European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

EFHA Focus: Calcio Storico at Pitti 88

2010scontemporary fashionmen's fashionpitti

A meeting of national tradition and fashion in Florence

In June 2015, the day before the official start of Pitti Uomo 88,  Florence’s streets saw 540 figurants marching through the city to reenact one of the city’s most interesting traditions: the ‘calcio storico’.

The Calcio Storico Fiorentino has its roots in the Renaissance and is a symbol of both the city and of Italian national identity. Traditionally played by the aristocrats wearing their house’s livery, “calcio storico” is a form of football that was popular in Italy during the 16th century, from which the current football game evolved. Appallingly violent, the match, which lasts 50 minutes, features two opponents teams composed by 27 men whose aim is to score a point, called “caccia”, into the opponent’s net.
The evening began with the Corteo Storico della Repubblica Fiorentina – the historic procession of the Florentine Republic with five hundred forty participants wearing Renaissance costume, reenacting the procession of 1530, when Florentines marched to bear witness to the freedom and pride of a city besieged by French troops. At the conclusion of their parade through the streets of the city’s historic center, the group made a triumphant entrance in Piazza Santa Croce.
A grand parade, where the historic costumes – some of which were original, while others meticulously reproduced – paraded as in a sort of ‘fashion show’.
This unique event was complemented with a special book-photo catalogue by famous Florentine photographer Aldo Fallai, who produced portraits of the members of the procession in their historic costumes, documenting the faces of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino.
“By immortalizing the faces of the Florence of the footballers and of the historic pageant, I wanted to portray the splendor and elegance of the clothes, the brocades and the velvets, and also the pride on the players’ faces – which are the same faces that I have seen in Renaissance paintings”.