Italy’s Euro 2016 starts tonight. Great excitement (if not expectations) about the Italian football team this year, but as ever when it counts the Italians can turn it on. Unlike my own compatriots. It’s been a depressing time to be an England fan. We are used to that of course, and I’ve described some of the miseries the England team inflict on us before. But with the re-emergence of violence in Marseilles, it’s been difficult to get enthusiastic about the tournament. However, being an England supporter forces you to be optimistic.
So tonight in Italy, bars, piazzas, restaurants and communal spaces will thronged with horn-blowing, over-excited supporters. Euro 2016 in Rome starts now, but where to watch it? Here are a range of venues with something to suit everyone.
Campo dei Fiori – Roman Piazza, outdoor watching in comfort with drinks brought to your table
I have watched many a lacklustre England performance in bars around this famous market square. Most bars have big screens showing every match. The beautiful outdoor setting helps my mood, as do the drinks. Dancing, singing and flag flying are promised if Italy win.
La Valle del Sacco – Eat while you watch
Known to me as the Football Restaurant, this blue-tabled-clothed Roman restaurant/pizzeria shows football matches year round. In the back room, the walls are lined will football scarves from around the world. During one England match in 2010, we were so busy tucking into steaks, we had to be told by the disbelieving Italian diners that England had scored. The food must be good.
Via B. Bossi, 4 (off Via Ostiense) www.valledelsacco.it/
Ex Mattatoio Testaccio – outdoor screen with music and food
This ex-slaughter house has been transformed in recent years into an art gallery, market and eating and drinking venue. During Euro 2016, matches will again be shown, initially at Cafè Boario alla CAE but from tomorrow, the big screen returns!
Città dell’Altra Economia – Testaccio www.facebook.com/cittadellaltraeconomia
Scholars Lounge – for a traditional pub-watching experience in the heart of Rome
In England, watching the match at your local pub is a tradition which is hard to break. There aren’t many pub-pubs in Rome, but if you want the home comfort of a traditional football watching atmosphere, then Scholars is the place for you. Air-con during the hot days is also a plus. The 18 screens will be showing every match.
Via Del Plebiscito 101b http://scholarsloungerome.com/
For a cool, river side game with perhaps a DJ set too
Every summer, Rome opens its river banks to bars, restaurants, stalls and even a cinema. Most restaurants and bars will have at least a small screen. What could be better than sitting by the side of the River Tiber as you watch a match, escaping at least in part the heat of a Roman evening?
With such great venues, I’m feeling far more enthused. Forza Italia! Eng-er-land! We’re gonna score one more than you!