The journalist and author was born in Unna and grew up in Kamen, both situated in the eastern Ruhr region of Germany. She later traveled to Italy where a Venetian stopped her in her tracks. Convinced she would find Venice overrated, it won her over. She has now lived there for 30 years, gets worked up about cruise ships and occasionally takes on the Mafia (e.g. in “Palermo Connection: Serena Vitale ermittelt” [Palermo Connection: Serena Vitale investigates]). A fighter. No wonder she’s a Borussia Dortmund fan.

When and how did you first become a Borussia Dortmund fan?
When you grow up in Kamen, there are only really two choices. I was never going to be an FC Schalke 04 supporter. When I was doing my school leaving exams in 1976, Borussia Dortmund had just earned its return to the Bundesliga thanks to two fabulous wins against Nuremberg. Everyone around me was unbelievably proud and I caught the bug.

What do people in your adopted country think of the team? 
Italians have always been slightly inclined toward Bayern Munich. But Borussia Dortmund has really caught up over the past few years. Their irrepressible will to win coupled with their elegant style of playing is popular with Italians.  

How do you keep up with Borussia Dortmund games?
I usually watch them at home on Sky. Lino, my husband, isn’t much support. I managed to marry the only Italian who isn’t interested in soccer. Our grandchildren don’t feel the same, thank goodness. Three of the five are soccer fanatics. I’ve already dressed two of them entirely in black and yellow. 

Have you had any interesting experiences because you’re a Borussia Dortmund fan? 
I often used to meet up with actor Joachim Król when he was regularly in Venice filming the TV show about Commissario Brunetti. Whenever Borussia Dortmund was playing, he would disappear into the Inishark Irish Pub, which showed all the games. On my travels as a reporter for GEO magazine, people always ask where in Germany I come from. For the sake of simplicity, I always say Dortmund. And it doesn’t matter if I’m in Mali, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus or China – the instant response is invariably: “Oh yes, Borussia Dortmund!”  

What is the title of your next book, when is it out and what is it about?
“Als ich einmal in den Canal Grande fiel: vom Leben in Venedig” [When I fell into the Grand Canal: Stories of life in Venice] – it will be out in spring 2021 and is about my very personal view of the city.
Interview: Uwe Schedlbauer
Photo: Petra Reski in Palermo (Credit: Shobha)

In this section, our main sponsor Evonik, who supports us at all of our international games, lets soccer fans who feel close to Borussia Dortmund but live nowhere near SIGNAL IDUNA PARK have their say.

Evonik can be found in 100 different countries, all of which are home to countless Borussia Dortmund fans. This includes Italy, as the example of Petra Reski demonstrates. The most important location for Evonik in Italy is Pandino – a picturesque spot in the north of the country, not too far from the major soccer cities Turin, Milan and Parma. There, some 50 employees produce additives for the cosmetics, paint and coatings industry. Evonik also has an office in Milan. And around 30 sales experts look after Evonik customers in a wide range of industries throughout Italy.