|The parade and entertainment before the game|
Sunday we watched a sport that puts WWF wrestling, arena football and demolition derby in the "fit for preschoolers" category. Calcio Storico Fiorentino. Each year in Florence, just before the June 24 St. John the Baptist holiday, the four neighborhoods with cathedrals get together for no-holds-barred "football" in the piazza of the Santa Croce basilica. Saturday, the Whites from Santo Spirito beat the Blues from Santa Croce. Tonight we had tickets in the Green section, rooting for San Giovanni Baptistery against the Reds of Santa Maria Novella.
|Big, mean Green machine|
|Enthusiastic Green fans|
|Simon said, in English|
We watched San Giovanni (the Greens) lose to Santa Maria Novella (the Reds), who now will go to the finals against Santo Spirito (the Whites) who beat Santa Croce (the Blues) the night before. Simon, an English-speaking student sitting next to us, explained the rules. Which really can't be explained unless you are Florentine. Basically, no murder. If you kick someone in the head -- while they are down -- or rabbit punch from the back, you are expelled.
The basic strategy is to send out a line of big, tough, tattooed guys for the first 20 minutes and try to knock out the strongest competitors. Then the teams run the round ball while trying to not-quite kill each other. Put the ball in a stadium-wide net and you get a point. Go over and the other team gets half a point.
|It's just a game. Or a brawl, or maybe a war|
|We were in the stands|
The Greens were upset for a few minutes, but then reverted back to the 1530 attitude. The all walked toward the Green fan section pumping their arms and saying something that needed no translation:
(There was so much to see that I created a special Flickr album of photos of the game.)