Florence is famous for its beautiful churches and Renaissance art masterpieces, but the city is also home to the most brutal sport form of soccer. Calcio Storico is an early form of Italian football that originated in the 16th century where headbutting, punching, elbowing, and choking are allowed - but sucker punches and kicks to the head are banned.
Each team comprises 27 players and a match is 50 minutes without interruption - even if players receive injuries and are stretchered off the pitch. No substitutions are permitted.
Matches are held every year on Piazza Santa Croce in Florence in the third week of June, with a team from each quarter of the city: Santa Croce / Azzurri (Blues), Santa Maria Novella / Rossi (Reds), Santo Spirito / Bianchi (Whites) and San Giovanni / Verdi (Greens). After playing each other in two opening games, the two winners go into the final which occurs each year on 24 June, which is the feast day of San Giovanni (St John), the Patron Saint of Florence.
IBTimesUK presents photos from this year's final match, between Bianchi (Whites) and Azzurri (Blues). Bianchi won.