The first book about the game of football

(Bardi, Giovanni de'). Discorso sopra 'l giuoco del calcio fiorentino. Del puro Accademico Alterato. Di nuovo ristampato.

Florence, appresso Cosimo Giunti, 1615.

4to. 48 pp. With armorial woodcut and folding engraved plate. Contemporary limp vellum with ms. title to spine.


The earliest treatise - and only early monograph - on the historical precursor to the modern game of football (or soccer), namely the game of "Calcio" traditionally played by young men in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce during the Carnival season. The book explains the mechanics of the game, provides its historical background, and describes actual games played in and around Florence in the recent past. The detailed account was first published in 1580 and reprinted in 1615, unchanged save for a new dedication and preface by the printer, Cosimo Giunti, who also reveals the author's name as Giovanni de' Bardi, Conte di Vernio.

The engraving shows a fine view of the Piazza with the players on the field immediately before kick-off. The title page shows the Medici arms: the book is dedicated to Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany as wife of Cosimo II de' Medici.


Melzi II, 388. Moreni I, 84. Bascetta, Sport e Giuochi I, 129. Cf. Parenti 54f. (1st ed.). Inghirami I, 60. Cicognara 1570; Gamba 98f. (later eds. only).

Art.-Nr.: BN#49576 Schlagwörter: ,