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    Once A Year The Residents Of Florence Play The Most Violent Sport On Earth

    This fabulous film by David Battistella looks at Calcio fiorentino, an 18th Century version of football. The sport includes elements of rugby, American football and smacking each other really hard in the face.

    Teams of 27 play on the sandy pitch. They can use hands and feet to control the ball and score by throwing it into netting at the end of the field.

    So it has quite a bit in common with rugby or American football, including these tackles.

    Although it's a bit more violent.

    A lot more violent, in fact.

    There's a lot of this.

    And quite a bit of this.

    It's a game with a long history. This illustration dates back to 1688.

    en.wikipedia.org

    It was reserved for rich aristocrats who played every night between Epiphany and Lent. Even POPES used to get involved. According to Wikipedia Henry III described it as "Too small to be a real war and too cruel to be a game."

    But this modern version wasn't organised until 1930.

    David describes it as the "most exciting sporting event I have ever witnessed live". Watch the full video:

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