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Growing up my mind was constantly a slideshow of all things Serie A. The rain would inevitably be pouring outside my home in Scotland, but seeing James Richardson sitting casually beside an idyllic cafe, reading with palpable excitement La Gazzetta dello Sport, whilst an assortment of pastries and a freshly brewed espresso sat next to him, made the thunderous weather dissapear. Nothing else existed. I was captivated.

Despite my admiration for AC Milan, there was one team above them all who instantly seduced me. As blue as the Ligurian sea, it was the sartorial style of U.C. Sampdoria that sent shivers down my spine and made my heart beat faster. 

There were the distinctive white, red and black stripes, the iconic St George’s cross, a nod to the city of Genoa’s English heritage and the unforgettable silhouetted figure of an old sailor called Baciccia resting on the piercing blue of a kit that set my eyes on fire with delight. I’d watch them religiously and they became my team. 

It wasn’t just the strips of course, it was the players, who would play the kind of football I had never seen before. All of them so comfortable on the ball, making everything look so easy; calm, confident and cool. Gianluca Pagliuca in goals, Pietro Vierchowod at the back, Attilio Lombardo in the midfield and the goal twins, Roberto Mancini and the late great Gianluca Vialli. They all looked like they could play whilst holding a cappuccino and biscotti. Never flustered, always fashionable.

When I made it to the city of Genoa and stood outside the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, it felt almost like a pilgrimage. I remember seeing it on TV during Italia 90 for the first time, but to witness it in person is something I’ll never forget. 

Through the good times and the bad times I have followed the club and so has photographer Roberto Ruvo, whose heart belongs only to U.C. Sampdoria despite being born in Turin.

His origins though are from Genoa on his mothers side, and his love for the club started as child when he used to visit his grandparents and see the colours of Sampdoria draped across balconies throughout the city, “It was then they entered my heart to never come out again.”

Currently living in the picturesque medieval town of Avigliana in the province of the capital of Piedmont, located in the Susa Valley, where he grew up, Roberto will still travel as much as he can to his seat in the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. His images inside the stadium perfectly capture the passion and soul of the club. Blue, white, red and black flags and scarves all proudly raised in unison to salute their heroes.

It was pleasure for The Atlantic Dispatch to sit down with Roberto to learn all about his passion for football, photography and more.

My love for photography began when I was ten years old when my parents gave me my first camera, a small compact Sony that I always took with me everywhere, especially on camper trips with my parents.

I don’t like giving a precise definition to my style, although I would say it comes close to street photography, but what I try to do through my shots is to make an emotion that I see or experience through my point of view and immortalise the beauty of normality. 

My shots are greatly influenced by the music I listen to and the films I watch, often Italian and foreign films from the eighties. I find inspiration through the constant support of my wife and in the eyes and emotions of the people I meet.

My love for Sampdoria began when I was a child, when I went to Genoa where my grandparents had a house in the Marassi neighbourhood, where the stadium is located and every balcony had the flag of either Genoa or Sampdoria, and the Sampdoria colours. It was then that they entered my heart to never come out again. 

I really love taking photos of the match because there you can find the true essence and the boundless passion that Sampdoria fans have for their team! Living the Ferraris experience is like breathing in deeply all the passion a city has for its team, regardless of any situation or result.

Unfortunately, living 200 kilometers away from Genoa, I try to go whenever possible, compatible with working hours and personal commitments. However, I am at the stadium at least once or twice a month!

This season in Andrea Pirlo we undoubtedly have an incredible champion, who has gained experience with Juventus and in Turkey. I think with him in charge of managing the team and the locker room, I am confident that the results will come!

Being born in 1990, I was not able to experience the golden period of Sampdoria, Champions of Italy, so my best memories are undoubtedly the Italian Cup final and the qualification for the Champions League in the 2009/2010 season, but every time that I went to Ferraris as a kid was a unique emotion.

The thing that makes this club special are undoubtedly its fans, the true heritage of the club and obviously its unique colors and the most beautiful shirt in the world! My favourite player was undoubtedly Francesco Flachi, capable of making me fall in love with his overhead kicks and his classy shots. In second position, it would have to be Antonio Cassano and Sergio Volpi.

As much as I love Liguria and the sea, I also really love the contact with nature and the tranquility that is the constant of my small town, so I can say that I am satisfied with the placeI live. However, Genoa truly has a piece of my heart, I consider it my second home!

It certainly isn’t the perfect city, but it has an incredible artistic heritage and a truly fascinating history! Besides obviously going to the stadium, I love going to my favorite place, the small seaside village of Boccadasse and eating a piece of focaccia on the beach, as well as walking along the Corso Italia seafront and savoring the scents and sounds of the port.

I love traveling so much, it’s another of my great passions! Every place I visited had a fundamental part in my personal growth! The places that remained in my heart were certainly New York and the great parks of the United States. However, I loved Portugal very much and a city that I certainly carry in my heart is Lisbon! I think traveling is the best way to open your mind and grow from all points of view! 

Video by Calcio Papers

With thanks to the one and only Robero Ruvo.

You can follow Roberto on social media here

Video produced by Calcio Papers

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