Did you know...
Soccer in Italy is the national pastime. On Sunday all eyes are on the television and if you are I town during a World Cup or the final you can forget about going anywhere or doing anything that doesn't involve calcio! The modern soccer as it's known to the rest of the world was originated in Britain with another version from Italy. The Harpastum was a game Julius Caesar had his troops play. One ball would be thrown out to five hundred men who would then fight over it. The last one standing was declared the winner. In the Renaissance, the Florentine's had their version. Every year, Florence relives these glory days in June with the "Calcio Storico" which is a wooden ball and the players dressed in the period costumes battle in a mud-filled field.
Soccer is the most physical sport in the world. Two teams of 11 people are in constant motion using every part of their body except their hands. There is rarely a time out, no downs, or innings. The game is two 45 minute periods, with nonstop action. Soccer is a very simple game and every Italian can play without expensive equipment in the poorer neighborhoods - in fact, from the yards and street have come the heroes of the Italian soccer world. Italian leagues began forming at the end of the nineteenth century.
Since 1930 they had the World Cup, a contest between country against country every 4 years. Italy has always placed high and has won three of the cups to date. And there's no question that Italians are very proud of that!