December 31, 1955, that day at the Olimpico (and on TV) Serie A was played twice

At the dawn of the new year, Napoli found themselves playing against Fiorentina on a neutral pitch in Rome, where Roma-Atalanta was already scheduled. The two matches took place a few hours apart with the first lunch match of Italian football. And Rai broadcast live 180 minutes of great football

That 31 December the Olimpico in Rome did not know rest but managed to write history, resisting in the festive atmosphere and welcoming some of the greatest news of Italian football.

Roma-Atalanta and the Rai idea

Saturday. The advance scheduled was Roma-Atalanta, valid for the thirteenth day of the A. 18-team championship. Rai’s idea, which was about to celebrate two years of activity, was to continue experimenting with the transmission of the first matches on television. It was not the first time but an event still unique for the time, a television offer that responded to the boom in television sales in our country and a tempting opportunity winked at the schedule: Naples and Fiorentina were diverted to a field neutral, once again at the Olimpico. The Azzurri had to serve the last of the two days of disqualification inflicted on Vomero following clashes between supporters in the previous weeks: the perfect assist for an afternoon of football in the same stadium. The moment of the two starting whistles was revised, so much so that the first lunch match of the championship was conceived. At 12.30 priority to the hosts: the Roma of Gyorgy Sarosi and the Giacomo Losi flag would open the round against Bonizzoni’s Bergamo players. At 2.30 pm the turn of the other two. The start of the long afternoon of sport did not disappoint the Giallorossi in the stands: double advantage with Galli and Ghiggia in 37 minutes, distances shortened by Bassetto in the second half before the unfortunate own goal by Corsini (future Roma player) who handed the game over to the Capitoline. The second goal of the first Nerazzurri was useless: a 3-2 that satisfied the Curva Sud, embellished by a penalty saved by Panetti. Just a quarter of an hour’s break to start the second match of the day, Napoli-Fiorentina. A time interval – it should be said – too narrow to let the spectators of the first meeting go out and welcome those of the second. So the Roma fans, mostly in the stands, stayed inside the stadium to enjoy one of the most exciting victories of a former Giallorossi, who today gives his name to the sports center of the Capitoline and who that year sat on the purple bench: Fulvio Bernardini.

15 minutes after Napoli-Fiorentina

All eyes of the neutral public and those who already had the good fortune of owning a television were focused on Napoli-Fiorentina. It was the cartel match of the thirteenth day, not yet for classification reasons, but more for the quality of the game expressed by the two teams. Fiorentina, already considered the best team of the tournament, boasted a solid defense and strong attack from winger Julinho and striker Giuseppe Virgili. Napoli also collected compliments for the offensive (although lacking in Amedeo Amadei’s New Year’s Day), but recorded weaknesses in the backward ward. Doubles by Montuori and Virgili for Fiorentina, goals by Jeppson and Vitali in Napoli. The final result was a 4-2 favorable to the Tuscans who went to the news for the emotions of the first 27 minutes of the second half when four goals were scored. Football show also for the spectators on the sofa and successful experiment. There was serenity in that last year, the air of a day of celebration mixed with the emotions of sport and the curiosity of the dawn of a new way of conceiving events. And, finally, for one of those four teams it was a good 1956: with five days to spare, one defeat and just twenty goals conceded, the Viola at the end of the season left Milan behind, winning the tricolor, the first of two, also thanks to the day of the double challenge in an afternoon at the Olimpico.

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December 31, 1955, that day at the Olimpico (and on TV) Serie A was played twice