The Historic Parade
The Historic Parade of the Republic of Florence is and important part of city life. Born from 400th yearly observance of the Siege of Florence, the Battle of Gavinana and the death of florentine and Italian heroFrancesco Ferrucci. The historic costumes come from that glorious time, when the city was defended fromEmperor Charles V. It’s an impressive military procession of the time, made up of well-defined factions of marchers “at ease.” Only some of them have helmets and armor, but all wear 16th century military attire.
Their elegance and bold colors, in addition to their symbolic value, invoke emotion and fascination in spectators. Each group has it’s own emblem that distinguishes it from the rest of the procession. The parade banner portrays a red lily on a white background, underlined with “FIORENZA.” It’s escorted by armed men leading other marchers behind, and is always different, depending on the occasion for which the Procession is representing the city.
To be able to admire the complete Historic Procession of the Republic of Florence, unique in institutionally portraying the city, one must wait for the parade accompanying the Historic Florentine Soccer players to traditional games in Piazza Santa Croce.
On other occasions, more than 120 a year, the Procession marches in reduced, but no less impressive, form. The full Historic Procession includes:
THE BANNER OF FLORENCE escorted by “Family of the Palace”
The city’s emblem. Florence’s emblem is a red lily on white background, derived from the Florentine Iris, a white flower very common to the surrounding countryside.
In 1251, following conflict between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, the colors of the emblem were reversed depending on which faction was in power. After the final Guelph “victory,” the version with the red flower, white background (the party’s coat of arms) was adopted.
To this day in the city of Florence, the Historic Procession of the Florentine Republic and the Bandieri degli Uffizi (Official flag-wavers of Florence) are adorned with this emblem, which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.
SERGENTI DEGLI OTTO DI GUARDIA E DI BALIA
One of the most beautiful costumes in the processions, featured in a fresco by Vasari in the Salone dei cinquecento (Hall of 500) in the “Presa di Porto Ercole.”
MAESTRO DI CAMPO
Commanding Officer of the Regiment. His importance called for a personal escort and emblem. Entrusted with the responsibility enforcing game and tournament rules, he is one of the most important figures in both the Procession and Historic Florentine Soccer.
SCORTA DEL MAESTRO DI CAMPO – ARALDO DELLA SIGNORIA
He was the head of the Signoria family and cerimonial master. For Florentine Soccer, he has the very important task of addressing the MAGNIFICO MESSERE, reading the “GRIDA” and handing over command to the MAESTRO DI CAMPO with the phrase, “Maestro di Campo, to you the command!”
Carries the emblem of the Heraldry.
CAPITANO DI GUARDIA DEL CONTADO E DEL DISTRETTO
The Commander of the People’s Militia. In the procession, he is the director and instructor of the historic teams. He is in charge of the parade itself, it’s organization and unfolding of events. He orders the “out loud salute,” according to 16th century military protocol, making an impressive introduction of the Procession to the local goverment.
BANDIERAIO DI FIRENZE
Has the job of carrying the banner or the flag bearing the symbol of Florence.
A young boy carries the PALIETTO throughout the entire Procession of Historic Florentine Soccer.
GRUPPO DEI BANDIERAI
Carry the principal emblems of the Republic of Florence.
Carries two balls the colors of the two teams playing each other in the match.
Has the role of confirming team points and calling foul play during the game.
Referee the game.
GIUDICI DI CAMPO
Act as linesman and signal the referee when the ball goes out of bounds.
GRUPPO DEI MUSICI
Includes the MAESTRO DEI MUSICI, drummers, trumpets and flutes.
CAPITANO GENERALE DELLE ARTIGLIERIE
The commander of all artillery in the parade.
UFFICIALI DELLE FANTERIE
26 men proceeded by a BANDIERAIO bearing the Guelph party emblem.
COMANDANTE DELLA COMPAGNIA DEL VAIO
Noble on horseback.
Armed with arquebus firearms and swords.
Armed with axes and swords.
FANTI DI PALAZZO
Armbed with sword and spear. They were the soldiers that guarded the safety of the SIGNORIA.
Armed with wooden crossbows with steel arches and CARICAMENTO A STAFFA.
The “PALIO DEL BALUARDO” takes place every year in the month of May at BALUARDO DI SAN GIORGIO, an archery competition using traditional crossbows.
Marchers preceding the the Historic Soccer teams, each quarter has it’s unique emblem displayed on four banners.
Teams are ordered by quarter, and priority position is given to the winning quarter of the previous game.
MAGGIOR GENERAL SERGENTE DELLE MILIZIE
Noble Comander of the entire Florentine Militia, either on foot or horseback.
Two noble escorts to the Maggior General Sergente.
COLONNELLI E CAPITANI DELLE BANDE A CAVALLO
Marchers accompanying the Noble on horseback, holding the bridle.
In charge of the handling and shooting of four muskets.
March with the winning team’s grand prize, the coveted Chianina breed cow.
City militia armed with swords and spears.
PROCONSOLO DELLE ARTI
Il Proconsolo dell’Arte dei Giudici e dei Notai assumed this title and played a leading role in regard to all the “Priori delle Arti” present in Florence around 1300. The marcher is accompanied by two NUNZI.
TRIBUNALE DI MERCATANZIA
Represents the court judge.
GRUPPO DELLE ARTI MAGGIORI
Seven banners bearing the sign of their respective Art.
GRUPPO DELLE ARTI MINORI
14 banners bearing the sign of their respective Art.
BANDIERAI DEGLI UFFIZI
A group of flag-wavers bearing the emblems of the 16 civil courts they represent. More information on this group and their activities can be found on their website: www.bandieraidegliuffizi.it
FANTI DELLE CORPORAZIONI
Armed with spears, they founded the Militia of the Major and Minor Arts.
Madonnas in 16th century costume. Grace, beauty and kindness were the prerogative of these woman, always at the side of strong men, sharing in their suffering and deprivation.
1 thought on “THE HISTORIC PARADE OF THE REPUBLIC OF FLORENCE THE, CALCIO STORICO”
I so appreciate and admire the history of the parade and learned more about the history and symbolism behind the colors designs and the total history that is behind the parade and with Florence. One of the things that this brings out is why the tradition continues to this day and it’s not just people in costume doing something just for the sake of doing it. It also shows patriotic pride in their town and what it means to be from Florence and the love of where they have descended from and keeping that history and traditions alive to this day.
The detail of what each part of the parade and its significance is detailed so exquisitely and is appreciated as it taught me something that I wasn’t really aware of and it will serve as a good learning tool for others. And it helps to understand what is behind the history behind the soccer match that is a part of this parade.
The photos accompanying this wonderful article are equally as wonderful and help in giving a visual image to the respective sections of the article. More historical analysis and detail like this should be written about and shared
Thank you so much.