Museo del Calcio

A look into the heart of Italian soccer

Meagan Brown
January 21, 2010

In my search for the museo del calcio, located on Viale Aldo Palazzeschi, I had to turn my bicycle around a couple times and finally ask someone for directions. The man kindly showed me the way but told me that the museo è chiuso, it was closed.


I was disappointed because I had checked the hours before heading out, so I decided to check it out for myself. So, when Dr. Fino Fini, the man behind the only museo del calcio in Italy, buzzed me in, I told him that I had heard it was closed. He looked at me as though what I had said was preposterous. Though my Italian is not yet fluent, I understood what he was saying.


‘Why would it be closed?'


‘I don't know,' I admitted, ‘that's just what someone said.'


‘You lock your home don't you? But when your friends come, you let them in.'


I understood what he was saying, and the more I spoke with Dr. Fini, the more I understood how much this museum means to him and why he would want to protect it.


Dr. Fini is not only the director of the Museum of Football Foundation but was also the physician of the national team from 1962 to 1982. He was also the physician of the national juniors team from 1958 to 1970 and a part of the Technical Committee for 23 years-among many other achievements. Soccer is in Dr. Fini's blood and this museum is his heart. Indeed, ‘Secondo me, è una cosa importante,' he told me (In my opinion, this is an important thing. I did this so that the public could see my heart)


The museum, which has been open since 2000, is three floors full of memorabilia of the national soccer team, dating back to 1904. The number and variety of artifacts that Dr. Fini has accumulated are astounding: shoes, jerseys, and soccer balls that graced the fields in world championship games, along with the medals that were won. Everything on display was donated by players and their families. One case that holds medals earned by Giovanni Ferrari actually belongs to the family, so it is on loan. Other than that, the museum owns everything.


There is a jersey of Silvio Piola, soccer great from the 1930s, that his mother embroidered with the date and place of a decisive match: It was his first match with the national team, and he scored the only two goals for Italy, goals that won the match 2-1. One of the uniforms that Dr. Fini has is worth at least 7,000 euro. He also has a unique outfit worn by Giovanni Ferrari when the team posed for a photo with Mussolini in 1938.


He told me about a game during the facist regime, when the team was forced to wear black rather than the regular blue while playing France, which also wears blue. The Italians played so well that game that even the French were applauding them, and the Italians won by a wide margin.


‘So why is it that the national team wears blue?' When Dr. Fini asked me this, I could not answer. ‘Not for the sea, not for the sky, not for blue eyes,' he said. ‘Blue is not an Italian color- our flag has green, red and white.'

‘Then why?'


Before 1910, he explained, when Italy was a monarchy, the team always wore white. However, when a new president of the soccer league, who preferred blue, came into office, he sat down with the king to discuss it. Since 1911, the national team has worn blue. The jerseys once had a blue patch with a crown on it.


Dr. Fini can tell a fascinating story about every object he has collected over the years. We walked down to the lowest level, where the memorabilia from the most recent world cup win is kept. He asked me what the most important piece of clothing for a soccer player is.


‘Le scarpe,' I answered. (‘The shoes.')


‘Brava,' he congratulated me.


He turned my attention to a case that held a jersey marked with grass stains next to a photo of a very happy-looking Italian team after their 2006 win. To the right was a pair of shoes embroidered with the names of one of the player's children. Dr. Fini told me that every time the player would bend down to tie his shoes, he would think of his kids.


What Dr. Fini has compiled is a tribute to the national soccer team, and he has done it all through the help of the players and their families. The museum is an original site, and Dr. Fini is equally unique in his love of soccer and eagerness to share this love with the public. If you take an hour or two to visit, you will not be disappointed, especially if you get a chance to speak with Dr. Fini.



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