OK – so the RSG spits up some really odd sports from time to time – but this is the oddest
Calcio Fiorentino is a mixture of what seems to be MMA and Rugby Italian Style, while dressed in what appear to be medieval pantaloons and either shirtless or a T-shirt.
I have watched about a quarter hour of this game and I can’t see any apparent rules other than you get a point for throwing the ball into the opponents goal – and that doesn’t happen a lot. There are referees of some form though and the commentary seems to get inscenced – they even manage to throw in a Mama Mia at one stage.
Here is the 2015 final – so I guess this is the top of the tree as far as this goes – enjoy. (The commentary is in Italian, but I don’t think you lose the spirit of the game)
The rules do exist for those of you that want to be sure there are no infringements that go unnoticed, and here they are:
Matches last 50 minutes and are played on a field covered in sand, twice as long as it is wide ( approximately 80×40 meters ). A white line divides the field into two identical squares, and a goal net runs the width of each end. Each team has 27 players and no substitutions are allowed for injured or expelled players. The teams are made up of four Datori indietro (goalkeepers), 3 Datori innanzi (fullbacks), 5 Sconciatori (halfbacks), 15 Innanzi o Corridori (forwards). The Captain and Standard Bearer’s tent sits at the center of the goal net. They do not actively participate in the game, but can organize their teams and sometimes act as referees, mainly to calm down their players or to stop fights.
The Referee and his six linesmen referee the match in collaboration with the Judge Commissioner, who remains off the field. The referee, above everyone else, is the Master of the Field. He makes sure the games runs smoothly, stepping into the field only to maintain discipline and reestablish order in case of a fight on the field.
The game starts when the Pallaio throws the ball towards the center line, followed by a small cannon firing; the shot announces the beginning of the contest.
From this moment on, the players try by any means necessary to get the ball into the opponents’ goal also called caccia. The teams change sides with every caccia scored. It’s important to shoot with precision, because every time a player throws the ball above the net, the opposing team is awarded with half a caccia. The game ends after 50 minutes and the team which scored the most cacce wins.
The prize is also interesting, because along with the Palio, the winning team used to receive a Chianina, a type of cow. However, the prize has been reduced to a free dinner for the winning team; the players earn no other compensation.