The Crazy Faithful explores the story behind Hellas Verona's striking new logo
This week, as the Italian football authorities published the fixture list for the remaining fixtures of the 2019/20 season, Hellas Verona launched its striking new club logo.
The club's existing logo has been in place since 1995 and, as we all know, football fans are not always the most receptive when it comes to tinkering with their iconography.
The new look is simple, sharp and modern and embraces two of Verona's most important historic symbols - the "scala" and the mastiff dog.
The four-rung ladder ("la scala" in Italian) was the symbol of the Verona's preeminent medieval dynasty - the Della Scala family. In Verona, the Della Scala family is perhaps comparable to the Medici's of Florence. In the 13th and 14th century, members of the Della Scala family, known as Scaligeri, ruled Verona and beyond for 125 years. Their family symbol (the scala) is still visible at various historical sites across the city. The ladder symbol has a long association with the football club and first appeared in the club's official logo in 1945.
The mastiff dogs project a powerful, even aggressive, image, but of course, for the city of Verona they represent something of longstanding historical significance. The mastiff dogs symbolise two of the most important members of the Della Scala family - Mastino I and Mastino II who, between 1262 and 1329, were protagonists in some of the most important moments in the city's history.
Mastino I was elected as podestà by the Great Council of Verona in 1259. His election marked the beginning of a 125 year period of rule by the Della Scala family. When he wasn't re-elected in 1262, he led a coup d'état and was proclaimed capitano del popolo ("people's captain") and head of the city's army. In 1277 Mastino was killed by a rival faction and his son Alberto succeeded him as capitano. Cangrande I inherited the podestà position in 1308 and made his name as warrior, prince and patron of Dante, Petrarch and Giotto, seizing control of Padua, Treviso and Vicenza.
When Cangrande I died in 1329, he was succeeded by his nephew Mastino II. Mastino II was the richest and most powerful prince of his generation in Italy. He took control of Brescia, Parma and Lucca, but in doing so made powerful enemies. In 1337, Florence, Venice and various other factions united against him. After a three-year war, the Scaliger dominions were reduced to just Verona and Vicenza.
The Della Scala family continued to rule Verona until 19 October 1387 when, after years of fratricide, infighting, war and persecution, Antonio Della Scala fled the city in the dead of night. While the rule of the Della Scala family was over, its legend would survive forever.
The ostentatious tombs of the Scaligeri can be found at the Church of Santa Maria Antica (behind Piazza Erbe). These imposing gothic shrines enclose the sarcophagi of Verona's famous medieval lords, most notably the famous statue of Cangrande della Scala on horseback.
The mastiffs were originally adopted by Hellas Verona at the beginning of the championship winning 1984/85 season and were featured on the iconic 1984/85 kit, giving them an added resonance for local fans.
So for once, a rebranding exercise that the fans approve!