From Tuscany's rolling hillsides and Rome's glorious ruins to Milan's classy arcades and the rocky coastlines of Sicily, Italy has always exerted a powerful hold over Brits in need of a little R&R (and a belly full of vino). And then there's the calcio: passionate, dramatic, beautiful and brilliant. Praise be, then, that cheap flights have made watching Italian football a realistic option.
For the price of a train ticket across Britain and entry to a Premier League game, you could be in the San Siro watching Milan face Inter. So what are you waiting for? Read our brilliant guides – to the cities and the clubs – to gen up on all you need for an inspiring trip to Italy.
Click the club badges on the map below for guides to each of the teams you might want to watch – or find them in the drop-down menu above.
HOW TO BUY A TICKET
The easy answer? Don't bother. FourFourTwo's travel shop offers you the option of travel packages including flights AND tickets for specific games. Check it out here...
Rather paddle your own canoe? Fair enough. Football in Italy isn't as cheap as you might think, but it's good value by Premiership standards. The problem is that the cheapest area, the Curva behind the goal, often fills with season-ticket holders, so you'll be forced to buy a higher-grade ticket, in the distinti or tribuna. These can cost over 100 euros but are normally around 60-70. And the good news is that only Fiorentina, and in some cases Palermo and the Milan giants, are ever in danger of selling out for a run-of-the-mill league fixture.
Many clubs sell tickets online from their own sites (Lazio being one main exception), but beware that most require you to bring ID and your credit card when you pick them up. Some also have a strict deadline on the latest time to pick up your tickets. Nearly all websites have an English-language option for the most basic necessities.
Most clubs also have links to ticket agencies: www.ticketweb.it deals with the Milan clubs, www.ticketone.it with Lazio, Parma, Palermo and Cagliari and www.listicket.it with Fiorentina, Juve, Roma, Lazio, Sampdoria, Lecce and Torino. Others have arrangements with a local bank or lottery company to sell tickets through their cashpoints (check club pages in this guide for details) while nearly all have outlets in the city, either at their main retail centre (called a 'Point') or at bars, lottery kiosks and tobacco stalls connected with the club for generations.
For major derbies, title or relegation clashes or grudge games, you may have to hustle around town a couple of days before the match - or at the ground before kick-off.
Club ticket offices
The biglietteria at the stadium dispenses tickets from the midweek before the match. Opening hours are usually 10am-noon, then from mid-afternoon until the evening, although some only operate in the afternoons. Italy is transforming from a cash economy into a plastic one but slowly, so don't automatically expect that a ticket office will accept credit cards. And always take ID when paying by credit card. Often, a bar near the ground will also be authorised to sell tickets - Fiorentina is a case in point.
The weekend's kick-off times (and dates) are usually set by the Italian FA (www.figc.it) two weeks in advance. The traditional time is 3pm on a Sunday, but this may vary by an hour in the depth of winter (2pm) or summer at either end of the season (4pm). The two plum fixtures of the weekend will be chosen for live TV, and kick-off at 8.30pm, one on Saturday, one on Sunday. There's usually also a game at 6pm on Saturday. In addition, the FA will set earlier match times for the big clubs involved in Champions League action the following Tuesday. Serie B match times are more erratic, running from 8.45pm on Friday to 8.45pm on Monday, with most at 8.30pm on Saturday so as not to clash with Serie A. Check the Gazzetta dello Sport (www.gazzetta.it), the pink sports paper, for kick-off times and ticket availability.
Just the ticket
In most cases you'll find youself in the distinti, decent seats a couple of notches down from the best ones in the tribuna centrale. Smaller grounds will be divided into simple blocks of the curva, distinti and tribuna (or tribuna d'onore). Larger stadia are arranged in numbered sectors (settore) and tiers (anello, or 'ring', usually colour-coded).
For regular updates on the crazy world of Italian football, see our blog Serie Aaaargh!
FourFourTwo.com: News • Features • Interviews • Videos • Forums
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010