Venezia’s woes threaten to make football a relic in city of rich history

The church bell tower which overlooks the Stadio Pierlugi Penzo, home of Union Venezia
“The rain runs down the grimy windows of the vaporetto. Somewhere through the murk is the church of San Giovanni Battista and then the gardens where the Biennale is based. A quarter of an hour after leaving San Marco, we arrive at Sant’Elena. The most obvious landmark as you leave the vaporetto station is the bell tower of the church, an imposing brick rectangle that frowned down on the low floodlights that nestle in its lea. This is the Stadio Pierlugi Penzo, the home of the third-flight side Union Venezia. It’s the second oldest stadium in Italy, and it looks it. Opposite the main stand – which, thank goodness, has a functioning roof – it’s not immediately clear where the dilapidated brickwork of the stadium ends and the 15th-century monastery begins. On another day there might be a ramshackle beauty to the Penzo, with the masts of boats in the harbour visible beyond the north stand and the bell tower looming to the south-east. But as the rain teems down, it’s a damp, grey place.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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