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Calcio Storico – The Most Brutal Sport In The World

Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty




Calcio Storico – The most brutal sport in the world, can be translated from old Italian as “historic football” and it is still played today, as surprising as this may seem.

This ancient form of football, dating back from the 16th century, originated from the ancient roman “harpastum”, and it is played between two teams of 27 players each. Calcio Storico is the most brutal sport on Earth, and although sucker-punching or kicking the opponent’s head is not allowed, you are still able to headbutt, punch, elbow and choke your adversary.

All Calcio Storico players dress in traditional uniforms and march around the city before the match, that will be supervised by six linesmen, an off-field judge and a referee. During the game, the referee is referred to as master.

Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The rules of Calcio Storico, the most brutal sport in the world, were written in 1580 by Giovanni de Bardi from Florence. As written in the rules, a Calcio Storico match starts after the cannon fire signals and lasts for 50 minutes without interruption.

Even if players get injured in this brutal sport played on sand, the match will not stop and no substitutions are allowed. Players can receive medical attention from outside the field, during the game.

Calcio Storico is played in order to score more goals than the other team, the final score determining the winner. Goals can be scored by throwing the ball over narrow slits at each end, and almost everything is permitted in order to win the game.

Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Besides sucker-punching your opponent, kicking them in the head and fighting a player with one or more teammates, martial arts and street fighting techniques are allowed and highly appreciated by the audience. The winners of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino final (in Florence, Italy, where Calcio Storico is still played), receive a Chianina cow, one of the oldest breeds still in existence.

Calcio Storico is so brutal, that Henry III of France, while visiting Venice in 1574, called it “too small to be a real war and too cruel to be a game”.

Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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Written by T.B.V.

Passionate Explorer and Co-Founder @Gipsy_Ninja & @PencilNex. Life's short, go out with a bang!