“We are the champions,” read the front page of the Corriere della Sera. “Europe is ours,” crowed La Repubblica, while Il Messaggero and La Stampa went one further: “We are Europe”.
That was just the quality dailies. Italy’s sports newspapers were even more exuberant. “It’s ours!” screamed the Corriere dello Sport, its leading article reading, “Football came home! To ours, though.”
“All roads lead to Rome,” was the front page of Il Romanista, self-styled “newspaper of the world’s most hardcore fans”.
Inside, they were jubilant. Donnarumma was “the giant who shut Wembley up”, according to Il Messaggero.
There were also harsh words for the England fans who, having trashed Leicester Square earlier in the day, booed the Italian national anthem – against the wishes of Gareth Southgate, who had begged them not to.
“The night before they sacked London in all conceivable ways, with smoke bombs, wild choirs, beer that overflowed from their bottles and their stomachs and ended on the pavement amid broken glass and the stench of alcohol – and, what’s more, trampled our flag throughout the city.
“Better to beat them like this, on penalties, under their lovely drizzle.”
La Repubblica mentioned “shameful scenes outside the stadium” from “dozens of drunk England fans”.
Not all Italians were so harsh, however.
“There’s always someone stupid,” Roberto Pola, who runs a newspaper kiosk near the Trevi fountain, told The Independent.
“Italy does it too. Sadly sport is followed by people who don’t have a sense of sportsmanship. It’s ugly but it’s not only the English who do it. You can’t judge a nation on that.”
And the night before, Italians celebrating in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo had even apologised to England fans for winning and called England “a great team”.
As fans brandishing Italian flags and honking horns converged on Piazza Venezia, the symbolic centre of Rome, the atmosphere was one of elation, not menace – even at 3am.
However, he only England flag to be seen had had an expletive spraypainted over it, and two more fans carried a banner with an obscene comment about the Queen.
But overall, it was a relaxed night, with fans waving their flags and lighting flares in front of the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, known as the “altar of the fatherland”.
Police lined the monument, where an eternal flame burns at Italy’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but, other than some instances of bottles being thrown at police, there was none of the trouble that had been forecast.
In fact, the local Rome section of Il Messaggero called it a “magic night”.
Although the atmosphere is one of delight in Italy, it’s not gleeful – and in places it’s generous, too. “The Great Shame of 2018 [in which Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup] is now forgotten,” said the Corriere dello Sport, which also devotes an entire page to Roberto Mancini’s end-of-match tears.
And La Repubblica called Italy “an immortal cat that sees the lorry’s headlights on the motorway but manages to dodge it”.
The paper’s London correspondent Antonello Guerrera, meanwhile, labelled Jordan Pickford “extraordinary” and said that “gentleman” Gareth Southgate was “a good patriot, the glue sticking a split country back together”.
“The calm manager has transformed a nation of clans and primadonnas into a group of extraordinary harmony and competence,” he wrote – although he couldn’t help noting that England’s “curse” continues.
In fact, “Wembley was a puddle,” wrote journalist Marco Evangelisti in Il Messaggero. “Everyone cried – winners and losers. Happiness and desperation, after a history so long and intense that… it’s impossible not to understand how much a success like this means.”
Romans agreed – and they also knew how much it meant to England.
“I’m sorry – I really thought we would lose,” said one newspaper seller on Monday morning.
Eike Schmidt, the football-loving director of the Uffizi Galleries, said that Italy has now “assumed the role of fighting for and speaking for the whole of Europe.”
He added that Dante – who died in 1321 – was the man to do it “on a cultural level”. A day earlier, on their Facebook page, the Uffizi had compared the final to a contest between the two nations’ cultural heavyweights, captained by Dante and Shakespeare.
They weren’t the only ones getting poetic. So excited was newspaper-seller Pola that he had written a poem to his customers in Roman dialect, and pinned it up in his kiosk.
Wembley “suddenly became the Colosseum”, he wrote.
“We thought we were going under after two minutes, but we weren’t lost.
“We pulled out our pride and partisans, and then we made it on penalties.
“We’re champions! It’s true, and it’s beautiful too.
“And the hurricane [of the English]… was only a little breeze.”