L’Orgoglio Del Fiore: How Fiorentina Blossomed under Vincenzo Italiano

The only team from Florence has gone through a complete identity change under the reigns of the German-born Italiano. Vincenzo Italiano has worked through the ranks of Italian football, starting out in Arzignano and then joining forces with Trapani Calcio in Serie C, a season which saw Trapani promoted to Serie B, teams were lurking for Italiano’s signature. 


Spezia snapped him up at the start of the 2019/2020 season and managed to clinch promotion to the Serie A in what was Le Aquile’s first time in the top flight in 100 years. The Sicilian’s style of play led to rumors about a potential move higher up the ranks in Serie A, and after two superb seasons in Spezia, Fiorentina came calling and the rest is history.



Arguably described by fans of La Viola as the best of recent eras under president Rocco Commisso, following hard times with Stefano Pioli and underwhelming achievements with Vincenzo Montella, Fiorentina’s past alludes to that of the top sides in Serie A. 


Whilst a surprise Scudetto charge still looms large, it is their reckoning force in Europe under Italiano and the battle for the top 6 in Serie A which has blown away the dons of Italian football. 


The coach in his first season set out the vision to bring back the Florence side into Europe after several years away amongst Europe’s best. It took one season under Vincenzo Italiano for Fiorentina to qualify for the Europa Conference League in a season finishing 7th in Serie A which saw them winning crucial games against the likes of Milan, Napoli and Juventus. 


Many teams were caught by surprise at Italiano’s pragmatic style of play, creating a mix of high-intensity attacking plays alongside the know-how to slow the game down when necessary with his possession-based style of play.


Italiano’s flexibility with formations was another aspect to ponder on how he can change from a standard 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 and still keep the athleticism of the team going. Serie A teams and their backroom staff knew that the emergence of a talented coach was quickly on the horizon. 


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The qualification into the Europa Conference League proved dividends for everyone at Fiorentina as Vincenzo Italiano managed to get La Viola to their first European final since 1990, following a campaign that went heavily under the radar amongst many in Europe. 


The trophy success was there in sight but a goal which placed the dagger in Fiorentina fans’ hearts by Jarred Bowen of West Ham saw them narrowly miss out on a European trophy however an unbeaten season in Europe for the 2023/2024 campaign sees Fiorentina have another chance to successfully win a deserved European title.


Despite finishing 8th the next season, Juventus’ ban in European competitions became a blessing in disguise for La Viola as they managed to represent the remaining Italian side in the competition.


In a season that saw them heavily rely upon midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura and attacker Nico Gonzalez, Fiorentina managed to reach another final, this time the Coppa Italia. It was a close game which saw Bonaventura grab the side’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat to Inzaghi’s Inter Milan side. 



Vincenzo Italiano’s vision had it that success for Fiorentina was on the tip of their tongue and would be as succulent as a Florentine steak when that moment does come however the Sicilian managed to head into this season with a more aggressive mindset towards their approach of how they played. 


They maintained dominance in possession however Fiorentina’s past difficulty in creating opportunities in front of goal changed with the bursting influence of using the full-back in attacking phases with Cristiano Biraghi being at the forefront of this.


Biraghi, one of Serie A’s only players to take part in open-play sequences, also offers a different dynamic from set pieces amongst Italy’s best in dead-ball situations. The side have cracked the code with their high defensive line paying off with defender Lucas Martinez Quarta, arguably being Fiorentina’s best player both defensively and offensively. 


The Argentine ranks in the best in long balls completed per 90 minutes and most duels won per 90 minutes, and he is skilled at holding a high line and enabling them to push forward. He has excelled this season by being that extra body in midfield to add to their attacking presence.


Giacomo Bonaventura’s Indian Summer at Fiorentina


Argentinians in Florence are no strangers to the top flight in Italian football with the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Giovanni Simeone in attack to Gonzalo Rodriguez and Facundo Roncaglia in defence, this season more than ever, Italiano has had to rely on the attacking presence of no.10 Nico Gonzalez and no.9 Lucas Beltran. 


Gonzalez, the Argentine who started his career with Argentinos Juniors, has had his best goal-scoring season in Serie A so far with 10 goals, with Cordoba-born Beltran being a key presence in their European campaign with 4 goals and the crucial goal against Club Brugge to clinch their place in the final. 


Fiorentina’s fortunes came in the backend of the first half of the season having only lost 1 game from the end of November, losing to relegation-battling side Sassuolo. Amongst their games, they managed to gain a crucial win at home against Genk in the Europa Conference League, a vital point away at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma and a devastating win against Salernitana.


Italiano found it difficult to regain form following the season break losing key games against the likes of high-flying Bologna and battle-born Lecce however managed to get an emphatic win against Frosinone with goals from the likes of Antonin Barak and Jonathan Ikone.


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With a home draw to Francesco Calzona’s Napoli and a dramatic winner by Beltran away at Cagliari in Claudio Ranieri’s last game as a coach, Italiano leads Fiorentina with heads held high heading to Athens.


The whole of Fiorentina’s society as a football club were rocked by the sudden passing of sporting director Joe Barone who fell ill hours before a fixture against Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta. Barone was at the helm of Fiorentina’s board working closely alongside Rocco Commisso, playing a key role to the development of La Viola including close involvement of the Viola Park, a new training centre for the first team.


Vincenzo Italiano made sure that he had to galvanize his squad to end the season on an utmost high. Difficult fixtures against Milan and Juventus tested Italiano’s patience whether the squad was ready enough to endure a tough end of the season, the Sicilian made sure to fully utilize a key strength to this Fiore side which is their depth.


Italiano made sure that he made the most of the rotation players especially in the full-back positions with Fabiano Parisi, Michael Kayode and Dodo all intertwining to play a pivotal role in the style of Italiano’s system. The impact off the bench from attacking players like Jonathan Ikone who is amongst the best with most dribbles completed. 


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Fellow Frenchman Maxime Lopez, snapped up from Sassuolo, averages the second most successful passes per 90 in the 20 games he has played in Serie A, proving the weapons that Italiano has in his arsenal can change the game at any given time. 


Fiorentina have managed to reinvent their style of play and their approach to the way football is now played in Serie A with the crescendo of talented coaches like Vincenzo Italiano. Italiano is already in the history books being the first-ever Fiorentina coach to reach back-to-back finals in Europe, and all that remains is La Viola’s name on that piece of silverware.


Un ultimo sforzo per rendere felice un popolo fiorentina.


By: Lorenzo Gagliotta / @LG24Sports

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Getty Images