Fabbrica Europa for
Secret Florence 2021

The ancient game of the Pallone al bracciale

The Pallone al bracciale has Greek-Roman origins, but it is in the Renaissance period that it has its greatest development. In the 16th century it was practiced by princes, lords and aristocrats, so much so that in some Italian courts there was the “master of balls” who trained those who wanted to play it. In 1555 Antonio Scaino published the Trattato del giuoco della palla (Treatise on the game of the ball) which contained drawings of the wooden “bracelet” used for the game as well as a description of the rules.

The game, initially practiced in the courtyards of noble palaces, then moved to the squares and large open spaces of the streets, played by bourgeois and commoners. However, due to the need for a lateral support wall, the spaces close to the city or castle walls became the most suitable.

At the end of the 1700s and the beginning of the 1800s, with the construction of special facilities (the sferisteri), the organization of matches and the birth of professionalism, the game became a national sport, acquiring fame and popularity. The players were stars loved by the public and the matches of Pallone al bracciale game became like public shows.

And if the game of Pallone al bracciale became a performative, choreographic practice and therefore an artistic gesture?

Alessandro Sciarroni (Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale Danza 2019), performer, choreographer, director, has long worked with formats in which the bodies insist on the repetition of movements and dynamics, exploring their possibilities and overcoming their limits.
His research often draws on memory and tradition to give life to a new and personal artistic and creative approach : a popular entertainment or an ancient practice becomes a performative action and a participatory experience that do not seek to actualize the past, but to revitalize it by making it assume an original expressive identity.
This is the reason why Fabbrica Europa asked him to work on a project starting from the game of Pallone al bracciale. The project will have a two-year development to result in an original performative creation in 2022.

For this new edition of Secret Florence Fabbrica Europa proposes a project that wants to reveal a hidden Florence, the one that marked the dawn of the Pallone al bracciale, and show the charm of this ancient game through two guided walks to discover the places where it was played, an exhibition with the best athletes who still practice it in Piazza Santa Croce, the Challenge (Disfida) between the four historic districts of Florence at the Sferisterio delle Cascine, and a meeting with Alessandro Sciarroni.



Collettivo Mine Sat, June 12 • h 15:00
from Piazza San Firenze to Piazza Santa Croce

by Tempo Nomade
by Collettivo MINE

Pallone-bracciale Sat, June 12 • h 10:00 – 12:00 / 15:00 – 19:00
Piazza Santa Croce

Exhibition of the ancient game
by Club Sportivo Firenze

Il-Gioco Sun, June 13 • h 15:00
from Piazza San Firenze to Sferisterio delle Cascine

by Tempo Nomade
by Collettivo MINE

Esibizione Sun, June 13 • h 15:00 / 16:30 / 18:00
Sferisterio delle Cascine

Challenge between the four historic districts of Florence
by Club Sportivo Firenze

Aurora-Alessandro-Sciarroni Wed, June 16 • h 18:00
PARC Performing Arts Research Centre

A path of creation *

Meeting with the choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni
Screening of the film by Cosimo Terlizzi


* reservation required
The events are free and will be held in compliance with anti Covid regulations.
tel. 055 365707 (Mon > Fri 10:00-13:00 / 14:00-17:00, Sat 10:00-14:00)


Secret Florence, a strategic project of Estate Fiorentina, presents its sixth edition, after last year’s special edition at Parco delle Cascine.
The project, carried out by the five internationally active institutions based in the City of Florence’s urban area (Fabbrica Europa, Lo schermo dell’arte, Musicus Concentus, Tempo Reale and Centro Nazionale di Produzione della Danza Virgilio Sieni) is imagined for a series of scenic spaces, most of which are being used for the first time, where dance, music, art, and cinema performances adapt each time to the architectural and acoustic characteristics of different locations. This way the actions that compose the programme help rediscover traditional spaces under a new light, allowing to establish different aesthetic perspectives in previously unused buildings or environments, or to reveal forgotten or unknown cultural events and histories.
Full programme of Secret Florence 2021 www.secretflorence.it


















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