Many cities in Europe have their own Patron Saint whom they commemorate each year with festive celebrations, parades, fireworks, traditional food, and cultural events. Florence's Patron Saint is Saint John the Baptist and each year, the whole city crowds downtown to watch the annual parade. This is also the day of Calcio Storico, a traditional game that combines soccer, rugby, and wrestling. Fought between the four quarters of Florence, the final game is traditionally played at the Feast of St. John. Men wearing traditional garb compete for the title in a highly physical match. We must warn you that this game can get gruesome, though it is thoroughly entertaining, unique, and a part of Florence's history. After the match, the whole city gathers to watch the fireworks at night as they celebrate late into the evening. If you happen to be in town during this annual event, don't hesitate to participate in the festivities!
* For more information about Calcio Storico, check out this website.
*The parade generally starts around 4pm and the game begins at 5pm (though these times may vary slightly from year to year). We recommend simply heading towards Piazza Santa Croce in the afternoon and you will undoubtedly cross paths with the celebrations.
* Tickets to Calcio Storico can be bought on the day of the game though, we recommend that you buy them ahead of time here. Prices vary from 20-55 euros.
* You may also hear locals referring to this day as La Festa di San Giovanni. 'Giovanni' the Italian equivalent of 'John'.
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