Derby Della Lanterna: A scream for recognition
Old towns in Italian city centres usually enjoy good reputations. Venice is pretty much an open-air museum where people happen to live. Millions of people flock in at the same time to admire the old Rome. Milan’s sensationally beautiful Scala played host to the recent FIFA Awards night. Genoa pales in comparison.
Genoa is home to Christopher Columbus, the best pesto to be found this side of heaven and an addictive type of bread called fugassa. The medieval city is known for its super narrow alleys and for building really high. A temple devoted to Italy’s second most important religion: calcio. Genoa’s footballing heartbeats all in one place. The Stadio Luigi Ferraris is home to both Sampdoria and Genoa, meaning that Serie A football is played there in every round of the Italian fixture list.
Mind you, it is not just any stadium. Dutch football magazine Staantribune included Luigi Ferraris in a list of 25 grounds that should be on your bucket list. The sacred stadium, housing just over 36,000 tifosi, is named after the Genoa captain who died in battle during World War I.
Who visits the stadium in the current situation, will find maintenance to be lacking somewhat. Sampdoria and Genoa have spoken about moving, but no plans have been set in stone as yet. The lovebirds will be housemates for some time still. The house might be old, but certainly worth a look. Walk down the stairs in the direction of the ground and take in the views. Grab a pizza at Pizzeria Stadio, which as the name predicts is situated only a handful of minutes away from the main entrances, and have look at the little bars at the stadium.
The north stand is currently Genoa territory, with the more vocal Sampdoria supporters settling in the south stand. The steep main stands are reminiscent of classic English football grounds, where people are sat close to the action. For a pre-match bevvy, Piazza Manin or its surroundings are best, with it being located only ten minutes from this cathedral of football. Twice a year, things get better and both teams meet each other in the Derby Della Lanterna. The inter-city clash in Genoa lends his name from the 16th-century lighthouse, still serving as the chief symbol for the city of Genoa.
Are you ready?