12/14/2012 09:03 am ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Modern Gladiators - Calcio Storico Fiorentino

Modern Gladiators - Calcio Storico Fiorentino
Image © Stefano Pogliani

Every year in June and July, amidst the traditional ceremonies, parades and authentic colorful costumes, 'Calcio Storico Fiorentino' - the sporting event originally traced back over 500 years ago in Florence - is held. Four teams rule the show - bianchi, verdi, rossi and azzurri - each with 27 combatants, battling to reign champion. Re-visiting a time where competitive sports drew blood and broken bones, the spectacle fuses a mix, of rugby, football, boxing, mixed martial arts and Greco-Roman wrestling into an 'everything goes' type match.
The contest is held in a giant sand pit playing field, with the goal running the width of each end, the aim being to score a point without getting pummeled by the opponent. After 50 minutes of continuous play, the match ends, with the winning team receiving massive steaks equivalentin weight to that of a white calf.

Video Courtesy David battistella

Image © Stefano Pogliani

Image © Stefano Pogliani

See more images in the original designboom article here.

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