The Calcio Storico in Florence: agonistic ritual and the space of civic order - Italy

Frost, Christian W. (2018) The Calcio Storico in Florence: agonistic ritual and the space of civic order - Italy. In: Architecture, festival and the city. Critiques: Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities, 14 . Routledge, Abingdon, Oxford, UK, pp. 97-112. ISBN 9781138362338


This chapter uses the emergence, evolution, and persistence of the Calcio Storico football match in Florence as a means to discuss the manifestation of festive order in relation to historic architectural settings. Although this particular competition emerged alongside the retreat of feudal and communal power in the thirteenth century, it continues to be fought between the historic districts of the city and because it continues reveal the conflict, violence, and disorder that often exists at the heart of democratic, agonistic institutions, and it retains some relevance to contemporary Florentine civic life.

Over time the game has often been adapted and co-opted to reflect the representational requirements necessary for the ruling order but in this process of change many aspects of the game have remained resistant to political manipulation. Consequently, the fact that an event such as the Calcio Storico still retains much of its original iconography is an important reference point for understanding both the idea of festival in Florence as well as, more broadly, the relationships that can exist between festival, architecture, and civic order.

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