by Melinda Gallo

My first partita

I have been wanting to go to a partita (soccer match) for ages. Living in Florence, I am of course a tifosa della Fiorentina (a fan of Florence's soccer team). How could I not be? So, I was so happy when Alessandro called me to ask me if I wanted to go to the partita at the stadio (stadium) tonight.

Living in Florence :: My first partita

His friend came on his motorino (scooter) to pick me up because the traffic is so bad around the stadio that it's impossible to drive there. Alessandro dropped off his car at my apartment and took my bicicletta (bicycle).

We arrived at the stadio and our area was filled with people. The seats are small and the passage way is so narrow that people had to stand up or squish their feet to one side for us to get by. I was happy just to be going across as going up the stairs without any railing was a little difficult. I was expecting a stadio to be as large as one of our American football fields, but it seemed a bit smaller with less area around the field.

We sat down and waited only a few minutes before the players came out. I had joked about wanting to learn new parolacce (bad words), but not many were to be heard where we were sitting.

The game was a little slow in the beginning and only became exciting when the opposing team, Groningen, scored. The Fiorentina scored four minutes later to tie and then things sped up. The game ended in a tie-breaker, which the Fiorentina ended up winning.

I was surprised that no one left the game early. One man almost left after the second half because he didn't know the game wasn't over. He was the only person I saw who even budged from his seat. Everyone stayed until the very last minute. In this case, it made sense as it ended in a tie-breaker and was important because it meant going on to the Coppa Uefa finals.

The tifosi for the other team were in one part of the stadio that looked more like a cage. I watched as some of the Fiorentina tifosi taunted them. I couldn't hear them, but when I saw the caged in tifosi bang on the barb wired fence surrounding them, I knew the local tifosi weren't saying kind words.

The curva Fiesole (the name of an area of the stadium) was the most interesting to watch as they cheered, sang songs, and whistled at the opposing team. At one point you could see the whole crowd jump up and down and hold up their Fiorentina scarves waving proudly.

A friend of mine said that she'd never go to watch a partita because it can be dangerous, but I honestly felt quite safe. I didn't feel as if something bad were going to happen. It might be another story on Sunday when the Fiorentina play their arch rivals. Although I heard that the opposing team's tifosi aren't even coming down for the game because there might be some conflicts.

I'd love to attend another partita some time. I watch them sometimes on TV and find them exciting, but they are even more exciting in a stadio with over 25,000 people.

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