Florence recently hosted an un-usual championship tournament when teams from Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Norway made their way to the Costoli Pool to compete for the European Underwater Rugby championship.
Underwater rugby, which blends diving, rugby and basketball, is swiftly growing in popularity around the world. The game is played in a ‘court’ that is five meters deep, within boundaries of 10×12 meters. Teams play six on six, with a goal of keeping the ball (the size of a volleyball and is filled with salt) underwater and getting it in the opposing team’s basket at the bottom of the pool.
Underwater rugby, which began in 1961 in Cologne, Germany as a way for scuba divers to stay fit during the cold winter months, was brought to to Italy by an enthusiastic group of young Florentines. Now there are men’s and women’s clubs in Milan, Rome, Naples and Prato.