The Florentine football team got well and truly shafted. For the umpteenth time. In Parma. On 24 February.
The crooked referees - this time - were Stefano Braschi and Andrea Gervasoni. And the result in Parma was a fabricated 2-2 tie, with a four-game suspension for Florence's admired mid-fielder Borja Valero.
No real Florentine can go for more than ten minutes without sighing "C'è un complotto contro di noi!" = "There's a conspiracy against us". And things get cosmic pretty quickly when you (or rather, THEY) mess with The Team...
Photo: Iacopo Barlotti
The Florentines have never been inclined to suffer (or do anything else) in silence. But today, they scaled new heights of mythic grandeur. Just a few hours before the Fiorentina - Lazio game, the city was blanketed with purple posters:
PEOPLE OF FLORENCE
We find ourselves under siege, for yet another time in our history. In the past, we were invaded by the armies of foreign kings. Today, there is a gang of slimy characters who think they can divide and conquer us through the gross abuse of their power.
That will not happen - today or ever. We will never be divided nor will we bend our knee.
Our best response is to unfurl our flags and show our colors - in the face of a sick and rotten system. Therefore, we will leave the stands of our beloved stadium empty for the first ten minutes of the game. Then we will all march in together, shouting our love for the name of Florence and our Team. Let's celebrate!
As Pier Capponi said to the French when they thought they could besiege our city:
IF YOU SOUND YOUR TRUMPETS,
WE WILL RING OUR BELLS.
Piero Capponi stood up to foreign oppression (personified by Charles VIII of France) in 1494.
The deep purple image on today's proclamation shows Emperor Charles V's siege in 1529-30.
But fire and sword, starvation and plague, were all enemies that people could see and face. Has Florentine pride - and Florentine exceptionalism - finally met its match in the insidious rot of Calcio all'Italiana?
Truth, Justice and the Florentine Way triumphed (in the abstract). Unfortunately, the team played a really sucky game and lost to Lazio, 0 - 1.
MORE MYSTERIES OF FLORENCE?