Showing posts with label Prati. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prati. Show all posts

11 December 2018

Fabrizio Ravanelli - footballer

Juventus star who became a favourite at Middlesbrough

Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies in four years with Juventus
Fabrizio Ravanelli won five trophies
in four years with Juventus
The footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli, who won five trophies with Juventus between 1992 and 1996 before stunning the football world by joining unfashionable Middlesbrough in the English Premier League, was born on this day in 1968 in Perugia.

Playing alongside Gianluca Vialli and Alessandro Del Piero in the Juventus forward line, Ravanelli scored in the 1996 Champions League final as the Turin side beat Ajax in Rome before signing for Middlesbrough just six weeks later.

The ambitious club from the northeast of England paid £7 million (€8.5m) for Ravanelli, a club record fee and at the time the third largest sum paid for any player by an English club.

It was part of a huge spending spree by Middlesbrough, managed by former England captain Bryan Robson, that brought a string of high-profile signings to the club's Riverside Stadium including the Brazilian playmaker Juninho and England international Nick Barmby and another Italian, the Inter defender Gianluca Festa.

Ravanelli made an immediate impact, scoring a hat-trick on his Premier League debut against Liverpool, and ended the season with 31 goals in league and cup matches.

He also helped Middlesbrough reach both domestic cup finals, although it was a disappointing season for the club, who were runners-up on both occasions and were relegated from the Premier League.

Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Fabrizio Ravanelli, back row, second from right, lines up with
the Juventus team before the 1996 Champions League final
Ravanelli, whose position as a fans’ favourite was somewhat diminished by his outspoken comments about the club’s facilities and the town of Middlesbrough itself, had a further season in England when he joined Derby County for the 2001-02 campaign, but also suffered relegation there.

Although he finished second in the French Ligue 1 with Marseille, Ravanelli’s successes were all won it his native Italy.

A prolific scorer for his hometown club Perugia in Serie C and Serie B football at the start of his career, he had spells with Avellino, Casertana and Reggiana before joining Juventus in 1992, where he had to compete for a place in the forward line with not only Vialli and Del Piero but Roberto Baggio, Paolo Di Canio, Pierluigi Casiraghi and Andreas Möller.

After initially struggling to obtain a starting spot under coach Giovanni Trapattoni, due to this fierce competition, he worked hard to improve his skill level and eventually managed to hold down a place.

Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
Ravanelli was a club record £7 million signing
when he joined Middlesbrough in July 1996
During the 1994–95 season, under Marcello Lippi, he played a key role as the club claimed a domestic double of Serie A and Coppa Italia, playing in a three-man attack alongside Vialli, and either Baggio or Del Piero.

The Supercoppa Italia and the Champions League came the following season, to go with the medal he had won in 1993 as part of Trapattoni’s UEFA Cup-winning team.

Returning to Italy after his time with Middlesbrough and Marseille, Ravanelli was a double-winner again as Sven-Göran Eriksson’s Lazio team took the Serie A and Coppa Italia titles in 2000-01, adding his second Supercoppa Italia medal the following year.

A dynamic, physically strong left-footed striker known for his strong work ethic and determined temperament, as well as his eye for goal, Ravanelli earned the nickname 'The White Feather' because of his prematurely grey hair. In addition to his club success, he won 22 caps for the Italian national team, scoring eight goals.

He finished his playing career where it began, with Perugia, in 2005, before starting a coaching career that has not yet brought him success.  After two years as a youth coach at Juventus, he was appointed head coach of French Ligue 1 club AJ Ajaccio in the summer of 2013, but was sacked after just five months with only one win from 12 games.

A regular football pundit for Sky Italia, Fox Sports, and Mediaset, Ravanelli signed a contract in June this year to coach the Ukrainian Premier League club Arsenal Kyiv but resigned in September after only three months in charge.

A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
A plaque placed in Piazza della Libertà to commemorate
the 100th anniversary in 2000 of the founding of SS Lazio
Travel tip:

Although they have played their home games at the Stadio Olimpico, the ground in the north of Rome that they share with city rivals AS Roma, the SS Lazio football club used to play in the Prati district, now a chic neighbourhood known for its wide, sweeping avenues, elegant architecture and affluent residents. SS Lazio was formed in 1900 by a group of young men at a meeting near the Piazza della Libertà on the banks of the Tiber.  Prati is also the home of the vast Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour that houses the Supreme Court.

Hotels in Rome from TripAdvisor

Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main squares, home to the city's cathedral
Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre is one of the city's main
squares, home to the city's cathedral
Travel tip:

Perugia, where Fabrizio Ravanelli was born, is a city of around 170,000 inhabitants built on a hill in Umbria, of which it is the regional capital.  Established in the Etruscan period, it remained an important city, always a target for invading armies because of its strategic value.  Nowadays, it is home to some 34,000 students at the University of Perugia and is a notable centre for culture and the arts, hosting the world-renowned Umbria Jazz Festival each July. It also hosts a chocolate festival – Perugia being the home of the Perugina chocolate company, famous for Baci.  The artist Pietro Vannucci, commonly known as Perugino, lived in nearby Città della Pieve and was the teacher of Raphael.

