A recent match between Rome and Lazio soccer teams reminded me how important the sport is in Italy. According to the New York Times, the two teams played each other in last week's Coppa Italia final. Tensions were tight due to recent matches resulting in violence between fans and the police.
I thought Chicago's Cubs/Sox rivalry was bitter.
|Map of Italian soccer teams & attendance, 2006-2007|
Photo credit: albionroad.com
Most calcio matches in Italy do not end with backlash against the police and attacks on fans. However, the Roma/Lazio rivalry shows that soccer, or calico, is interwoven into daily life. Fans, or tifosi, are very passionate about their team. It is a lifelong affiliation.
Italian football writer Dylan Fahy reported that the Coppa Italia final ended in a Lazio victory, with the two sides only coming together during Psy's "Gangnam Style" performance. Violence did not result between fans at the game, but some Roma fans were so upset that they threw rotten eggs and rocks at the team bus.
Soccer, football or calcio, the sport is a cornerstone of Italian culture. I had the good fortune to attend a Roma game at Wrigley Field last year, but I hope to see a game in Italy in the future!