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A guide to the Fiorentina Ultras

After reaching the Europa Conference League final last season, and finding themselves just five points outside the Champions League spots halfway through this season, ACF Fiorentina are enjoying a return to form after some difficult years.

One thing that has never wavered, however, is their support. Fiorentina Ultras are known as some of the most passionate in Italy.

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Fiorentina supporters watch on as their side loses 1-0 to Inter last month. Photo by Icon Sport

Core identity

Unlike some Ultras groups, Fiorentina Ultras are famously politically neutral. Rather than voicing any particular political identity, their motto is “Né di sinistra né di destra”, which translates as “Neither left nor right”.

Ahead of their clash with West Ham in the Europa Conference League final last year, Italian journalist Roberto De Ponti wrote in The Telegraph that “In reality, Fiorentina’s ultras are known more for their imagination than for their nastiness, and in Italy they are recognised for being warm but ultimately fair fans. In the league this year, the fans in the more expensive stands have been the most problematic, with isolated insults to opposing coaches and, unfortunately, a few racist phrases.”

However, as is common among Italian Ultras, they have teamed up with other sets of Ultras, and their close relationship with fans of Hellas Verona, who are traditionally right-wing, does mean that some Fiorentina Ultras go against their neutral ideals.

Fiorentina Ultras are also defined by their hatred for Juventus supporters, who they call “hunchbacks” – a symbol of good luck in Italy. After Juventus beat Fiorentina to the 1981-82 title thanks to some questionable refereeing, Fiorentina fans have maintained that the Old Lady only ever win anything through being lucky. Fiorentina Ultras have even performed special rituals in which they “de-hunchback” players signed from Juventus.

This hatred was stoked further when Fiorentina icon Roberto Baggio was sold to Juventus in 1990, leading to riots across Florence.

Last year, the Fiorentina Ultras groups also boycotted a game at Juventus in response to the Turin club raising their ticket prices for away supporters.

Key groups

There are more than 100 Fiorentina Ultras groups across the Stadio Artemio Franchi’s Curva Fiesole, but three stand out more than the rest.

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Luca Ranieri and Cristiano Biraghi celebrate in front of the Fiorentina faithful. Photo by Icon sport

Ultras Viola

The Ultras Viola were one of the first Fiorentina Ultras groups. Formed in 1973 after a particularly violent clash with a set of Genoa Ultras, the group was led by Stefano “Pump” Biagini, who wanted to create a band of so-called “super supporters”. Unsurprisingly, the group would be characterised by their fighting ability.

The Ultras Viola describe the period after their formation as the “glorious 1970s”, in which they were involved in famous fights, and notoriously stole banners from other sets of supporters.

However, this would not last – the group teamed up with Roma’s Romanisti Ultras for a brief period, but a dispute over stolen flags led to their break-up. With that came a weakening of the Ultras Viola, and eventually their dissolution in 1983.

Colletivo Autonomo Viola

Formed in 1978, the Colletivo Autonomo Viola rose to power in the early 1980s and soon took over from the Ultras Viola.

The group controlled the Curva Fiesole right up until 2011, when it disbanded, leader Stefano Sartoni citing a changing climate in football.

Speaking to the crowd at the time, Sartoni said: “Too many things have changed here in Florence as well as in general and given the current times, I believe it will be difficult to return to the glories of the past, even if the hope is and will always be to see the Fiesole of the past again as soon as possible, that Curva admired, envied and feared by many.”

“An era ends, a great love ends and, as often happens, there remains that pain that cannot be described, an indelible mark on the heart, in addition to the album of memories that we will keep forever and no one will ever be able to scratch.”

Alcool Campi

There is one more Ultras group to mention, but this time not for the right reasons. The Alcool Campi were known in the 1980s as a fierce, violent section of the Curva.

They lasted up until 1989 when a group of Alcool Campi petrol-bombed a train full of Bologna fans. Tragically, a 14-year-old died of third-degree burns and the group quickly disbanded.

Famous Tifos by Fiorentina Ultras

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The Curva Fiesole's Tifos are instantly recognisable by their colour. Photo by Icon Sport

The Curva Fiesole’s Tifos are defined by two things – the city’s rich cultural history, and the colour purple.

Last year in a match against Inter, a huge banner with stretched the length of the Curva referenced the Siege of Florence in 1529, reading “Upon reaching our shores the opponents throw their shield and swords to the ground and surrender”.

On a similar note in 2022, upon Dusan Vlahovic’s first return to Stadio Artemio Franchi following his move to Juventus, the Curva “welcomed” him back with a massive Tifo reading “Fiorenza, thy name spreads over hell”, a reference to Dante’s Inferno.

Ultras also handed out 10,000 whistles at the entrance to the stadium that day, in an attempt to put Vlahovic off whenever he touched the ball.

But not all of the Curva’s Tifos are meant to be threatening. In 2007, the Ultras paid their respects with a Tifo commemorating Manuela Caffi, the wife of then-manager Cesare Prandelli, who had recently died of breast cancer.

Similarly in 2018, following the sudden death of club captain Davide Astori at just 31 years old, thousands of fans held up flags to honour his legacy.

Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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