This obscure Italian sport inspired modern American football

Jan 08, 2023 388

BY: Daniel Stone

Even though you’ve probably never heard of calcio storico, the chances are nearly 100 percent that you’ve played some version of it. The Italian sport created during the Italian Renaissance is the original goal game, where two teams fight on a field to defend their side and invade their opponent’s goal. Soccer, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, and American football are all iterations on the same theme.

With calcio storico, however, the fighting is real. And not a byproduct of the game, as with hockey or football, but the main sport itself. “It’s why people come,” says Carla Vannucci, an Italian photographer who grew up watching matches, and then, about three years ago, decided to photograph them.

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