Marte Eggleston is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism major at the Indiana University, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Marte shares her experience of watching Fiorentina, Florence's soccer team, play a game in their home stadium.
It is pretty clear that soccer is the most popular sport in Italy and in Europe generally. I knew before coming to Italy I wanted to try to attend an authentic, European soccer match. As a former soccer player, it was more than exciting to see the competitive game play and overwhelming support from the fans.
Luckily for me, Florence has its own team, Fiorentina, which everyone rallies around. You can find the purple and white colors of the team around the city at any time. I had the opportunity to go to a game against Napoli a few weeks ago. The stadium was much larger than I had pictured in my head. The forecast of pouring rain did not damper the excitement in the crowd though it did make the experience a little more harrowing for us newbies. The atmosphere was genuinely Italian as the crowd sang the team’s song while we tried to hum along to words we don’t yet know. The actual gameplay was entertaining as the home team was quick to score first and pump up the crowd. Then the downpour came, which eventually led to us taking shelter for the rest of the first half. We stuck around for the second half, seeing the opposing team tie up the match. Even through the rain the fans continued to sing and cheer, and eventually Fiorentina was able to pull away with the victory.
From my perspective I saw how much of a pleasure and honor it would be to play in a city like Florence. The city is small enough that you feel that you know your fans, and you can feel the support throughout the city. It gives Florence something that everyone can cheer about. As a former player, I could appreciate the time and practice required to play in a league within Europe. Some of the players were clearly from countries distant from Italy, but there were willing to move to play the sport they loved.
I hope to attend another game before my time in Florence is up, and hopefully it will not be raining. But not so secretly my favorite part of the game was finding out that they sell hot dogs as concessions, don’t forget that it’s about the little things!
Marte's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.