FC Venezia players celebrated their promotion with a unique parade through the city

Most titles and promotions are celebrated on an open top bus. In Venice they do it with a gondola.

Steeped in history and culture, the Italian city is known worldwide for its architectural splendor and distinctive waterways. Usually the Italian city is not associated with its football club.

However, after three bankruptcies in 10 years – each of which led to the resumption of the fourth division of Italian football – this could change.

Returned to Serie A after a 19-year absence, Venezia FC is on the rise after a turbulent period in the club’s history.

Her ten men heroically held out in last season’s play-off final second leg against Cittadella before scoring a goal in 93 the city’s famous Piazza San Marco.

Those scenes were pushed a bit into the background as the players joined a parade of boats and waved from the bridges while supporters on land and sea showed their gratitude in a unique celebration of their performance through the city’s canals to lead.

“This is how the club has always celebrated,” Venezia’s technical director and former striker Paolo Poggi told BBC Sport.

“To see the happiness in the eyes of the players, the staff and the owners and to enjoy it with all the fans on the bridges – for me it was like a dream, it was a dream come true.”

Poggi, who both started and ended his playing career with his hometown club before taking on his current role, added: “When I think of this moment, I feel so happy, especially after a difficult year with Covid.

“In the last 12 years the club had a lot of problems, big problems. We lost a whole generation of fans, we lost the soul of the club. It wasn’t easy.”

“Fortunately we’re still here, but it could have turned out differently.”

Venezia FC players were joined by fans in boats during their promotion parade while others watched from bridges

The unique celebrations on the streets and waterways after the rise of Venice show a passionately supported club, which could have disappeared all too easily.

The winner of the Coppa Italia in 1941 rose in 2002 after his third first division season within four years from Serie A to Palermo.

In 2005, 2009 and 2015 the club would have to start again in the fourth division as it was on the verge of financial ruin.

But after a third bankruptcy within a decade, the rebirth as Venezia FC in October 2015 would pave the way for three promotions in six seasons.

Venezia celebrates promotionVenezia finished fifth in Serie B in 2020-21 and triumphed in the play-offs to secure promotion

Saved by the ambitious American investor Joe Tacopina, whose sensational appointment of former AC Milan boss Filippo Inzaghi as coach secured several promotions to Serie B, the club closed under the leadership of the current president and former boss of the New York Stock Exchange, Duncan Niederauer, his recovery from.

Coach Paolo Zanetti has since been rewarded for his commitment with a new contract until 2025, as Venezia hopes for a more secure future.

“I never had the chance to play in Serie A with the club, so it means a lot to me now,” said Poggi, who was born near the stadium and followed training and matches every week before starting his own career.

“Our goal now is to make the club as popular as the city is known around the world,” he added.

“We’re playing in Italy’s second oldest stadium, on an island – that’s unique in the world.

“We want our fans to be proud of our football club because they deserve to have a strong club in this city.

“I think anything is possible now. Of course, the most important thing is to be in Serie A every season. It’s a very crucial season and if we can stay in Serie AI the future will be bright.”

Paolo Poggi in action for PiacenzaDuring his time at Piacenza, Paolo Poggi scored the fastest goal in Serie A history in 2001. His eight-second record stood for 19 years until AC Milan’s Rafael Leao scored after six seconds in December 2020

The Pier Luigi Penzo Stadium, the unpretentious home of Venezia, alludes to the difficult path the club had come to reaching Serie A.

Located on the edge of Venice’s main island, its modest 7,400 capacity will be by far the smallest in the division.

But surrounded by water on two sides and only accessible by boat or a stroll through the famous city, which in a normal year attracts more than 25 million tourists, it also indicates the potential of Venezia as a global brand.

In fact, there is no better example of the club’s growing appeal than its latest collection of stylish home and away shirts, which sells out within hours of its release.

Pier Luigi Penzo StadiumVenezia’s Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo is Italy’s second oldest football stadium

“The games are very different in that we have to get a boat to the stadium,” said Scottish striker Harvey St Clair, who joined the club in 2018 after 12 years at Chelsea. said BBC World Service.

The 22-year-old added: “It’s a unique place to play our games and the stadium has a lot of character.

“All but one of the players live on the mainland, so we park our cars and take a large team boat around Venice to the Penzo.”

Venezia will start their Serie A season in Naples on Sunday 22 August, although they will have to wait until 19 September to welcome top football against Spezia again.

“I’m so excited to see what it will be like, what the fans will be like, what the new place will be, but the most important thing for me is that we play in our house,” said Poggi.

“The way to the stadium is unique when you come here to watch a game. There are plans to build a new stadium and in the future it may be possible, but at the moment the stadium we have is something it deserves. ” to be seen.

“When the fans are as excited as we are, I think it’s going to be a great big party. Of course I hope for a result too.”