By Jean Hinkley, MA 2016-2017
Watching sports and going to sporting events was a big part of my childhood and experience throughout high school. Coming to a foreign country, watching baseball games or checking out the ESPN highlight reel is not really a feasible option. However, as you probably know, Europe is pretty well known for its soccer.
Here in Florence, the team to root for is AC Fiorentina. Getting interested and involved in the sporting culture is a great way to meet new people, feel engrained in something unique to Florence, and generally know what is going on in the city.
My classmate is a huge Fiorentina fan. She has taught me about the basics to the game and the team. For example, the team color is purple – or viola. You’ll notice the purple flags hanging around the city and the purple jerseys sold in the leather market on your way to class. Fans definitely have a lot of pride, and when you look for it, there are little markers of support throughout Florence.
One of the most memorable experiences this semester was going to a Fiorentina vs. Verona match.
Getting tickets is pretty simple. You can go to the Mercato Centrale (near the Marist Italy office) to purchase tickets. When purchasing tickets on the top floor, you choose your seats. Just make sure you have an ID with you because your ticket will have your name on it. This will be checked when entering the stadium. So don’t forget to bring your ID and your ticket with you when game day comes!
A quick and easy bus ride from our apartment to the stadium and all of a sudden we were in a sea of purple. Purple hats, purple scarves, purple jerseys, purple flags. We found our seats easily. The stadium sells drinks, food, and Fiorentina paraphernalia.
Fans are vocal. The people around us were not afraid to lambaste members of Fiorentina team for their performance. You’ll learn some classic Italian blasphemous phrases. Don’t be afraid to join in and (respectfully) root for the team, it’s all part of the experience.
The game we attended ended up going into overtime, which was exciting. But it got even better when Fiorentina won on a penalty kick!
Even if soccer or sports in general is not your thing, try to go to a game or watch one with friends. It’s a great way to feel like a part of something!