More reading:

Marcello Lippi, Italy's third World Cup-winning coach

How Roberto Baggio became a football icon

The seven titles that put Giuseppe Trapattoni out on his own

Also on this day:

1475: The birth of Pope Leo X

1912: The birth of movie producer Carlo Ponti

1944: The birth of singing star Gianni Morandi


4 April 2017

Francesco De Gregori - singer-songwriter

Performer inspired by songs of hero Bob Dylan

Francesco de Gregori on stage in 2008
Francesco de Gregori on stage in 2008
The singer-songwriter Francesco De Gregori - popularly known as "Il Principe dei cantautori" (the prince of the singer-songwriters) – was born on this day in 1951.

Born in Rome, De Gregori has released around 40 albums in a career spanning 45 years, selling more than five million records.

Famous for the elegant and often poetic nature of his lyrics, De Gregori was once described by Bob Dylan as an “Italian folk hero”.

De Gregori acknowledges Dylan as one if his biggest inspirations and influences, along with Leonard Cohen and the Italian singer Fabrizio de André.  Covers of Dylan songs have regularly featured in his stage performances. He made an album in 2015 entitled Love and Theft: De Gregori Sings Bob Dylan.

Born into a middle class family – his father was a librarian, his mother a teacher - De Gregori spent his youth living in Rome or on the Adriatic coast at Pescara. He began to develop his musical career at the Folkstudio in Rome’s Trastevere district, where Dylan had performed in 1962.

De Gregori (left) and Lucio Dalla in Genoa in 2010
De Gregori (left) and Lucio Dalla in Genoa in 2010
He became friends with fellow singer-songwriters Antonello Venditti, Mimmo Locasciulli and Giorgio Lo Cascio. It was alongside Venditti that he made his professional debut and the two collaborated on an album, Theorius Campus, in 1972. Venditti had more songs and was considered to have a better voice and when their record label indicated that they were more interested in Venditti, the partnership broke up.

De Gregori's 1973 solo debut album, Alice Non Lo Sa, did not impress the critics, who were not enthused either by his 1974 follow-up. But with his 1975 album, Rimmel, he began to enjoy some success. Reviewers liked his reflective and intelligent lyrics – less obscure than some of his earlier songs – and the album benefitted from some input from Lucio Dalla, with whom he struck a lasting friendship.

In 1976 he had another success with Bufalo Bill but an incident in Milan during a tour the following year led to him abruptly quitting the music business.

Bob Dylan in 2010
Bob Dylan in 2010
De Gregori had been a member of the Italian Communist Party and his songs often had a political theme, as did those of many Italian performers at that time, but while he was on stage at the PalaLido arena in Milan he was targeted by a group of left-wing extremists who began a protest during the show, accusing him of using left-wing messages merely to sell his records.  Fearing physical attack, he left the stage and the concert was abandoned, after which he announced that his career was over.

For the next few months he worked as a clerk in a book and music shop but was persuaded to resume his career the following year. A new album, De Gregori, included a song, "Generale," that would become one of his signature tracks. Soon afterwards, he joined Dalla on a successful tour entitled Banana Republic.  The two would later host a music show on the Rai television network, entitled Due.

Ironically, the title track of his next album, Viva l’Italia, was adopted as an anthem by the Italian Socialist Party.  In 1982 he recorded Titanic, the album many critics consider his tour de force, and since then, after a period working as a journalist for the newspaper L’Unità, De Gregori has recorded albums at a rate of one every year. His latest, Sotto il Vulcano, was released in February this year.

Married to Alessandra, whom he met at high school, De Gregori has two sons, Marco and Federico.  His nickname – Il Principe – was given to him by a journalist and apparently related to his sometimes haughty manner when dealing with the press.

Via Garibaldi in Trastevere
Via Garibaldi in Trastevere
Travel tip:

The Folkstudio club opened in 1961 in a cellar in Via Garibaldi in the Trastevere area of Rome. Its founder was an American painter and musician, Harold Bradley Jr, who invited a then little known Bob Dylan to play there soon after it opened. The club, which at first promoted jazz and blues musicians, eventually hosted performers of many different styles and helped launch the careers of many Italian artists. Bradley moved back to the United States in 1967 but music lover Giancarlo Cesaroni took over. The club’s premises moved subsequently to the library L'Uscita, in Via dei Banchi Vecchi, then to Via Sacchi and later Via Frangipane, near the Colosseum.  A plaque on the wall in Via Garibaldi marks its original home.

Prati is an affluent Roman neighbourhood
Prati is an affluent Roman neighbourhood
Travel tip:

De Gregori was raised in the Prati district of Rome, close to the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, which is now an affluent residential neighbourhood which is popular with tourists for offering a relatively quiet place to stay that still provides easy access to the city’s historical centre. It has many authentic Roman trattorie as well as a host of bars and pubs.

More reading:

The enduring talents of Antonello Venditti

How pop singer Lucio Dalla found inspiration in opera great Enrico Caruso

The story of Adelmo Fornaciari - otherwise known as Zucchero

Also on this day:

1752: The birth of composer Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli

(Picture credits: De Gregori and Dalla by Gianky; Bob Dylan by Alberto Cabello; Via Garibaldi by Mark Ahsmann; Prati street by Lalupa; all via Wikimedia Commons)