There are few things more thrilling than watching a match in Italy, regardless of whether you’re a football (or soccer) fan. Calcio is considered Italy’s national sport. It is also a popular choice for Italians of all ages. Even if Rome or Lazio win, it doesn’t matter to you. The atmosphere is electric.
These are some tips to help you get to an Italian football match. This page has been updated for the 2011-2012 football season. )
1. It is important to be familiar with the various levels of Italian soccer. They were famous for their 2006 win at the World Cup, but they lost it in 2010.
These are the teams that you will hear most about in Italian sports-speak. These are the top 20 teams in Italy. These teams change every year depending on how they do, but almost always include legendary teams like Inter Milan, Bologna Fiorentina and Roma. Inter Milan is the only Serie A team to have never been downgraded. Tickets to these games are available for as little as EUR12 and up to EUR120.
Below “Serie A”, there is–you guessed right–“Serie B” and several other levels. These tickets are generally cheaper than those for EUR12-25.
2. You must make sure that you are there during football season. This may seem obvious, but it’s not. Given the passion of Italians for the sport, it is quite possible to believe that something so important should be held all year. It is actually almost all year round, but if your travels are in June or July, you won’t be able to attend. Serie A and other domestic matches are held from August through May.
3. Make sure you are 100% certain that you want to go. The problem is that while going to a match can be great fun and a great cultural experience (most stadiums are located in major cities), it can also prove difficult. Depending on the game, it can be quite expensive.
Importantly, it can be dangerous to attend a game. It is possible to see passions at an Italian soccer match that make everything back home in the U.S. seem like Grandma’s Parcheesi tournaments. If you are from Britain, however, this may sound familiar. There has been a lot of trouble with crowds, violence and rioting at soccer games in the past. It got so bad that the president of Italy’s Football Federation had to temporarily stop league football in 2007.
It’s getting better: A radical package of anti-hooliganism legislation was introduced in 2007 to make the games safer and more family-friendly. Violence at Italian soccer matches has been with more incidents every season. Local pairings such as Roma versus Lazio, Juventus versus Torino and Catania versus Palermo are all worth your attention. They’re often heated due to being neighbors.
You might consider reading one tourist’s account of a 2009 Roma/Lazio match before you make your decision to attend.
4. Still undeterred? Check out the football schedule. Here is the 2011-2012 Serie A soccer schedule. This page contains the 2011-2012 schedule of Serie A and other leagues. If you have any problems, run it through the Google Translator.
Are you having trouble understanding the schedules? Here’s a tip. Each team pairs plays twice in each city. This pair does not need to be rewritten twice. It appears only once, but on two dates. On the Serie A schedule, Siena & Fiorentina played twice on December 21st and Jan 29th. They play where for each game. The city on the left is where the first game takes place. It was Siena on December 21st, and Florence is Fiorentina on January 29th.
5. Buy your tickets!
Tickets can be purchased at the stadium but you cannot buy them on the day. This means that you will need to make a trip to the stadium to purchase your tickets in advance. Your name will be printed on your ticket, so make sure you have your I.D. When you actually get to the game!
You can also purchase tickets at the club outlet in your city. Ask your hotel staff where the closest club outlet is. They’ll be able to help you! You can also purchase your tickets in advance at the venue. The upfront payment is required. You will then be charged the outlet for your tickets.
Online ticket purchases are now possible. Although this may seem like the easiest way to purchase tickets, there are some ticket sellers who charge exorbitant prices and people who have complained about not receiving their tickets. Still, if you want to do it this way–either because you’re worried the game will sell out before you can get to the club outlet or stadium, or simply for convenience–websites to look at include TicketOne and Listicket.
Not all clubs allow you to purchase tickets online. This is especially true for clubs that are not in the top echelons. If you have trouble understanding the site, please run it through Google Translator.
The seats in the corners and behind the goals are the most expensive. You will also have the worst views from those seats.
Enjoy your soccer match in Italy… and stay safe!