Photo by Flickr user John Wood
Italian soccer season begins in August, and let me tell you, in Italy, soccer is serious business.
Italians even have a different name for the sport than most European languages - calcio rather than futbol – because they’ve been playing some version of the sport since Roman times!
Next to a meal with an Italian family or a palio celebration, attending a soccer game in Italy is one of the best ways to dive into and fully experience Italian culture.
How to Get Tickets to an Italian Soccer Game
Photo by Flickr user Nick
As most Italians take an extended summer holiday, the soccer season runs from August through May. Sunday is the most popular day for games, followed by Saturday.
Before you look at the season’s schedule, decide what type of game you want to see. The top teams, those known around the world like AC Milan, Roma, Inter, Fiorentina, play in the Series A, and those tickets can be expensive and hard to come by, especially in the case of important match-ups.
If you want to catch a game, but don’t particularly care who you see, check for any series to see what games are available while you’re in town.
You can often get tickets online, usually from the club or team site, but there are hefty fees that border on scalped ticket prices. The best way to get tickets is in person, at the stadium, but you’ll need to do it in advance and unfortunately most stadiums are well out of the city center and only take cash.
When you buy tickets and arrive at the stadium, you’ll need to show a photo ID as Italian soccer tickets have the attendee’s name printed on them.
Attending an Italian Soccer Game - What You Need to Know
Photo by Flickr user Fatoom Qoughandoqa
Games between rival teams aren’t just heated; they can be dangerous.
Fans from the away team sit in an enclosed area to keep the home team fans from throwing things at them or attacking them and visa versa. It’s best not only to avoid sporting the away team’s colors, but not to cheer for them at all.
To keep things calm, or at least as calm as possible, Italian stadiums are alcohol-free, though smoking is incredibly common. At the entrance gate, guards check bags for bottled liquids, confiscate any alcohol, and remove the caps from any permitted beverages.
Excited fans tend to throw things on the field, either in happiness or disapproval, and there were some incidents of players being injured by projectile soda bottles several years ago.
But it's not all dangerous. The enthusiasm is contagious, so don't be surprised if you leave the game with a new pack of Italian friends.