Calcio Storico Fiorentino - craziest sport ever?

Calcio Storico Match between Bianchi and Azzurri in Florence Italy, 30 June 2013. Taken from RTV38 TV Channel

Someone explain this sport? It's the most bizarre thing I've seen. I know practically nothing about it but there are teams of 27 and they seem to just fight each other and throw a ball into a net at each end of a field which is surrounded by concrete walls. Tons of bloody noses all around. It's like the modern day coliseum.


Matches last 50 minutes and are played on a field covered in sand, twice as long as it is wide. 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 with no substitutions. 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. 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 misses the opposing team is awarded with half acaccia. 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 receives a ChianinaCow.

they don't really need a ball for that