by Melinda Gallo

More soccer matches to go to

I knew that Alessandro had chosen the dates of our viaggio (trip) around the partite di calcio (soccer matches) so we wouldn't miss any home partite in casa (home games), but I didn't know that we'd be there when no partita for any of the Italian squadre (teams) would be played because of the World Cup preliminari (preliminaries). I thought we'd have to call his babbo (dad) about how the Fiorentina did the next morning from Miami, but we ended up not missing any of the partite.

We have already been to all the partite in casa since the new stagione (season) began in only a month ago: the amichevole (friendly match) against Paris-St.-Germain, the partita di preliminari di Champions League (Champions League preliminary match) against Lisbonna, and the Serie A partita against Palermo.

Today we went to the partita against Cagliari. Right after my Sunday pranzo with my suoceri (in-laws), Alessandro came home for a quick bite before we headed out to the stadio (stadium), which is only a few blocks from his parents' house.

We walk the same way every time along the tree-lined viale (avenue) toward a parco (park) that leads us through to the stadio. The entrate (entrance) for the Curva Fiesole is crowded with people waiting to get in just like all the other entrate. Our line is a bit less structured maybe, but people are respectful enough to not crowd you too much. I always seem to get through quite quickly, so I have nothing to complain about.

I pass my abbonamento (season pass) under the bar code reader and the light turns green for me to walk through the turn-style. I always have my carta d'identità (picture ID card) open to show to the person asking me to prove that the abbonamento is mine.

Once past these two security checks, I feel a sense of joy. There is something magical and exciting about being in the stadio. The first thing I always do is walk up the stairs so I can look out at the campo (field) to see the giocatori (players) practicing. I usually already know who will be playing after having read it in the giornale (newspaper) before leaving for the stadio.

We're fortunate to have a few friends who are always kind enough to save us seats, but today one of our friends wasn't coming to the partita while our friend Filippo had a hurt shoulder and didn't want to be jostled too much in the stands.

We arrived early enough to get seats toward the bottom of the stands for us and for Filippo that were good enough for us to see the campo. I'm not as fond of sitting down during the partita, but I admit that I'm less exhausted afterwards.

Right after I asked Alessandro why we haven't yet sung, "Tutti in piedi (Everyone on your feet)," the Curva Fiesole began singing it. It's one of my favorite songs just because I love how everyone in the stadio stands up to cheer. As an added bonus, one of the marcatori (strikers), Jovetic, scored the winning goal.

As soon as the partita is over, I clap as I watch the giocatori leave the campo. The crowd cheers the allenatore (head coach) by singing his full name. He waves at the Curva Fiesole before exiting the campo.

We all walk down the stairs to exit the stadio where we find crowds of people walking in the same direction. Some people jump on their motorini (scooters) while other people get in their macchine (cars) to leave the stadio. A few people stop in the large area where vendors have set up stands to sell panini (sandwiches) and drinks. Sometimes we stop to have a drink with our friends and chat about the partita, but today we didn't need to because we spoke off and on during the partita.

As we walked along the viale back home, I admired all the magliette (T-shirts) and paraphernalia that people wore in support of the Fiorentina. I sometimes feel like I need to get more magliette because I only have a couple. For now, my next purchase will be a sciarpa (scarf) with the names of two squadre on it: Fiorentina and Liverpool. The two squadre will be playing an important partita for the Champions League at the end of the month, and I can't wait to go to it.

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