by Melinda Gallo

Tutti allo stadio

Last night's game was the first I've been to this month. A few weeks ago, we did go watch the Fiorentina play against PSG for a partita amichevole (friendly soccer match). The only place at the the stadio (stadium) that I truly love to watch and experience the partita (game) is in Curva Fiesole where we even bought abbonamenti (season tickets) this year.

Our friends arrived at the stadio a little more than an hour before the beginning of the partita. Fortunately for us, they saved us two seats. In the Curva Fiesole you have to get there earlier to reserve seats because the seat number indicated on the biglietto or even abbonnamento is meaningless.

After going through security, walking through the turnstile where we had to pass our ticket under a barcode reader, and then showing our tickets and carta d'identità (ID card) to the steward (steward), we headed to the stands and called our friends to find out where they were.

I was amazed to see how packed the Curva Fiesole was with people crowding the walkways and stairs. We made our way through the crowds to our friends who were up about thirteen rows. I don't like being up too high because the stairs are steep and there is nothing to hold onto. It was even more difficult to walk up because of all the people sitting on the stairs as well.

Once we reached our friends, we stood up in front of the two seats and watched the giocatori (players) warm up below us. At one point a large banner came rolling down from the top of the stands toward us. It covered at least 20 rows down and 20 rows across of people. It stopped one row behind us and we were grateful because supposedly it's hot underneath. And it was already hot and humid in the stands with all the people around.

By the time the partita was about to begin, we were standing on our seats and the stairs were so full of people that no one could even walk by. I briefly thought about how dangerous that probably is, but decided to focus on the partita.

The shirtless guy with the microphone who stands in the middle of the Curva Fiesole led us the entire time to sing specific songs and chants to motivate our squadra (team). My favorite part is when he starts us off, "Tutti in piedi, tutti in piedi, eh, eh! Everyone on their feet, everyone on their feet, hey, hey!" While we were all singing, I looked around the stadio to see everyone stand up. Every time it gives me chills.

I feel so connected to the partita in Curva Fiesole. Even if a giocatore mess up, a few might yell out, "Che cavolo fai? What the hell are you doing?" But within a few seconds, the shirtless guy starts chanting, "Forza Viola, Forza Viola, eh, eh!"

At the end of a less than brilliant primo tempo (first half) a few tifosi (fans) in the Curva Fiesole were upset and whistled at the squadra. I, along with many other tifosi stood proudly and clapped.

Luckily for us, the Fiorentina tied in the secondo tempo (second half). As soon as the Fiorentina scored, people jumped up and down screaming. Alessandro was so excited that he picked me up off of my seat.

The end of the partita was a joyous moment for us all. A huge victory for the Fiorentina because they will now participate in the highly coveted Champions League competition and will play against the best squadre in Europe.

Alessandro and I left the stadio on a high. I look forward to the first round of partite in the upcoming weeks.

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