Sport

Alberto BETTIOL

Born in Poggibonsi in 1993, but grew up in Castelfiorentino, in the Empolese Valdelsa. After good results in the youth categories, including the Juniores European time trial title in 2011, he debuts as a professional in 2014 with the Cannondale World Tour team.
In 2016, after finishing 86th in the Giro d’Italia, his first major stage race, he got his first major result at the Tour de Pologne by placing third in the final classification and winning the points classification. After coming second at the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France, he also stands out in the Canadian classics in September: he places fourth at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and seventh at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. In 2017 he participates in the Tour de France, where he gets the fifth place in the third stage with arrival in Longwy. At the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico he placed second in the seventh and final stage, the individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, 3″ behind the winner. After taking an excellent fourth place at the E3 Harelbeke, his first win as a pro comes on April 7, 2019, in a monumental classic: the Tour of Flanders. The Tuscan rider sprinted solo on the Oude Kwaremont, when there were 18 km to the finish in Oudenaarde, and managed to maintain his lead over his pursuers. The last Italian rider to win the Belgian classic was Alessandro Ballan, in 2007. A few days later he also placed sixth in the Brabant Arrow. In June he participates to the national championships, arriving third in the road race and second in the time trial, in the latter beaten for less than a second. He starts 2020 by participating in the Étoile de Bessèges, a short stage race where he wins the final time trial and finishes second in the general classification. Participates in the Giro d’Italia 2021 winning the 18th stage. He participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics game with the Italian national team, finishing 11th in the men’s time trial and 14th in the men’s road race.

Fabrizio BERNI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1949.
He debuted in Serie A in 1969, in Fiorentina, fresh champion of Italy, remaining there for two seasons. In 1971 it comes down in Series B in the Cesena, but hardly a year after returned in maximum category where for three championships, until 1975, it was titular in the defense of the L.R. Vicenza. From 1975 to 1977 he moved to the newly promoted Perugia. He then moved to Genoa where he played a championship in A and one in B. It passed finally to the Pistoiese, where it guided the defense of the orange ones that in 1980 conquered the historical promotion in the maximum Italian series, to which the Tuscan team approached for the first and up to now only time from the institution of the only round. He will remain in Pistoia for another four years, collecting with the orange jersey 181 appearances until the final withdrawal from soccer, which took place in 1985. Berni collected 428 presences and 5 nets between Serie A and B.

Alessandro MAGRO

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1982.
He began coaching at a young age, landing in the A Series as an assistant at only 22 years old. After a brief experience at Viola Reggio Calabria, in 2006 he moved on to Mens Sana Siena, with whom he stayed for eight years, where he was assistant coach of the first team and coach of the youth teams. On July 7, 2014 he becomes the new coach of Fulgor Omegna. He then moves to Leonessa Brescia, where he remains on Andrea Diana’s staff for three seasons. In 2019 he becomes Luca Banchi’s deputy at Lokomotiv Kuban’ in Russia. On February 17, 2020 he is hired by Dąbrowa Górnicza in Poland. Since 2021 he is the coach of Brescia in Serie A.

Livio PUCCIONI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1926.
He was a Goalkeeper. He plays two seasons in Serie B with Empoli before going to Inter where he plays in Serie A for three seasons. In 1952/1953 it changes jersey passing to the Udinese and then the year after to the Torino, always in Series A. From 1955 to 1958 he defended the posts of Catania in Serie B. He finished his career with the jersey of Poggibonsi in the Interregional.

Alberto PELAGOTTI

Born in Empoli in 1989.
He grows up in the youth sector of Castelfiorentino (where he lives and grows up), and of Empoli then, where he enters in 1999. In 2007 he is inserted in the first team and in the UEFA list, spending a season as third goalkeeper. In 2008 it passes in loan to the Manfredonia, in Pro League. He returns with the Tuscans, with whom he debuts on December 2, 2009 in Catania-Empoli (2-0), match valid for the fourth round of the Coppa Italia, while the debut in Serie B is dated May 15, 2010 against AlbinoLeffe. With the arrival of Alfredo Aglietti on the bench of the Tuscans is deployed with more continuity, until it becomes the starting goalkeeper of the rose, May 30, 2014, after the victory of Empoli on Pescara, gets promotion in the top flight. However, in 2014 he is sold on loan to Pisa. He debuts with the Pisans and in Serie C. In 2015 he returns to Empoli. On April 10, 2016 he makes his debut in Serie A in the derby of the Arno won 2-0 against Fiorentina providing an excellent performance, which earns him another five appearances during the year. In 2017 he leaves Empoli being purchased outright by Brescia in Serie B, where he does not total even one presence. In 2018 he transfers to Arezzo on a permanent basis. In 2019 he is purchased by Palermo dropped in Serie D after the bankruptcy, deciding to wear the shirt number 1 and becoming one of the staples of the rosanero team, contributing to the immediate promotion to Serie C and Serie B.

