Napoli fan culture | Reliving every moment

Share

Passionate about photography and home town football club S. S. C. Napoli, Andrea Ardolino has travelled throughout Italy and Europe to compile a 15 year dossier of memorable moments.

“I live in a small town on the northern outskirts of Naples,” said graphic designer Ardolino. “I have never lived away from my home, but I have travelled a lot, just to see the matches of Napoli, my favourite team.”

Napoli football fans
Napoli supporters. © Andrea Ardolino

“When I saw for the first time 70,000 people shouting all together I I fell in love. From there my story with Napoli began.”

Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
The Stadio San Paolo, now known as Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. Capacity 54,726. © Andrea Ardolino

Ardolino has developed a love of photography throughout his 15 year career, setting up a dark room at his home to develop his pictures.

“I am not a professional photographer but sometimes photography helps with my work,” he said, “and using a darkroom made me understand many things digital photography kept hidden from me.”

Napoli football fans
The stadium is the third largest football stadium in Italy, after Milan’s San Siro and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, but the largest to be used by only one team. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Napoli fans, Stadio San Paolo. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Stadio San Paolo. © Andrea Ardolino

Naples, and Diego Maradona in particular, are his first loves, inspired by his first trip to a game at Naples San Paolo ground, the stadium now named Diego Armando Maradona in honour of his hero.

Ardolino was aged 13 and that first game created a lasting impression.

“When I saw for the first time 70,000 people shouting all together I I fell in love,” he said. “From there my story with Napoli began.”

“Maradona  is my football idol,” he said. “How could he not be? In every street you walk through in Naples there is a reference to Diego. He is a god here and you cannot help but love him.

“The strongest footballer I have ever seen playing live is Ronaldo, the real and original “phenomenon”, not Cristiano, and also Roberto Baggio. These two players are second only to Diego, the God of Football.”

Napoli football fans
Napoli fans. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Napoli fans away verus Liverpool, In the Anfield Road End of Anfield stadium. © Andrea Ardolino

Fifteen years of taking pictures have given Ardolino more than enough material  for a photographic memoir. 

He was looking for a photography project, then one evening, looking back over his football pictures, he realised it was right there In front of him.

“I had the theme right there before my eyes,” he enthused, “telling my story from the stands.”

He has used a variety of equipment over the years, both digital and analogue, and it was picking up a friend’s digital camera at work for the first time that inspired him.

“I clearly remember the first picture I took,” he recalled. “The red ashtray on my desk, by the mouse.” He was hooked. “I fell in love,” he said. 

All aspects of art inspire design and communications graduate Ardolino. From stills photography he lists Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Robert Capa, Ernst Haas, as favourites, “legendary photographers” he said.

Napoli football fans
Stadio San Siro, Milan. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Napoli aways days, Stadio San Siro. © Andrea Ardolino

“Football belongs to the people and people are the most fascinating and colourful thing there is.”

Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Napoli fans inside the San Siro, Mailan. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
The San Siro, Milan. Capacity 80,018. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Benevento away, Stadio Ciro Vigorito. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Parma away, Stadio Ennio Tardini. © Andrea Ardolino

“In every street you walk through in Naples there is a reference to Diego. He is a god here and you cannot help but love him.”

Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Napoli supporters. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Sant’Anastasia Calcio 1945, Naples. © Andrea Ardolino

He is also moved by the work of film directors Federico Fellini, Monicelli, Leone, Rossellini: “Italians who have helped create cinema history,” he said.

Ardolino has found plenty of material in the stadiums around the country.

“Football belongs to the people,” he said, “and people are the most fascinating and colourful thing there is. 

“Each person is different from the other but you can also see when all different people do the same thing, like eating a sandwich outside the stadium for example, it is a universal gesture. 

“It is different in every place, but habits, foods, languages, all the more normal things that a person does are evident in the stadium.

“If I say subway, beer, pub, chips, flag, you can’t help but think about football or a stadium. The rituals, the habits that exist before and after the match are the

high spots for every street photographer.

“I can definitely say that I have always photographed what interested me. I have always kept my eyes open looking for that (special) gesture or movement.”

Napoli football fans
Supporters at the Mondragone sports stadium. © Andrea Ardolino
Napoli football fans
Fans at the Mondragone sports stadium.© Andrea Ardolin

If you enjoyed that, you may also like Salernitana fans on Film beautifully shot by Gimmy Giordano, which takes in the passion, style and energy of Salernitana fans.

Don’t miss out on Lower Block’s latest news and features. Subscribe below and give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Share

Sign up for our newsletter