For anyone who doesn’t know, and it’s not something you should know, but a football fan will know, Rome has two football teams: la Associazione Sportiva Roma and la Società Sportiva Lazio, better known as la Roma and la Lazio. Eternal rivals that share the same stadium: the Olímpico de Roma, a monument with a long history, located inside the fascist “Foro Mussolini”, which has been renamed the “Foro Itálico”.
Foro Italico. Obelisk in honor of Mussolini. Photo by Fernando Rial.
Although both teams are from the capital, they haven’t won a lot of league titles, la Roma three and la Lazio two since 1929, the first year of the Lega Calcio (which means kick in Italian).
Mosaic in the Foro Italico_M referring to Mussolini.
Well, despite not being great teams in terms of titles, they have a lot of money and social influence. La Lazio has the reputation of being a fascist team, although la Roma is not far behind. La Roma was founded en 1927, as the result of Benito Mussolini‘s obsession to balance the poor south with the industrial, prosperous north and along the way increase the self-esteem of its inhabitants in the interest of increasing economic production. To do this, he imposed the merger of all Rome’s clubs into one, but there was one that refused and resisted: la Lazio. That was when the fans split up. La Roma attracted the centre of Rome and the working class neighbourhoods and the wealthier suburbs stayed with la Lazio.
Lucciano Re Cecconi.
As Enric González tells us in his fantastic book “Historias de Roma”(1), (Stories of Rome) the extreme right has been associated with these clubs from the beginning. But it was during the ‘years of lead’, in 1997 when extremism had one of its worse consequences. At that time, all the Lazio players prided themselves on carrying guns except one: Luciano Re Cecconi, known as the ‘blond angel’. What happened was that good old Luciano and his friend Ghedin, decided to play a joke on a jeweller friend of theirs, Bruno Taboechini. They entered the jewellery shop shouting ‘Hands up. This is a robbery’, and Mr Taboechini, who had his back to them, turned around quickly drawing a Walther 7.65 and shooting Luciano Cecconi right through the heart. A tragic story.
But in this rivalry between clubs there is also room for comedy. Espionage between the clubs is also a classic around here. When la Roma won its last league championship in 2001, they had to play one of the last matches against their eternal rival. When la Roma players came out onto the pitch the la Roma fans sitting in the stands unfolded a huge sign that said: ‘Look up, only the sky is bigger than you’. This was followed in the northern Lazio section by an even bigger sign saying: ‘You’re right, the sky is blue and white.’(2)
1 González, Enric. "Historias de Roma". Barcelona. RBA Libros. SA. 2010
2 La Lazio colours are blue and white.
IN TREATMENT - METALOCUS.
DIRECTOR: JOSÉ JUAN BARBA. COORDINATION: INÉS LALUETA. ORGANIZATION: INÉS LALUETA, PEDRO NAVARRO. ENGLISH VERSION: KAREN SIMPSON. GUESTS FIRST SEASON: JOSÉ JUAN BARBA, MARINA DIEZ-CASCÓN, SERGIO DIEZ-CASCÓN SOLER, LARA FERNÁNDEZ GONZÁLEZ, CARLOS GERHARD PI-SUÑER, MONTSE PLA GARCÍA-CASTANY, XAVIER NICOLAU CUYÀS, FERNANDO RIAL PONCE, VERÓNICA ROSERO.