The Juventus shirt like a second skin. Alessandro Mantovani followed that maxim to a T when he chose to invite the Old Lady to his wedding. So strong was his love for the black and white that he decided to wear the colours on the most important day of his life. How? Simple: he showed up at the altar wearing his 1997/98 Bianconeri jersey underneath his smart suit, white shirt and jacket. And he did it unbeknownst to everyone – especially his wife.
Alessandro and Letizia got married in Vittuone, in the province of Milan, on 5 December 1998. He, 45 years old and born in Varese, had always been a passionate Juve fan. "As a child I dreamed of being Tardelli or Bettega and running to the Curva to celebrate," he explained. "I became a season ticket holder in 1982. I used to go to the Stadio Comunale on my own, then over the years I met lots of fans like myself."
Among them was Carlo, his best friend and companion in many adventures wearing a black and white scarf around their necks. Away matches at stadiums all over Europe, side by side, from the Stadio Comunale to Juventus Stadium.
Carlo had an important role at the wedding: "He was my best man and the only one who knew I was wearing the Juventus jersey under my shirt." Alessandro kept his crazy idea of getting married “with” his team hidden from everyone else. Going along with it was Carlo who, despite sharing the same passion for Juve as his best friend, thought he was mad to wear that shirt. “What if your wife finds out?" And not only her, but his parents and relatives too. Alessandro pulled it off though: he said "I do", left the church and was then showered with rice.
It all went to plan. The Juventus shirt was on his back and in close contact with his skin, just as he wanted it. Of course he only had eyes for Letizia that day, but Alessandro also managed to bring the Old Lady along – his openly declared "lover".
Then, as per tradition, the newlyweds and guests moved on to the restaurant to celebrate. At this point, after the toast, Alessandro was forced to reveal his secret: "At first I told my wife I had a declaration of love under my shirt." And indeed he did. Only that it wasn't directed at her. At that point his friends, knowing full well how passionate he was about the Vecchia Signora, started singing the Juventus anthem. Letizia, overcome by curiosity, removed her husband’s jacket, tie and shirt.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. Right in front of her, once again, was Juventus! Cue all round laughter and smiles. His mum was incredulous too: "I can’t believe it. Even today Juventus are right there in the middle of it all."
The shirt, which Alessandro would wear for the entire evening, bore the number 9, worn by Pippo Inzaghi at the time. "I chose that shirt because I always played with my friends wearing that number."
The festivities went on, the couple danced together, and during a slow number Alessandro confessed: "You know, I would have liked to wear my Bianconeri shirt under my jacket." That might have been pushing his luck a bit far, but he still had time to make up for it: during their honeymoon Alessandro took the shirt with him to the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean. Wherever he went, Juventus were there too. And vice versa. Another love story, just like the one between Alessandro and Letizia.
5/12/98, the day of my wedding. During the lunch my wife Letizia, tipped off by my friends, removed my jacket, tie and shirt in front of all the guests: she couldn't believe that under it all was my JUVE jersey... But they do say you should never stand up an Old Lady!!!