Also known as Calcio Fiorentino, the bone-crunching game of Calcio Storico (historic football) is played only in Florence in the month of June and only by four teams representing the four quarters of the city.
The game dates from the 15th century and was originally played by aristocrats, and even, on occasion, by the reigning Pope. Its inherent violence was borne of the violent times. Family rivalries in medieval Florence (home of the infamous Medicis) would often explode into chaos.
The modern day competition – two semi-finals, followed by the final – is held on the sand-covered piazza (square) of the 14th century Santa Croce church.
The rules are simple. For fifty minutes after the firing of a cannon, two teams of twenty-seven men try to get a ball over a 4ft (1.2m) fence at either end of the pitch and thus score a goal (caccia): miss, and the opposition is awarded half a caccia.
Players can use both hands and feet to pass the ball and are allowed to immobilise their opponents with wrestling manoeuvres – or in almost any other way they see fit. Blood inevitably gets spilled. Tempers get lost. Yet dignity and respect are somehow retained.
The winning team does not raise a vast silver trophy but is instead presented with a prize cow.
The Calcio Storico is just one of the revealing, unusual, thrilling opportunities that the world offers to you if you are willing to explore a little further, go round a different corner, go left when you usually go right. Canon invite you to discover and capture them with still or moving images. Come and see.