For the Italians, and the Romans in particular, the Open is not just a tennis tournament where champions are crowned and a piece of history of the game is written. The “Internazionali”, as the Italian Open is commonly referred to over there, is much more than that.
It`s a society event. Tennis fans come from all over the country to pack the stands and cheer for their favorite players pretty much with the same passion and intensity they used to celebrate the gladiators at the time of the Roman Empire.
But the stands are not just filled with fans. Soccer players, actors and actresses, politicians and celebrities, can be spot at the Tennis. They may be there because they like the game but most of all they are there to be seen.
And it`s not just the stands. Next to the Tennis facilities there`s a parallel world coming to life during the tournament. It`s called “Villaggio VIP”, the VIP village, with bars and discos and parties going on all night long.
Even if you have no idea of who Roger Federer is, for one week, the Villaggio Vip is the coolest place in town for you to go, both if you`re a real celebrity or if you`re not.