Under(EU)skin

(Per la versione italiana clicca qui)

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banksyUnderskin‘ is something that you feel and see only by paying a specific attention.
There is something about a trip to Europe that is unlikely to be presented by many websites and sources of information.
If Europe is famous for its high art and culture, to its historical sites, beautiful churches and monuments, there are other aspects of life in Europe and habits of Europeans, which may interest those who visit this continent.
On this page I’ll try to put some light in the matters pertaining to popular culture, hobbies, activities and some common passions.
The following are just a few entries, examples, cause travellers should try to search for their passions even in the places they are visiting.
By doing so, you have an opportunity to know more people, being able to share a common interest, get a better understanding of the local lifestyles and much more.

Football
The football was born towards the end of 1800, in the UK and has over time become the most popular sport in Europe, makes an exception only few countries (in Scandinavia and in the Czech Republic’s most popular sport is ice hockey, while in Lithuania is basketball).
If you visit Europe you should not miss the opportunity to attend a football match and the atmosphere around this event.
Also a visit at the stadium, when there is not a match, it is a good idea. Often these buildings have museums, fans zone and fans shop, bars and restaurants.
Here are some photos and information

kopliverpoolIf you are visiting Uk, then a visit to british famed stadiums is a must. Wembley Stadium is the national stadium in Uk. It is also the largest stadium in the country with a capacity of 90,000. Old Trafford in Manchester, with a capacity of 76,212 is the largest club stadium, with the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal) holding 60,355 and St James’ Park (Newcastle) holding 52,387. Most popular clubs are Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle…However also clubs in lower league are followed by a big passionate crowd. English are very much into football and their loyalty to the club is well known. Being fan of a club means a lot, as many clubs are from specific area and neighbourhood (especially in London)

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P1070872On an international level, Germany is one of the most successful football nations in the world. The German national football team has won three World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990) as well as a record three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996).Clubs like Bayern Munich, Stoccarda, Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt, Shalke 04, Hamburg…are very popular and have many fans. If you visit Berlin do not miss the chance to attend a match of ‘Union Berlin‘ for a very specific atmosphere.


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Football is the most popular sport in Spain. Barcelona and Real Madrid are the most successful Spanish clubs, in both the national league and continental competitions.

They have won a combined 13 European Cups/Champions League titles and were runners-up 3 times each.

Real Madrid is the most successful in Europe, having won it a record 9 times and the UEFA Cup twice. Other popular clubs are Valencia, Sivilla, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao,

milanwk2

The Italian word for football is calcio and this is the word used to make reference to the sport in Italy, as opposed to football in England or soccer in the United States and Canada. Football is very popular and part of italian culture. The oldest club is Genoa Fc while the clubs with more fans are juventus, fc inter, ac milan, Napoli, roma…Before 10 years ago or something watching an italian football match was an intense experience, due to high class football players and incredible crowd, which with its warm support gave an added value to the show. Even in lower categories and league thousands of cheerful people attended the local match. Nowadays unfortunately is not the same, due to high repression and useless restricting laws.

Football fans, Ultras, Hooligans…
The phenomenon of football fans was developed in the late 50-60, in the years football support gave bitrh to two important youth culture, ultras and hooligans.
Hooligans were born and developed in the UK, next extending especially in the northern Europe (and nowadays in eastern Europe), while ultras born in Italy in the late 60th and develop across western europe in the 80’s.
Ultras and hooligans are passionate and extreme fans that often come to manifest in the form of violence their attachment and loyalty to the club.
Nowadays the countries where you can find the greatest number of fans and ultras (hooligans are more hidden and not easy to spot at first glance) are UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Greece, Serbia , Croatia, Spain…
Italy, the homeland of ultras, has a particular case, as in the last ten years there have been a strong repression, by the political parties, which instead of solving the most important problems, such as the dire economic situation of the country, corruption, mafia … decided to destroy this important youth subculture.
Ultras were, in fact, the most developed and numerous youth subculture, not only in Italy, creating aggregation, improving imagination (with creation of choreography, chants, banners…) and positive energies, typical of the younger generation, carrying on certain values, such as solidarity, militancy, and respect for those who have more experience.
Clearly there are problems that have been predominant in the history of the ultras, violence, relations with the club (which often have funded groups ultras), hatred of rivals, which has sometimes leads to racism and intolerance.
The main difference between ultras and hooligans is in the appearance and behavior. If the ultras are more focused in rooting for their team, showing proudly the colors, see hooligans in search of the clash against rivals and trying to go unnoticed, their priorities.
Evolution of hooligans and ultras are the casuals, who are born in the UK, both the ones who collect the others, while also focusing on the aesthetic and clothing, creating a new form of groups of young people, very much in vogue currently throughout Europe.

