The Fiorentina Hall of Fame is a pretty recent institution; it was founded as a part of the Museo Fiorentino just 7 years ago. It’s a bit out of the way for the average fan, as it’s nowhere near the Stadio Artemio Franchi in the northeastern part of the city. Instead, the Museo sits in the south-central part of the city, about 1 km south of the famous Boboli Gardens. Despite its out-of-the-way location and rather underdeveloped online presence, it’s definitely worth checking out as the official repository of Fiorentina’s history.
That history received some big new additions in the annual induction ceremony yesterday, which saw 8 new names join the 58 already there. While Enrico Albertosi, Ottavio Baccani, Daniel Bertoni, Gigi Boni, Giancarlo Galdiolo, Mario Maraschi, and Claudio Ranieri are all worthy entries and certainly deserve their places in the club’s history books, the day was mostly about Davide Astori.
The late club captain and Italy international’s death aged just 31 absolutely rocked football last year when he died of a heart attack in the team hotel just before a match against Udinese, and he’s become an incredibly powerful and unifying force in Florence. The memorials to him stretched nearly the length of the Franchi as fans came from all over to pay their respects. Hated rivals Juventus chartered a jet to Florence from London after a midweek clash against Tottenham Hotspur to attend the funeral service, earning probably the only cheer that they’ll ever hear in Tuscany. New skipper Germán Pezzella and his teammates stated their intention to pay whatever fines Serie A wanted to levy against him for wearing the DA13 armband, rather than the new standard issue one, and eventually received an exemption as the league came to its senses. Even players who weren’t in the squad last year have spoken of feeling Astori’s presence this year.
At a small ceremony for accredited press only (there were concerns that the venue wouldn’t be able to hold everyone if it was opened to the public), the Hall of Fame showed a short video tribute to Astori before accepting a 13 shirt to enshrine in the museum. Present as delegates on the player’s behalf were his parents Renato and Anna Astori, accompanied by Fiorentina vice president Gino Scalica, manager Stefano Pioli, and captain Pezzella. Absent from the group were Astori’s partner Francesca Fioretti and daughter Vittoria, although it may well be that she decided to skip the event as it would have simply been too much.
While there’s not a one of us here (or anywhere) who wouldn’t trade all that we have to have Astori back with us, this feels like a very fitting tribute to the man: quiet, tasteful, intimate, and filled with those he was closest to. For the fans, they’ll now be able to visit him in the Hall of Fame, which is as much as we can ask for in this kind of awful circumstance. Hopefully it helps his family and friends, too, as it will provide them with another demonstration of how much love he inspired.
Ciao, Davide, e sei sempre con noi.