If you are like me you have seen better days as a Fiorentina fan, but as a Fiorentina fan, we know all days aren’t made sunny. Our passion for Fiorentina is guided by more than just wins and losses, it is guided more by the moments we share and the songs we sing together. The stories we tell and the players we love. Our pride is in club, players, but also each other.
Simone Brunetti is one of those people who displays this the best. His passion for Fiorentina and everything it stands for is palpable across social media. He carries his love of Firenze and Fiorentina into every race he runs.
Born in Firenze in 1978, Simone grew up in Sesto Fiorentina. He spent the formidable years of his childhood playing football at the local football school, dreaming of his favorite team, Fiorentina. Simone tells us where his love of the Viola comes from. “My passion was born thanks to my father, my mother and my uncle, all rigorously great Viola fans. I remember my uncle taking me to the Franchi stadium when I was 10, at the time it was routine on the last day of the championship to make an invasion. I was on his shoulders as we made our way to the middle of the legendary green pitch.”
When we speak to many fans who grew up in and around Firenze, almost all of them spent their weekends in Curva Fiesole. It is a right of passage for locals, and for Simone it is no exception. “Growing up I began to go with friends in the middle of Fiesole. Even if I was not part of it, we were with the boys of the Collettivo Autonomo Viola, a great generation of ultras respected everywhere.” We asked Simone what memory sticks out to him most, he replied. “The 1996 Coppa Italia Final in Bergamo, which I saw with my best friend Ale. These were beautiful times with Bati, Rui and Toldo. Many more joys than pains.”
You can probably guess his second favorite memory, the 4-2 against Juventus on Saint October 20th Day in 2013, which he watched from the Tribuna.
Just as his parents did for him, Simone plans on passing his love for Fiorentina to his daughter, who was born in 2019. He has also has started a new family tradition, honoring Davide Astori.
One thing that I knew about Simone through his posts on social media and eventually in our correspondence is that this is a man of character, of values and one who respects those players most who lead their lives in that likeness. In recent memory there have been few who displayed better character and class than that of our own late great Capitano, Davide Astori. The loss of Astori is something that hit every Fiorentina fan like a freight train. For Simone it was life altering.
“March 4th, 2018 is a day that few will ever forget. In addition to being a footballer, our captain was a man and a simple person, never a word out of place, respectful towards everyone. Davide was one of us. Since Davide passed away, I always display a banner for our captain in the parterre tribuna.”
Passions can come at any age, at any time. For Simone he realized he had a passion for running in 2009 while with his friend looking up at Monte Morello [just above Sesto Fiorentino and Prato]. “After a half-hour of jogging we decided to climb up Monte Morello. We saw the top from below. We scaled the mountain step by step and eventually got to the top. It was fantastic. Then we ran back down.”
He ran his first marathon in 2014. He has run the Rome Marathon in 2018, which happened to also be scheduled on the same weekend of Rome-Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico just a day earlier. “Of course, I was present in the Fiorentina section. Because of the Viola gladiators we were victorious. The next day I showed up to the starting grid of the Roma Marathon wearing a white shirt with Vroce Viola on it [A voluntary association Simone belongs to] and DA13 on the back.”
We mentioned a banner that Simone displays proudly at every home game with Davide Astori on it stating “Always with us”. That Davide Astori banner is not only displayed inside of the Franchi, it has made its rounds to many of Simone’s marathons.
A few months after losing Davide, Simone ran in the Firenze Marathon. It was important for Simone to honor his Capitano. “With my friend Massimo, we dedicated km 13 to Davide. Massimo stood with the Davide banner, waiting for me. He handed it to me and I ran with it for that km.”
New York City Marathon
A year ago today was the 49th annual running of the New York City Marathon. With a new American owner, a passion for running and a desire to honor Davide Astori it was a natural decision to make his way back to New York for the Marathon.
“I wanted to run the New York Marathon to pay homage to Davide. I reached out to Viola Club New York and spoke with Alessandro Sisto. He and legendary Fiorentina supporter Nicola Corvaja came to my hotel to greet me. We discussed how we could meet on the day of the race at mile marker 13, naturally. This is the most important marathon in the world, but it was important that we honored our Capitano.” Simone continued, “When I saw the viola colors standing at the 13th mile I was overcome with emotions. My eyes filled with tears and my legs began to shiver. My thoughts and gaze moved upwards towards Davide who was looking down at us.”
Simone also dedicated his race last year to Rocco Commisso. “Reading his story is what struck me the most. He is a person who knows his stuff. He started with a cardboard suitcase and grew it into an empire. I hope he can bring Fiorentina to where it deserves. Both the city of Firenze and the fans deserve better.”
We did ask Simone if he has any other traditions for every race. He did respond that he has one. “I always bring with my the legendary scarf to cross the finish line – Juve Merda.”