January 22, 2018

Napoli's Francesco II vs. Atalanta's Lombroso

Atalanta fans display a banner with Cesare Lombroso
at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples (images via Facebook)
During the January 2nd Coppa Italia match between Atalanta and Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples, visiting Atalanta fans displayed a banner marred with the repulsive visage of Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), a notorious criminologist who experimented on the severed heads of fallen Bourbon soldiers and loyalists in the wake of the Piedmontese conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was a crude stunt, meant to provoke and denigrate the hosts. It did not go unnoticed. 
At yesterday’s league match between these two sides in Bergamo (Jan. 21st.), Napoli fans retorted with a sign of their own. However, instead of responding with anger, invective, or an equally vulgar prank, the Neapolitans simply unfurled a banner emblazoned with the noble image of HM Francesco II di Borbone, the last king of of the Two Sicilies. 
Napoli fans respond in kind with a Francis II banner
at the Stadio Atleti Azzurrii d'Italia in Bergamo
The imagery and meaning of the two signs could not be more contrasting: Lombroso was a macabre charlatan who tried to prove the inferiority of southern Italians, while our beloved King was a pious and humble man who loved his people and his land. Lombroso and his ilk imposed themselves on a conquered people, while Francis II evokes a time when our people were autonomous and proud. Lombroso is a relic of a squalid and pernicious past, while Francis II symbolizes a hopeful and, dare I say, independent future for our people.
Forza e onore! Viva ‘o Rre!