Thursday Jul 29, 2021  
  03/05/2011: Visiting Luigi Bigiarelli, a date with Lazio's history.
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Halfway February this year, news came through that Lazio's founder, Luigi Bigiarelli's resting place was found in the Ixelles cemetery, near Brussels, Belgium.

As his brother travelled around Europe for his work, Luigi Bigiarelli followed him and arrived in Belgium, at the start of the 20th century.
But on February the 16th 1908, Luigi died at the age of 32, due to an innocent pneumonia.

Due this historic fact, Lazioland and Lazio Fans Belgio, decided to honour him, and plan a trip down to Brussels, to honour the man who founded the Societa Podistica Lazio, later S.S. Lazio.  The first football team of Rome, since January 9 1900.

Here below you can read the report Claudio Paz wrote down, of the events of that day :

Brussels, 15/03/2011.  That was the date we've arranged to come together and honour Lazio's founder, Luigi Bigiarelli, as he passed away in Brussels on a cold February day in 1908.

At arrival in Brussels-City, the sun was shining and the sky was clear-blue, as Luigi would have liked it, his 'celeste-blue'.  Its' still a 15 minute drive to arrive at Ixelles/Elsene, east from the city centre.

On arrival there, Ixelles/Elsene was buzzing with young people.  You have to know that Ixelles/Elsene is closed in by Brussels 2 major universities, the VUB, the Flemish one with 10.000 students, and the ULB, the French one with 20.000 students.

So as I parked the car near the main cemetery entry, I strolled along towards the roundabout in front of the cemetery.  And as I was too early, I went for a fresh cooled beer, in one of the many pubs around the cemetery.

The beer went slowly in, and it was time to cross the road and wait at the cemetery for drake1900 (Bart), my partner in crime.

Like a Swiss watch, Bart was pin-point on time and we've met in front of the cemetery.  A little chat about Sunday's derby game, but not much, as one can understand.
Then a quick jump to the local flowershop, to leave something for Luigi there.  But as the shop-assistent said there were no blue flowers, we've decided to get some white ones, wrapped in a nice blue paper, like Luigi would have liked it.

So time to enter the cemetery and meet Mr. Lenoir, the guide of the cemetery.
As we were too early, and Mr. Lenoir still had to eat his sandwiches, we've decided to leave the man alone for his lunch, and crossed the road again, for some refreshments, in Belgium it's just plain beers.

Me and Bart still talked about Lazio's present season, but quick we've started talking about the past, the glorious Lazio past as Bigiarelli would have liked.
The half hour flew away, and time again to go back to Mr. Lenoir.  The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and Mr. Lenoir walked slowly to us and asked to follow him.

As we walked through the cemetery, he told us we don't have to expect some great things, as the tombstone has been removed, due to not payed concession rights.
But after a 5 minute walk, through this quiet place, passing all those tombstones, we cross a large field of just green grass.  Mr. Lenoir said it's not that far away, me and Bart looked around, and found it strange that he's lying somewhere, out there, on this green empty field.

Then Mr. Lenoir stopped at the corner, next to a tree, and said : 'Here it is'.  One could see that the grass and ground has been moved, due to the removal of the tombstone.
Then we've asked if it was possible to leave the flowers, plus dedications there and shoot some picture.  'Pas de problême', no problem said Mr. Lenoir.

As me and Bart removed some dirty bits and mud from the grass, we left the flowers and dedications there.  Feeling a little unreal, Lazio's founder is just lying there at out feet, some 1600 km away from Rome, from his Piazza della Libertà.
As Bart mentioned, Luigi Bigiarelli should be brought back to Rome, where he belongs, to his laziali, and not in some Brussels suburbian cemetery, all alone in all anonymity.
Then time to close the visit of, asking Mr. Lenoir kindly if he could shoot some picture of us, with the banners, which was no problem.

And after thanking him, time to walk back and close this historical visit.  We've also gave a poster of Luigi Bigiarelli to Mr. Lenoir, as a reminder to them, that that little piece of grass has a face and a history, our history.

Me and Bart then said goodbye's as we've seperated, and then stepped back from the 1900's into the present, by leaving the cemetery, as we walked back into buzzing Ixelles/Elsene.

(Claudio Paz & Bart Verswijvel)

Picture gallery - Ixelles 2011
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