Thursday, 17 April 2008

Il Campo Testaccio

AS Roma was founded in 1927, and two years later moved into a brand spanking new, specially built stadium. This was the much celebrated Campo Testaccio, built under supervision of one Silvio Sensi, an engineer. When Roma played their first game at the new ground in November 1929, his son Franco was just three years old. Today Franco Sensi is Roma's longest serving club president.

Testaccio was, and had been for many years, the working class heart of Rome. It was the slaughterhouse district, built alongside the so-called Monte Testaccio - not a real hill but an "artificial" hill standing since the Classical period, made up of ancient refuse, broken pottery and discarded building materials.Above all it is made of amphorae, chiefly dating to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. This quartiere popolare was the heart of the new club's support and the logical place for the much needed new ground.

The Campo Testaccio was a built on an English model, specifically modelled on Goodison Park: Archie Leitch's Bullens Road stand had been completed in 1926 and was the very height of stadium architecture chic. Four wooden stands were painted in yellow and red.

The Campo Testaccio was small by English standards, with a capacity of just 20,000; it had a pitch which could be made wider or narrower on a game by game basis, depending on the style of play of the opposition. It became a legendary fortress for the giallorossi: the records for the ground read Played 161, Won 103, Drawn 31, Lost 26. In those 161 home games, Roma scored no fewer than 377 goals, conceding 111.

Funnily enough the first scudetto (in '42) didn't come until after the club had already left the ground, in 1940. The ground was declared unsafe, and in any case the regime was keen to move the club into the official Fascist Party stadium (now the Stadio Flaminio). But the Campo Testaccio lived on the hearts of the club's fans, and in the song which had been composed in the early 30s by Totò Castellucci celebrating the ground and the team, and which is still sung today. Not every game; and sometimes there are periods when it isn't sung for a while; but of late it has been much in vogue. The tune is great, the words are hard to learn (the litany of players' names especially) and the effect when [almost] the whole Curva Sud belt it out is spine-tingling.

La canzone di Testaccio

Cor core acceso de la passione
undici atleti Roma chiamò
e sott'ar sole der Cuppolone
'na bella maja e du' colori je portò.

Li du' colori de Roma nostra
oggi signora der futtebbal,
non più maestri né professori
mo' sò dolori
perché "Roma" ce sa fà.

C'è Masetti ch'è primo portiere;
De Micheli scrucchia ch'è 'n piacere;
poi c'è quer torello de Bodini;
cor gran Furvio Bernardini,
che dà scòla all'argentini.

Poi c'è stà Ferraris er mediano,
granne nazionale e capitano;
Chini, Fasanelli e Costantino,
cò Lombardi e cò D'Aquino;
Vorche (Volk, n.d.r.) è 'n mago pe' segnà!

Campo Testaccio
ciai tanta gloria,
nessuna squadra ce passerà.
Ogni partita
è 'na vittoria,
ogni romano è n'bon tifoso e sà strillà.

Petti d'acciaio, astuzia e core
corpi de testa da fa 'ncantà.
Passaggi ar volo co' precisione
e via er pallone che la rete và a trovà.

Quanno che 'ncomincia la partita
ogni tifosetta se fà ardita,
strilla Forza Roma a tutto spiano
co' la bandieretta 'n mano,
perchè cià er core romano.

L'ala centra e Vorche (Volk, n.d.r.) tira e segna,
questo è er gioco e "Roma" ve lo 'nsegna!
Cari professori appatentati
sete belli e liquidati
perché Roma ce sa fà.

Semo giallorossi e lo sapranno
tutti l'avversari de st'artranno.
Fin che Sacerdoti ce stà accanto
porteremo sempre er vanto
Roma nostra brillerà


punk said...

great post!!!!
its mythic this ground
noi abbiamo un sogno
ricostrurire il campo testaccio...

roswitha said...

Magnificent post, SP. Thanks for it -- the pictures are beautiful, too.

[And I notice you have been reading Brent-Dyer -- I found and re-read the first ten or so a month ago myself. Can I put in a request for a future post on your thoughts on a tophole school story?]

Anonymous said...

Fab, just fab, just fab. Do you sing it unaccompanied? Is that tune a tango, perhaps?
- dV

jasperaldo (ASR) said...

good post!

ginkers said...

I love these historical details of Italian football. It is easy to forget just how rich the heritage of the game is in among all the flashy nonsense going on in the modern day.

Spangly Princess said...

Absolutely, ginkers, I think it's important not to forget our heritage or the roots of the game, which is easy to do nowadays.

DV: it could well be a tango, actually. I can envisage tangoing to it - not personally, alas, since I've never learned. That would be cool though. We sing it unaccompanied, and not everyone knows the words, while lots of people know some bits and not others, so it tends to ebb and flow in loudness (giving it *gasp* dynamics of a sort, a thing which football chants rarely have much of).

And thanks for your kind words, people.

Henry Ford said...

I think that 'to ebb and flow in loudness' is a fair description of the dynamics of most choral ensembles. xxx