by Melinda Gallo

Watching the Fiorentina play

When Alessandro told me that the Fiorentina would be playing a partita amichevole (friendly soccer match) open to the public today, I was over the moon. I hadn't been to a partita in a long time. It didn't even matter to me that it was during my afternoon pisolino (nap); I'd just do without one for once. After I found out that the partita would start at 3pm, I decided to leave my place at 2pm to make sure I'd get a good spot to watch the Fiorentina and take some foto (pictures).

Living in Florence :: Watching the Fiorentina play

I arrived in front of i "Campini" (the smaller fields where the Fiorentina usually train) where about forty people were sitting outside waiting for the gate to be opened. I didn't like that I was alone, but most people I know including my marito (husband) had to work. As soon as I heard the clanging of the gate, I moved toward the door. Because I didn't know where I was going, I followed the people in front of me and stood at the top of the three-level cement seating area to get a good view of the campo. The area I was hoping to keep all around me was quickly encroached upon, and I was boxed in by two men standing behind me, one sitting at my feet and another one on my right who kept bumping into me.

When the giocatori (players) arrived on the campo (field), I was really excited to see them. I was surprised, however, that no one clapped. The players were dressed in their viola (purple), the team color, and seemed in good spirits while they warmed up. Everyone began to applaud Prandelli, the allenatore (coach), when he walked out onto the campo.

The other team, Lastrigiana, warmed up on the campo that was on the other side of where we were standing.

By the time the two teams began to play, the entire area was packed full, and I couldn't move in any direction. It was exciting to see some of my favorite players, like Montolivo (who was called "Riccardino" by most), Mutu, Felipe Melo, Gilardino (whom a few young boys called "Gila"), Jorgensen, and Kroldrup when they ran near us on the other side of the fence.

Fortunately, I picked the side where the Fiorentina was mostly playing so I could watch them marcare un gol (score a goal). The only bad part was that I didn't get to see Frey, who is the portiere (goalkeeper), because he was on the other side of the campo.

We were fortunate to have a clear and sunny day to watch the partita. I could feel the sun warm up my face while I snapped pictures of the giocatori.

At the end of the primo tempo (first half), the Fiorentina was winning by a landslide. After four goals, I stopped counting. Almost everyone around me stayed put because they didn't want to lose their spot. I knew that I wasn't going to stay for the secondo tempo (second half), so I jumped down and walked over to the other campo to watch some more Fiorentina giocatori like Bonazzoli, Semioli, Donadel, Gobbi, and Jovetic warm up. I snapped some more photos of the giocatori and the crowds.

I knew that there wasn't a taxi station outside, so I walked over to the Gelateria Conti on viale dei Mille to grab a gelato (ice cream) before calling a taxi to take me home. I realized how tired I was when I plopped myself in the taxi. Between standing up for an hour and a half, the excitement, the sun, and my not taking a pisolino all hit me at once.

As soon as I got home, I uploaded the photos on my computer and was happy to see the giocatori. I was very happy that the partitella (friendly match) was opened to the public because I heard that they hadn't done so in a long, long time.

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