Back in London again. I had a tremendous couple of days in Turin, during which I learnt two things from Italian television:
- The Pope sounds incredibly similar to Marlon Brando playing Don Vito Corleone during his Sunday broadcast from The Vatican.
- To be a successful comedian in Italy, it helps if you’re able to mimic the mentally ill.
It wasn’t all televisual treats, mind – I spent much of the weekend being given an in-depth guided tour of the city by my host Claudia, one of the highlights being a visit to the Stadio Delle Alpi to watch Serie A leaders Juventus take on Chievo. While the stadium is architectually magnificent, a vision in concrete and cable, it’s a lousy place to watch football, processing none of the gladitorial feel of other great European stadia I’ve visited like Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Madrid’s Bernebeu, the San Siro in Milan or Northampton Town’s Sixfields Complex. Built to replace the aging Stadio Communale in time for the 1990 World Cup finals, the running-track surrounding the pitch means that the nearest fans are a good forty metres away from the action, and any atmosphere generated tends to evaporate into the alpine sky. Ironically, both Turin teans are now anxious to return to the original city-centre stadium, which has simply been left to stagnate, never redeveloped. The game itself never really gets off the ground, Juventus winning without ever breaking sweat, and Chievo never looking likely to score, even when presented with chances to do so. After a first half in which Marcelo Zalayeta gives the home side a scarcely-deserved lead, things liven up a little after the break, with Pavel Nedved pulling the strings all over the pitch then hammering home from 25 yards to put the result beyond doubt. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a footballer of rare and startling brilliance on his day is having an absolute nightmare, hopelessly miss-placing pass after pass, but even he gets on the score-sheet before the game is over. 3-0.
There’s a few pictures here.
Next? Ajax, I think. Does anyone know how I get match tickets without buying a hotel/travel package?