Simone ERCOLI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1979
He is a swimmer of the Italian National Team. His international career began in 2000 when he achieved eighth place in the 5 km at the European Championships in Helsinki. He boasts 2 bronze medals at the World Championships in Montreal, Canada, 1 gold and 1 silver medal at the 2002 World Open Water Championships in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, and 1 bronze medal in Naples, Italy, in 2006. 1 silver at the 2004 World Short Water Championships in Indianapolis, USA. He won two gold medals at the European Championships in Eilat (Israel) in 2011 and in Piombino in 2012, 2 silver medals in Budapest in 2010 and a bronze medal in Budapest in 2006. He also boasts a second place at the 2005 LEN Cup in Seville, a victory in the World Cup in 2009 and 13 individual titles in the Italian Championships.

Angiolo PROFETI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1918.
He was an Italian weightlifter, fifteen times national champion in the shot put and once in the discus throw.
He is the Italian athlete who has won the most national titles, tied with the discus thrower Adolfo Consolini. In his career he boasts 26 presences in the national team (from 1937 to 1954) and he was an Olympic finalist in the 1952 edition of the Games in Helsinki. He won a silver medal at the European Championships in Brussels in 1950 and a gold medal at the first ever edition of the Mediterranean Games held in Istanbul in 1949 and a silver medal at the 1951 edition in Alexandria, Egypt.

Vincenzo GRELLA

Born in Melbourne (Australia) in 1979, but lives in Castelfiorentino.
He debuts in the maximum Australian series in 1996-1997 with the Canberra Cosmos, and the following year he moves to Carlton where he plays 19 games and scores 2 goals. In 1998-1999 he is transferred to Empoli, in Serie A, where he plays 5 games. He moves to Ternana in Serie B, and at the end of the year he returns to Empoli, where he will play from 2001 to 2004 between Serie B and Serie A before being transferred to Parma where he plays for three years and where he was also captain on some occasions. In 2007/2008 he moved to Torino and then 4 years in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers before returning to Australia with Melbourne Heart.
He played 47 matches with the Australian national team, including the challenge against Italy at the 2006 World Cup in Germany (being included in the FIFA Team of the event). With the “Socceroos” he won the Oceania Cup in 2004.

Chiara COSTAGLI

Born in Empoli in 1997, but native of Castelfiorentino.
She begins her career in volleyball with Polisportiva I’Giglio of Castelfiorentino, then in 2014 she moves to CUS Siena where she plays for 2 years in the Under 18 and then in the first team making her debut in B2. She then moves to B1 at Roana CBF Macerata in 2017 and in 2018 to Volley Pordenone. She keeps the category by moving to the Megabox Vallefoglia, with which in 2020 he arrives in A2 and in 2021 he wins the Play Offs arriving in Serie A1. In the 2021/2022 season he will play again in Serie A2 with Assitex Sant’Elia.

Irene PUCCIONI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1980.
She won as a professional cyclist two regional titles (Tuscan Road and Track Champion) in 1994. She classified herself sixth at the Juniores World Championship in 1998 (1st absolute among the Italian athletes). She participated in the Tour de France 2001 and 2003 and in four editions of the Giro d’Italia (in two of which her team won the title).
She has raced for the teams Selene Rama, Edil Savino, Prato Bike-Aki and Michela Fanini Record Vox.

Francesca LUCENTE

Born in Empoli in 1988 but resident in Castelfiorentino.
She started playing soccer when she was very young in the Polisportiva Membrino Castelfiorentino, where she remained for three years, having reached the age limit allowed to play with her male peers. She then moves to Futsal UISP where she remains for six seasons; in 2006 she is registered with the women’s club CF Scalese, with which she immediately wins the C series and, in 2009, the B series. In 2013, always with Scalese, she wins the promotion to the Women’s A Series. She spends a year in Pontedera in Serie C where she also becomes the youth coach and then she arrives at the helm of the Primavera team of CF Florentia. She recently returned to coach the youth team of Cambiano United.

