There’s a sudden rush of interest in a game that’s been played for centuries in Florence, Italy: calcio storico. Sam Borden makes it a photo-filled splash story for the New York Times:
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FLORENCE, Italy — Last Tuesday, about 24 hours before he jammed his fingers into another man’s nose, dropped his elbow across another man’s neck and put another man’s feet where one’s ears are supposed to be, Rodrigue Nana considered, just for a moment, the basic notion of fear.
“Do you want to know what I am afraid of?” he said, his fingers tracing the meaty scar above his left eyebrow. Nana, a Cameroon-born transplant to Italy, leaned forward, as if to share a secret. “I am afraid of showering.”
He did not laugh. Neither did any of his teammates sitting nearby. This was not a time for joking; Nana and the rest of his team were about to begin their last training session before last Wednesday’s final match of calcio storico, a centuries-old competition that features very few rules and the sort of human wreckage generally associated with the days of the gladiators.