by Melinda Gallo

Coppa della Champions League in Palazzo Vecchio

Last night Alessandro told me that the Coppa della Champions League, the most prestigious prize in European Soccer, was going to be on display at Palazzo Vecchio for two days. I had only ever seen the coppa (cup) on TV as it was being given to the winning team. The calciatori (soccer players) hug and kiss it while tears of joy fall from their eyes. I was so excited that the Coppa della Champions League would be in Florence, that I ran out this morning to see it.

Living in Florence :: Coppa della Champions League in Palazzo Vecchio

I have always loved calcio (soccer) ever since my friend Debbie and I went to a couple of partite (matches) for the 1984 Olympics that were held at Stanford University. Shortly after Debbie and I went to a partita amichevole (friendly match) between the squadra (team) from Naples and a squadra from Mexico. We sat in the stands next to a group of Italian sailors, and enjoyed the partita with all of its highs and lows. After that game we were both officially hooked.

We followed the bus to the hotel where the squadra from Naples was staying and we asked all the calciatori for autographs, of which the most important calciatore was Maradona. I unfortunately didn't know just how famous he was until a few years later.

For the Champions League this year, there isn't a single Italian squadra playing in the semi-finals. The final game will be held in Rome on May 27th, which is why the Coppa della Champions League is on tour in Italy. After it leaves Florence, I heard that it'll be going to Milan, Turin, and Naples.

This morning, I ran up the steps to the Salone dei Cinquecento where the woman at the door asked me for my biglietto (ticket). I explained that I wanted to see the Coppa della Champions League, and she said that I could see it, but can't visit the rest of the museo (museum). I quickly looked around the room and saw the Coppa della Champions League on display behind me.

I rushed over to it to take a look while some children were taking photos of it. I pulled my macchina fotografica (camera) out of my bag and waited until the children moved so I could take a few shots of it. I snapped a few photos from every angle because I might never see it again this close unless my team, the Fiorentina win the Coppa della Champions League. This year the Fiorentina did play in the competition, but were unfortunately eliminated.

There's always next year for the Fiorentina, but until then, I was happy to see the coppa dalle orecchie grandi (cup with the big ears) as it's so fondly called here.

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