The summer doesn’t really begin until Fiorentina descends on Moena, and that means the summer begins in 3 days. The Viola arrive on Sunday, 10 July 2022, to begin their 10th straight preseason camp at the lovely village in the Dolomites. While there will be the usual carefully-manicured media interactions for players and staff, open training sessions, and the odd supporters’ party, everyone’s here for the preseason friendlies.
The first 4 matches will be played at the Stadio Carlo Benatti in Moena. On 27 July, the team will fly to Austria to complete the preseason program with a couple of higher-profile matches. They’ll swing through Seville for a date with some old friends before returning to Florence a week before Serie A begins.
vs Real Vicenza
Tuesday, 12 July 2022, at 4:00 PM GMT/11:00 PM EST
Not to be confused with local rival Vicenza, Real Vicenza Villaggio del Sole S.S.D. was founded via merger in 2010 and, since 2015, have fielded amateur youth and developmental sides. The team’s website doesn’t seem to exist anymore, so I can’t find a roster, but expect a bunch of youngsters wearing red and white stripes, as you’d expect of an outfit nicknamed the Biancorossi.
vs Brianza Olginatese and Sanvitese
Saturday, 16 July 2022, at 4:15 PM GMT/11:15 PM EST
This one’s going to be a little wonky, so bear with me. Eccellenza sides Brianza Olginatese and Sanvitese will play 45 minutes against each other an hour before this one kicks off, with the winner facing Fiorentina for another 45 minutes and the loser taking them on in the second half. I can’t think of the last time the Viola were involved in a triangular match like this, but it’s sort of fun and whimsical and feels like the sort of thing that hasn’t happened since about 1954.
Brianza Olginatese are based in Olginate, a town of 7200 about 40 km/25 mi northeast of Milan and just south of Lecco. The Bianconeri (boo, hiss) play in the Eccellenza (the 5th tier) after finishing 19th in Serie D last year, although that’s familiar territory for a club that’s bounced between the two leagues for the past few years. They’ve reached Serie C in 1947-1948, which is their high water mark. They’ll likely play a 3-5-2. Having dropped down, they’ve lost several of last year’s standouts. CB Matteo Viganò, who scored 4 goals from defense, is one of the top returners, while veteran Matteo Momentè will lead the line.
Sanvitese is based in San Vito al Tagliamento (birthplace of Massimo Donati and Bryan Cristante), about 90 km/55 mi northeast of Venice and 20 km/ 12 mi east of Pordenone. First founded in 1920, it’s spent most of its existence in the 4th and 5th tiers, they’ve won a couple of trophies (the Eccellenza in 1994, the amateur Veneto-Venezia Giulia Cup in 1994). I can’t find any info on the squad, as there’s no official team website, so they could line up in any old way.
vs AC Trento 1921
Friday, 22 July 2022, at 4:00 PM GMT/11:00 PM EST
The Aquilotti have been around since 1921 but have mostly rattled around the upper echelons of the amateur leagues, although they clawed their way back into Serie D in 2020 and then climbed to Serie C in 2021, winning in the playoff last year to confirm their status in the third tier. Known for hosting stars like Beppe Signori, Attilio Tesser, and Francesco Toldo, Trento have another Viola connection: former Primavera standout Matteo Chinellato will relish a chance to compete against his old outfit. Manager Lorenzo D’Anna (another former Viola player) usually employs a 3-4-2-1ish shape. One time super prospect Cristian Pasquato and former Salernitana and Venezia forward Riccardo Bocalon are the star players.
vs US Triestina Calcio
Saturday, 23 July 2022, at 4:00 PM GMT/11:00 PM EST, at the Benatti
Based in Trieste, Unione boast several excellent nicknames: the Alabardati (the Halberded Ones), the Giuliani (a reference to the late Roman empire), the Muli (the Mules), and the Greghi (the Herdsmen). Having finished as runners up in the 1947-1948 Serie A season and employed legends like Nereo Rocco, Béla Guttman, and Cesare Maldini. They’ve wandered in the wilderness a bit but battled their way back to the third tier in 2016-2017 and have threatened the promotion places since. Massimo Volta, Wálter López, and Marcello Trotta are their best-known players. Former Juventus youth boss Andrea Bonatti favored a 4-3-3 last year but could switch to a 4-4-2 as well.
Saturday, 30 July, 8:00 PM GMT/3:00 PM EST, at the Tivoli-Neu Stadion in Innsbruck, Austria
The 22-times Turkish champions endured a miserable, 13th-place campaign last time out, but remain a side packed with quality and should provide a good benchmark for the Conference League. Manager Okan Buruk has generally favored a cautious 4-3-3 predicated around counterattacking but has plenty of quality to take the game to opponents as well with international-caliber players like Fernando Muslera, Alexandru Cicâldău, and Patrick van Aanholt. Keep an eye on highly-rated winger Kerem Aktürkoğlu as well in what should be a fascinating contest. And, if Erick is still on the roster at this point, don’t be surprised to see him get a bit feisty, considering the unpleasant year he spent with Lions on loan. Also, this is the only preseason match that doesn’t have a scheduled location or time, so keep a close eye on things to make sure you don’t miss it.
Wednesday, 3 August, 7:00 PM GMT/2:00 PM EST, at the Untersberg-Arena in Grödig, Austria
This is a genuinely weird fixture. It’s not that frequent for club teams to play international teams and hasn’t been for close to a century. Qatar, of course, are already qualified for the World Cup as the hosts and are relegated to scraping up any friendlies they can find. Fiorentina weren’t even their first choice here, as Watford fans protested against the nation’s human rights record and ultimately got the tie canceled. Under long-time manager Félix Sánchez Bas, they’ve mostly played a 5-3-2. The star man is Almoez Ali up front, but unless you’re a big fan of the sport in the Gulf States, don’t expect to recognize many of these players; the entire squad plies its trade domestically and is drawn from just 5 clubs.
vs Real Betis
Saturday, 6 August, 8:00 PM GMT/3:00 PM EST, at the Estadio Benito Villamarín in Seville, Spain
Perhaps the most emotionally fulfilling tie is this one, as it will feature reunions with former captain Germán Pezzella and everyone’s favorite naked, furniture-punching uncle Joaquín. Los Verdiblancos have a fair amount of quality beyond those two, starting with superstar trequartista Nebil Fekir, who’s at the heart of their 4-2-3-1. After spending a decade wandering in the desert, including relegation in 2014, they’ve finished 6th and 5th in the past couple of years, largely due to the accumulation of sharp, technical players and the nous of manager Manuel Pellegrini. Expect them to keep the ball neatly and drop deep without it to allow themselves space to counter. They’re fun, so this should be a really enjoyable fixture.
While we haven’t heard anything from the club, preseason friendlies are usually streamed live on the Fiorentina website and YouTube channel, and may be on Facebook as well. We’ll provide links for each on the day of.