On this day in 1926, Luigi Ridolfi--a local nobleman and fascist politician--organized the merger of local clubs CS Firenze and PG Libertas to create a superteam, the better to challenge the northwestern hegemony in Italian soccer. In a twist that will shock all current Viola fans for how it differs from the club's modern history, it went rather badly before getting good: the club didn't make it to Serie A until 1931, and was relegated two years later. Still, they got their first Coppa Italia in 1939 and have remained one of the most recognizable teams on the peninsula ever since.
There've been highs. Scudetti in 1955 and 1968. Coppa Italia wins in 1939, 1960, 1965, 1974, 1995, and 2000. The European Cup final 1957, where a questionable penalty handed the win to Alfredo di Stefano and Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Redemption in the (redundantly named) UEFA Cup-Winners' Cup in 1961. The careers of all-time greats Giancarlo Antognoni, Roberto Baggio, and Gabriel Batistuta.
There've been just as many lows, of course. The feckless and fruitless 70s. The skullduggery of Juventus for the 1982 Scudetto and the 1990 UEFA Cup. The riots as Flavio Pontello let the club slide into ruin. The Vittorio Cecchi Gori fiasco and subsequent relegation to Serie C2 and firesale. Tom Henning Ovrebo handing Bayern Munich advancement in the Champions League in the first match that ever completely broke my heart but left me prouder than I'd ever been. Delio Rossi and Adem Ljajic scuffling in the dugout.
Anyways, Fiorentina has plenty to celebrate. The Della Valles have organized a pretty impressive bash, featuring some of the biggest stars in the club's history. Antognoni, with whom they've had a, er, fraught relationship, is back. So is Batigol. And the brilliant but troubled Adrian Mutu, who was the first Viola player I wanted to be. And Socrates, the coolest footballer ever. And dozens of club legends, all back at the Artemio Franchi to celebrate this beautiful, doomed, effervescent, and unkillable team that we all love for so many reasons that don't even matter because what matters is that we love the team.
So share your Fiorentina stories in the comments. Share when and why you became a fan. Or the time you saw one of the players. Share anything. We're partying, because we're Fiorentina, and while we may not be the most successful, we're still the best.