Luigi REALI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1949.
His adventure began in the sixties, first in the Juniores and then in the first team of Castelfiorentino. In 1965, the stroke of luck: Mauro Franceschini contacted him for an audition with the L.R. Vicenza. During the trip, the two make a stop in Milan, as Franceschini has to bring some Tuscan products to Helenio Herrera. That courtesy visit turns out to be the chance of a lifetime for Luigi Reali: the Inter coach urgently needs a goalkeeper, and therefore asks Reali to try out for him. Helenio Herrera was impressed by this young goalkeeper. He puts him in the “primavera” and, the following year, in the first team (as Sarti’s reserve), alongside players of the caliber of Sandro Mazzola or Luisito Suarez.
After the experience in the Inter he wears the jerseys of Voghera, Akragas and Pontedera in Serie D, Savoia, Siracusa, Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Biellese and Virtus Entella in Serie C and Arezzo, Cremonese and the Monza of Adriano Galliani in Serie B. He ends his career returning to Castelfiorentino, also in the historic season in Serie D.

Tommaso BALDANZI

Born in Poggibonsi in 2003, but Castelfiorentino of residence.
He started his soccer career with Castelfiorentino, but at the age of 8 he joined the Empoli youth team where he now works as a shuttle between the Primavera and the First Team. He already has two appearances in the Coppa Italia in the challenges against Benevento and Napoli. He made his debut in the Under 18 Italian National Team scoring a brace to Austria and was included in the Top 11 of the 2020/2021 Primavera Championship. He graduated as champion of Italy with the Empoli Primavera team scoring a brace in the final against Atalanta and receiving the Piermario Morosini Award as the best player in the league. In 2022 he made his Serie A debut, while on 31 August 2022 he scored his first goal in Serie A, in his second game as a starter, against Hellas Verona. He is considered one of the future talents of Empoli and Italian soccer.

Cristina CAPOCCHINI

Born in Castelfiorentino. Starting from ABC, she managed to achieve great results in women’s basketball, playing in Serie A1 first with Parma and then in Ferrara in 1990/91 and being part of one of the first formations of the Italian National Women’s Basketball team of coach Aldo Corno, in 1987.

Kristian SBARAGLI

Born in Empoli in 1990 but lives and grows up in Castelfiorentino.
He is an Italian road cyclist who rides for the Alpecin-Fenix team. He turns pro at the beginning of the 2013 season with the South African formation MTN-Qhubeka. After racing the Milano-Sanremo, he gets his first success as a professional in June, imposing himself in a sprint in the first stage of the Tour de Korea. He returned to victory in 2015 by winning a stage at the Vuelta a España. He also raced for Dimension Data, a South African team, and for Israel.
He participated in 4 Giri d’Italia, 8 Milano-Sanremo, 2 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 3 Vuelta de España and 3 Giri della Lombardia.

Fabrizio CALATTINI

Born in Castelfiorentino in 1965.
He has covered the role of goalkeeper of Empoli Calcio for 12 years from 1981 to 1994 conquering the first historical promotion of the Tuscan club in Serie A. It has also dressed the jerseys of Pistoiese, Poggibonsi, Trapani, Colligiana and Livorno collecting 248 presences between Serie A, B, C and D. In 1987 together with teammates of the caliber of Gianluca Vialli and Ciro Ferrara, he won the World Military Championship with the Italian National Military team beating Germany 2-0. After the retirement he collaborated with the Empoli as physiotherapist.

Gianluca RAGIONIERI

Born in Vinci in 1977 but grew up in Castelfiorentino.
Grown up in the young team of Castelfiorentino, in 1992 he joined Mens Sana Siena, and then stayed at Snai Montecatini for five years (1993-1998) where he played both in the youth teams and in the A series. In 1998, he began a decade in B1: Cremona, Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto (promotion to League 2), Rieti, Ozzano, Teramo (promotion to League 2), Siena and Latina. In the summer of 2006, he returned to Castelfiorentino.

Giulia LARI

Born in Empoli in 1979, but a native of Castelfiorentino.
She did the whole career from the youth of ABC Castelfiorentino up to the women’s First Team, also playing two B2 championships. In 2015 she was called up by the Italian National Team for the Over 35 World Basketball Championship.

