Many tourists come to Rome to take in priceless works of art, discover the Coliseum or visit St. Peter’s Basilica.
But to watch a Steelers game?
A pub named La Botticella has become a favorite for Steelers fans in Rome, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The bar’s owner, Giovanni Poggi, told the newspaper that he has accumulated many Steelers collectibles over the years:
- “I must have 30 Terrible Towels,” Mr. Poggi said, laughing and pointing to close to a dozen bags stuffed with, among other things, Terrible Towels, Steelers T-shirts, signs, magnets, hats — even a pair of slippers and a long-haired Troy Polamalu wig.
The Post-Gazette gave a little history as to the origins of how La Botticella became a favorite for travelers from Pittsburgh:
- The haunt developed a loyal clientele, first among U.S.-based flight crews stopping over in Rome and later college students studying abroad. About four to five years ago, Mr. Poggi said groups of Penn State and Duquesne University students spending semesters in Rome — most of them from Pittsburgh — adopted La Botticella as their hangout.
- The advent of satellite TV made it easy to catch American sports, and homesick students wanted to see their beloved Steelers and Penguins play. A match was made, and La Botticella became a regular Sunday gathering spot to see the Black & Gold.
Poggi told the Post-Gazette that the scene during the Steelers’ Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals was pretty impressive — even though the game didn’t start until 12:30 a.m. local time:
- “Officially we had to close at 2 a.m., but we had more than a hundred Steelers fans here to watch the game. So I locked the doors and closed the shutters and we partied until the sun came up,” Mr. Poggi recalled with a grin.