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Traditional events

Palla Grossa

An ancient game

The ancient tournament of the "Palla Grossa" is one of the main events of the tradition in Prato. It has medieval origins and is very similar to the Florentine costume football.
It was played in a shorter field with a larger and heavier ball than the Florentine football, from here the origin of the name of the game "Big Ball".
The city was divided into four quarters (Santo Stefano, Santa Maria, Santa Trinita and San Marco) which challenged each other.
The preparation of the tournament was marked by solemn ceremonies. The players departed in procession from the church of the neighborhood to get to the playground. It was played from 10 p.m. to midnight and six judges were appointed to referee the game, sitting on a raised seat.

The two teams were composed of 54 players, called "calcianti” (kicking). They must have between 18 and 45 years of age and be healthy, strong and of good reputation. The game roles were: runners (strikers), sconciatori (defenders), datori innanzi (midfielders) and datori addietro (goalkeepers). When the ball went beyond the opponent fence was the point, said "caccia” (hunting). The match lasted one hour and the winners were those who had received the highest number of points.

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