OTHER NOTABLE PEOPLE

Giuseppe ARGENTESI, born in Chivasso (Turin) in 1965, but a citizen of Castelfiorentino. Fruit of the youth team of Torino, he has played in Serie A with Brescia and Pisa, in Serie B and C with Capobasso, Mantova, Prato, Alessandria, Ponsacco, Pro Vercelli and Viareggio.
Nibbio BACCI, born in Orbetello (Grosseto) in 1923. He started from the youth team of his city with which he disputes 6 championships of Series C, then he passes to Lazio in Series A where he debuts during the derby against Rome. He then played in Serie B with Empoli and Livorno. He closes his career in Castelfiorentino. A youth football memorial has been held in his honour since 1998 in Castelfiorentino.
Vincenzo MARINO, born in Castelfiorentino in 1949, grew up in the Gialloblu youth sector until he reached the Serie B with Brescia and Brindisi and the Serie C with Giulianova and Prato. His nephew Francesco is currently Empoli’s physiotherapist.
Niky AGNORELLI, born in Florence in 1986 but grew up in Castelfiorentino where he still lives. After a few years in the youth sector of Castelfiorentino, he moved to Empoli where he worked his way up through the youth ranks before making his debut in Serie B against Bari. He then wanders several years on the fields of Serie C, including Massese, Prato, Cuoiopelli Cappiano, Poggibonsi and Pro Vasto.
Leandro PRATELLI, born in San Miniato (PI) but resident in Castelfiorentino. Goalkeeper born in 2002, he covered the role of third Empoli goalkeeper in the 2020/2021 season, winning the promotion from Serie B to Serie A. In 2021/2022 he will wear the Piacenza shirt in Serie C.
Marco GHIZZANI, born in Castelfiorentino in 1974, after the soccer school in Castelfiorentino he played for many seasons in Serie C with the jerseys of Siena, Ascoli, Lumezzane, Grosseto, Carrarese, Cisco Roma and Ivrea.
Samon REIDER RODRÍGUEZ, born in Guantanamo (Cuba) in 1988 but he lived and grew up in Castelfiorentino. Juventus picked him up from the youth ranks of Castelfiorentino and had him train and make his debut in the first team during the Birra Moretti Trophy against AC Milan. It turns then in loan in Series C with Poggibonsi, Alessandria, Pergocrema, Bassano Virtus, Casale and Reggiana. He also has an experience in the Portuguese Serie B with the jersey of Olhanense.
Damiano MITRA, born in Castelfiorentino in 1985, he passed from the Gialloblu youth academy to Empoli where he became captain of the Primavera team and was often called up with the first team for the Italian Cup and Championship matches. He then moves on to Serie C at Cuoiopelli Cappiano, Melfi, Paganese and Casale.
Lorenzo TAFI, Castelfiorentino, class 1991. Castelfiorentino sold him to Fiorentina with which he made a large part of the youth team and then moved to Serie C to Prato and Borgo a Buggiano. Always in Series C he becomes the captain of Poggibonsi.
Sandro SCARDIGLI, born in Castelfiorentino in 1985, passes from the youth of Castelfiorentino to those of Empoli up to the Primavera. He then plays in Serie C with Rondinella Firenze and Poggibonsi.
Alessio PUCCI, born in Castelfiorentino in 1972, played for ABC until the age of sixteen and then was taken by Olimpia Pistoia (teammate of Kobe Bryan’s father), where he remained for four seasons and made his debut in A2. He then moved on to Aosta, again in A2.
Nicole REALI, born in 1983, fruit of the youth of ABC, makes her debut in Serie A1 in Ivrea.
Teresa DEI, born in 1987, from ABC youth team to Pontedera in Serie A1.
Mario GILARDETTI
 and Nedo BETTI, the Castelfiorentino sports halls were named after them. They gave life to the Castelfiorentino Basketball Association (ABC) and to the company that produced the baskets to be supplied to all the teams in the peninsula through the “ABC Workshop”, which today bears the name of ABC Tecnosport.
Aladino PUCCIONI, born in Cambiano, a hamlet of Castelfiorentino, in 1923. He has raced as professional cyclist a turn of the Flanders and one Liegi-Bastogne-Liegi. It has made part of one representative Azzurra, and it is numbered between the Tuscan glories of the cycling. It has been companion of team and friend of Gino Bartali (who is also from Castelfiorentino).
Emilia MATTEOLI, born in 1999, she has been a professional cyclist for three years running for the Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano, finishing third in the team at the Dubai Women’s Tour.
Andrea BARTALI, born in 1989, first place at the Italian Light Contact (Kickboxing) championships in 2015.
Alessio CORNAMUSINI, born in Castelfiorentino in 1966, is an athlete specializing in sport climbing. Six-time Italian Lead champion, he boasts prestigious placements at the international level, including success in the 2016 World Cup and world silver in Paris 2016.
Antonio SALMORIA, jockey known as “Leggerino”, born in Castelfiorentino. He won the Palio di Siena seven times, having disputed it on forty occasions in the period between 1873 and 1895. He won twice for the Contrade Montone and Oca, once for Selva, Lupa and Tartuca.