Some pictures and info

nabenficaStarting with Italy, ultras were born roughly around the end of the 60’s in northern italy, Torino, Sampdoria and Milan had the first organized ultras. After few years this trend was spread all around the country until deep south and islands (sicily and sardinia). This youth culture for decades was predominant in the italian society. Even smaller clubs in low categories had an own ultras group. Ultras in many cities were so important to influence the management of the club. It often happened that leaders were in touch with presidents and received financial support for preparing choreography, organize the fans and travels to away matches. It was also very common, for ultras groups, to protest against a coach or a player. Ultras in many cities were (and in some case still are) a lobby…Under this controversial aspect (that belongs only to some group leaders), the majority of ultras are good example of loyalty to the colors, friends and city. In Italy we can distinguish ultras history in 4 big phases: birth (end of 60’s to 70’s), growth (80’s), evolution (90’s), repression (since beginning of 2000).

ultrasgranataThe birth of ultras movement is some time still unclear, as source were not reliable, there are groups claiming a certain date of born, but at that time the scene was not well established. However, as said above, almost all italian cities by the end of the 70’s had a group of ultras. At this time, first ultras were very young guys, often students, with lack of money and organization of support required a lot of efforts and was more spontaneous. Enemies were rare as it was very difficult to travel and compete with other groups, exceptions were city and regional derbies (roma, genova, torino, milano…). Is also important to understand that this historical period was very tense in Italy. Protest and riots, for political reasons reached high level of violence in the streets, with hard clashes between right wings versus left wings and both versus police. Ultras were only marginally touched by this situation, maybe young founders of ultras were inspired, in fact in terms of groups name, guerrillas (guerriglieri), intifada, fedayn, commandos…were the most used.

taranto80The second phase see the growth of ultras movement, now spread everywhere in the country. While political protest were repressed with institutional violence and under blood, ultras decided to get inspired by the previous generation of rioters. Each group has a specific and clear political orientation (either far right or extreme left). Rivalries are often based on this reason. At the same time friendships started among groups from different clubs, often driven by the hate for other ones (milan and roma are friends opposite to inter and lazio). Ultras started to have an own ‘dress-code‘. Boots, bomber jacket and woollen scarfs with the club colors. Ultras are very popular, main groups can have hundreds of members and merchandising idea started by that time. Groups decided to rise money to better organize the support for the club, by selling own materials (scarfes, t-shirts, stickers…)

romawesthamThe third phase can be described as the evolution one. After the incredible growth of groups, many were managed in controversial way. Relations with club managers and president, financially helps by them. High focus on merchandising that somehow distracted from the original values (solidarity, creativity…). Also in terms of violence and riots, these were becoming more vandalism and devastation (of station, stadium sectors, trains, cars…) or against the police forces, also because more of them were sent at matches to ensure ‘public order’. However an important circumstance was the dramatic event in 1995, when a Genoa fan was stabbed to death. Evolution was necessary, many ultras understood it. Other groups started already to suffer state repression and so decided to give up as recognized group (with banner, symbol, name…) and take a ‘clandestine’-undercover way, inspired by the casual movement in Uk. Also it was requested to adopt an ‘ultras-code’ that involved fairer fights, no weapons (knives were very commons, as well as iron bars and chains…), respect for rivals. Big groups lost many followers, ‘free dogs‘ increased in numbers and this became a problem for police, to control ultras and prevent riots…

romanapolioggiAs consecuence of this situation, during a sicilian derby, in 2007 a police officer was killed during irots outside the catania stadium. I want to be clear, media, police and corrupted justice condamned 2 young guys, while the policeman was accidentally killed by a police car (!!!). From that day an high level repression began and has now transformed the ultras scene and football. Stadium were required to be more secure, with cameras recording the crowd, electronic (and nominal) tickets, secured entrance, fan-card, private security services and other silly decision such as prohibiting the banners, torches, flags, declaring the death also of positive aspects of ultras life…

 

 

cagliari interisti

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Ultras in Europe

Belgrado - Derby torce

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Hooligans

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Coming soon more info, photos and details also on:

Youth Subcultures (Teddy boys, Mods, Skins, Punks …)

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Street Art & Graffiti (more pictures here)

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tarantograffiti scarpa smile learn flower grottaglieart ilva ilvarat

pozzuoliart

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Controversial european issues (religion, ethnic, politic…);

belfastartThe Troubles (Irish: Na Trioblóidí) is the most common term for the ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast “Good Friday” Agreement of 1998. However, sporadic violence has continued since then. The key issues at stake in The Troubles were the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the relationship between its mainly Protestant unionist community and its mainly Catholic nationalist community. Unionists and loyalists generally want Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom while Irish nationalists and republicans generally want it to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland. The Troubles involved republican and loyalist paramilitaries, the security forces of the United Kingdom and of the Republic of Ireland, and politicians and political activists.

 

mitrovicabridgenonatoThe Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that lasted from 28 February 1998 until 21 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and NATO. The KLA, formed in 1991, began attacking police stations and Yugoslav government offices in February 1996, which resulted in an increase in the number of Yugoslav security forces in the region. This led to an escalation into a conflict, although it was initially viewed as an insurgency. The KLA was regarded by the US as a terrorist group until 1998 when it was de-listed for classified reasons. The US and NATO then cultivated diplomatic relationships with KLA leaders. Despite initial western claims of 500,000 Kosovo Albanians killed or missing, subsequent investigations recovered the remains of only several thousand victims. The NATO bombing and surrounding events have remained controversial (in the picture a photo I took at Mitrovica bridge that divedes the city in two parts, one controlled by albanias and one by Serbs). See more pictures here.

Street protest & Riots

pestaggio

policja

Tattoo

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European trends (Comics, Music, Cinema, Parkour …)…

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Feel free to participate at this page, send me pictures and info from your club, group, crew…If you have more info about specific topics, feel free to let me know and post it.

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