Football Travel: Genoa

Genoa ultras

We pay a visit to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, home of Italy’s oldest club, Genoa CFC, and cross-city rivals Sampdoria.

 

The sea has shaped the Italian port of Genoa’s destiny. From here, local navigator Christopher Columbus set out to seek Spanish sponsorship to find a sea route to India, and also from where Giuseppe Garibaldi sailed on his famous Expedition of the Thousand, a key moment in the unification of Italy.

 

It’s also due to Genoa’s prominence as a port that English sailors introduced football in the Italian peninsular, founding Genoa Cricket and Football Club in 1893.

 

As outlined in the brilliant Calcio – A History of Italian Football, Genoa CFC dominated the early days of Italian football. The team has nine championship titles, but none since 1923-24, one shy of the coveted star awarded for ten scudetti.

 

Cross-town rivals UC Sampdoria has just won just the single title, in 1990-91 season – led, of course, by Gianluca Vialli.

 

Both teams play at the 36,536-capacity Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, which has hosted matches in two World Cups; 1934 and it was rebuilt for 1990, where it hosted that famous shoot-out between the Republic of Ireland and Romania. The Genoese Derby della Lanterna (Derby of the Lighthouse) is quite something. [Continues…]

 

Stadio Luigi Ferraris

Goal mouth action at Genoa v Lazio

The experience at Stadio Luigi Ferraris

 

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I caught Genoa CFC at home to SS Lazio. The team coach was parked outside my hotel and I could have done with a lift as the ground – also known as Marassi for the area it’s in – is a good 45-minute walk from the labyrinthine old town.

 

I paid €30 for a second-tier seat on the halfway line and you don’t get much for that price! At 191cms I was pretty uncomfortable, with the person behind’s knees in my back and mine protruding on the empty row in front. [Continues…]

 

            

 

Continuing the English theme, Genoa fans do a solid rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ pre-match and there are plenty of St. George’s crosses around: The Genovese used the flag long before England took it on.

 

The Luigi Ferraris is untypical for an Italian ground; it’s more like a four-sided British stadium rather than a communal multi-purpose ground. Juventus recognised the value of a close crowd to create a 12th-man atmosphere when it moved from its old Delle Alpi to the tight-knit Juventus Stadium.

 

In I went to the old Delle Alpi in Turin – where a running track separated the crowd from the pitch – and it was pretty difficult to get an idea of what was going at a low level. I just remember Pavel Nedved’s blonde mullet dashing about the place.

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Hence there’s no ‘curva’ as such at the Luigi Ferraris (or corners), but those in the Curva Nord were vocal throughout and I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many flags at any ground anywhere.

 

Alas, it was one of those ‘pretty good for a goalless draw’ games. Lazio brought a few hundred to bait the locals.

 

Here are Genoa’s fans’ stirring rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”:

 

How to get to Stadio Luigi Ferraris

 

I walked from town – 1.5km north-east of the city centre – but you can take the train to Brignole station.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Went to see Sampdoria host Roma a couple of years back. Loved the history of the stadium, and the flags! Great city, fascinating Old Town and best of all – you get to pretend you’re in The Day Of The Jackal while you’re there too!

  2. Thanks Paul, what was the turnout like? I like the fact that it’s compact, none of the athletic track/communal stadium that’s so common in Italy.

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