has 27 players — the stronger and manlier the merrier — who are allowed to use both their hands and feet to pass and control the ball. Goals are scored by throwing the ball over into the netting at the end of the field, with the winning team being the one with the most goals scored. A match lasts 50 minutes.

Although interest in Calcio Storico dropped in the early 17th century, it was re-organized and revived in 1930. Today, contests are held in Florence every 3rd week of June, with Teams from every part of the city represented. Elbowing, punching and head butting are allowed, but head kicks and sucker punches are not. Moreover, only one player is allowed to attack a fellow male opponent at any given time. A player that violates these rules is kicked out of the game.

Here is an interesting fact: Despite its testosterone-laden and violent nature, Popes Leo XI, Clement VII and even Urban VIII were known to have played the game in the city of the Vatican. Now those there are manly some popes.

Now that you know a bit about Calcio Storico, what do you think about? Is it worthy of the titles “the world’s most violent sport” and “the world’s most manly sport?” Share your thoughts.

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