Italian Culture In Sport

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The most stereotypical examinations of Italian culture prove to revolve around the three pillars of food, language, and arts. While these may act as paramount ambassadors for the good name of Italy, and the reasons why millions of people flock to the Mediterranean peninsula each year, a fourth one oft times is left out. Sport, and to a more intimate extent, football arguably captures the tendencies, climates, and overarching personalities of Italy better than any other cultural indicator in Italy. Beginning their relationship with the sport when British sailors began docking their ships for respite from their journeys through the Suez Canal and subsequently introducing the game to the ports of Italy, its rapid diffusion has allowed it to develop…show more content…
During this period, Italy had only attained the status of a unified country less than two decades prior. In search of something that may usher in an era of more harmony and cohesiveness between fragmented regions and immense cultural differences, football seemingly fell into the laps of Italy’s leaders. With the power of a sport that people felt the desire to unite around, the goal of “making Italians” that Massimo d’Azeglio had referred to upon the creation of the state suddenly seemed more realistic than the previously dire situation that the Italian government was dealing with. (Martin, 8) Additionally, since Italy industrialized late, they went through a crisis of debt that made Italians worry about their recently formed identity and what connected them all. By the time that football had spread from the ports of Italy to urban centers such as Turin, the game had transitioned into a semi-professional sport. Formed in 1898, the first professional football league in Italy swiftly gained immense popularity. (Martin, 24) These developments immediately made football the enemy of socialists who saw it as a distraction to the working classes instead of the uniting pastime that it was promoted as. The scrutiny it faced as a “capitalist weapon that distracted and diverted workers from political activity, prioritizing team loyalties over those of class.” Suggested that this was the first-time political actors had acknowledged football as a tool, and furthermore projected negative sentiments on its prevalence in Italian life. Hard-line socialist newspapers recognition of football as the pacifier of Italy was a unique interpretation that has maintained itself through the various regime changes in Italy as well. In fact, Mussolini’s own paper Avanti! Promoted direct action to destroying the

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