Imagine Florence during the Renaissance, but not in the full splendour that you see in the tourist guides. Imagine it in the bloody grip of its enemies. On the 17th of February 1520, the Florentines were suffering famine and pestilence, they were under the threat of excommunication from the Church, and under siege by the imperial troops of Charles V. As a gesture of defiance against the enemy, they proudly staged a gallant football game in Piazza Santa Croce. So as iron balls were being fired over the city ramparts, leather balls were being thrown around in the square to the animated shouts of most of the city’s population. Moreover, to be better seen and heard by the enemy encamped on the hills of Giramonte, Florentine musicians played resounding notes from the roof of the church. This historical event perfectly illustrates the competitive spirit of the city, as well as of its citizens’ passion for football.