Going to see a soccer game in Italy is an exciting way to get to know the country and its culture. The roar of the crowd. The gorgeous green pitch. The chanting and singing — tutto in italiano. Attending a football match lets you go beyond the typical itinerary of monuments and museums and just simply hang out with Italians in an authentic, passionate, and familial environment.
If you’ve ever attended any kind of sporting match inside a stadium, you know there’s nothing like ascending those stairs up to the point where the arena and the crowd come into view. Being in the stands when your team scores is also exhilarating, as everyone joins together in a call-and-response with the stadium announcer to call out the goal scorer’s name.
Two hours at a soccer game is over in a flash. But it’s an experience that you’ll carry with you for years to come, especially if you attend a match with a calcio-loving kid.
Over the years, many readers have asked for my advice about seeing a soccer match in Italy. So here is my primer.
Table of Contents: Ultimate Guide to Seeing a Soccer Game in Italy
- What is the Serie A?
- Serie A Teams for 2019/2020 Season
- Purchase Serie A tickets
- Which Serie A Team Should You See During Your Italy Vacation?
- Cristiano Ronaldo and the #CR7 Factor
- Other Types of Leagues and Matches
- Champions League and Europa League
- Lega B, Serie C/Lega Pro, and Serie D
- Tournaments (Coppa Italia and Supercoppa) and Friendlies
- Italian National Team – Gli Azzurri
- EuroCup 2020
- When is the soccer season in Italy? Schedules for Serie A, B, C and Champions League and Europa League Play
- Common terms used in Italian Football
Serie A is the premier soccer league in Italy and the one that Italians follow most closely. The league consists of 20 teams and each team plays all of the others twice throughout the season, once at home and once at the other team’s stadium. The season runs through the end of August/beginning of September until the end of May/beginning of June, with several weeks off here and there for international breaks (e.g., Euro Cup and World Cup qualifiers). So that means that there are about 10 months out of each year when you can catch a Serie A game.
Serie A Teams | 2019/2020 Season
Which Serie A Team Should You See During Your Trip to Italy?
This, by the way, is blasphemy. Pick a side.
Same goes for seeing a game in Milan. Pick a side: AC Milan or Inter. Although, the Milan area has more opportunities for seeing Serie A matches during the 2019/20 season. Atalanta is a team from Bergamo, which is about 30 minutes away from Milan. It will also be playing its Champion League home games in San Siro, the stadium that Milan and Inter share. Meanwhile, Brescia, whose team was recently promoted to Serie A, is about an hour away from Milan.
Rounding out the rest of Serie A are Genoa and Sampdoria, both located in Genoa; Cagliari in Sardinia; Hellas Verona in Verona; Lecce in the southern region of Puglia; Udinese in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The #CR7 Factor
In July 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo — aka CR7 aka the best player in the world — became a player for Juventus, one of Italy’s most storied and successful teams. Thanks (or no thanks) to Ronaldo, the world has started paying attention to Serie A like never before. So on the one hand, it’s now easier to watch Serie A on tv around the world. On the other, Juventus tickets, even for away games against less marketable teams, may be difficult to come by.
Hopefully the Cristiano Ronaldo hype will die down soon. Juventus Stadium (aka Allianz Stadium) in Torino is one of the nicest, newest, and most organized stadiums in all of Italy and I highly recommend seeing a game there if you ever get the chance.
Champions League and Europa League Matches
It is also possible to see Champions League and Europa League games in Italy. The top four Serie A teams of the previous season compete in the Champions League against top finishers from other European premier leagues. The Europa League is secondary to the Champions League and is made up of the fifth and sixth place Serie A finishers from the previous season plus any teams that don’t make it out of the group stage of the Champions League.
Tickets for Champions League and Europa League matches are typically more expensive and harder to come by than regular season Serie A tickets. Those who have a fan loyalty card (available for purchase from TicketOne) get first dibs on tickets for Champions League and Europa League matches. You will also see tickets for these matches available on secondary ticket sites like ViaGoGo and StubHub.
Other Types of Leagues and Matches
Most of the time when people ask me about soccer games in Italy, they are asking me about Serie A games. But there are other types of matches and other leagues to watch.
Lega B and Below
Lega B, the secondary league, has a season that runs about the same length as that of Serie A. The clubs of Lega B compete for a chance to be promoted to Serie A. The top three teams get promoted each year while the bottom three Serie A teams get relegated to Serie B. Meanwhile, the bottom three teams of Serie B get sent down to Serie C. I’ve flirted with Serie B fandom over the years and love the fact that it feels like back-to-basics, in-the-trenches, no-flash football.
If you really like no-flash football, then there are the Serie C and Serie D leagues, which are usually contested by teams in much smaller Italian towns. The Serie C, also known as Lega Pro, is split into three groups (Girone A, Girone B, Girone C) of 20 teams each. Serie D, the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti, fields 166 teams split among nine groups.
Seriously, there’s a lot of soccer being played in Italy.
Tournaments and Friendlies
I love Italian football but I can hardly wrap my head around the idea behind the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, two seemingly superfluous competitions. But hey, it means more soccer for everyone.
If you’d like to read about how the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana work, feel free to read this. By the way, the Supercoppa in recent years has been played outside of Italy as a way to market Serie A. So that competition is not really relevant to those of us who want to see an Italian league soccer match in Italy.
Finally, there are friendlies – amichevoli in Italian. You can learn more about what friendlies will be played during the year by looking at the website of the Italian team you are interested in seeing. I’ve seen two friendlies in Rome, with AS Roma as the host team. Both matches were festive and, er, friendly, were sparsely attended, and tickets were relatively inexpensive.
The Italian National Team – Gli Azzurri and Le Azzurre
The Italian National Team (Nazionale di Calcio dell’Italiana) is affectionately known as Gli Azzurri (the Azures) after the blue jerseys they typically wear during competition. You may be lucky to visit Italy during a time when the Nazionale is playing, either for a qualifier or tournament match for the World Cup or Euro Cup or as an exhibition or friendly match. You can purchase tickets for a Nazionale match through the secondary market (links listed below) or from the FIGC, the governing body of Italian national football. This includes tickets for the men’s team and the women’s national team (Le Azzurre); U-16, U-17, and U-18 squads, and the national futsal team.
UEFA EuroCup 2020
The UEFA European Football Championship will be played in cities across Europe, including in Rome at Stadio Olimpico.
Italy has qualified for the EuroCup and will play in Group A against Turkey, Wales, and Switzerland. The first fixture of EuroCup 2020 will be Italy vs. Turkey on 12 June. That match will be played in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Other matches scheduled to be played in Rome are Italy vs. Switzerland (17 June) and Italy vs. Wales (21 June) in the group stage and the fourth quarterfinal match on 4 July.
How to Get Tickets to a Soccer Match in Italy
Should I Purchase My Tickets Before I Go?
If you want to see a soccer game while you are traveling in Italy, it is best to purchase your tickets online before you go. Go directly to the website of the team you want to see to view their game schedule or view the complete Serie A schedule and check it against your travel itinerary. Note that the team listed first is the home team.
In my experience, it is much easier and often cheaper to purchase tickets directly from the club as they have more control over their tickets. But not all Serie A teams make their tickets available for purchase on their website. In this case, you will need to buy your ticket via TicketOne or VivaTicket, both of which are authorized ticketing sites for Serie A, or from a ticket resale site like ViaGoGo or StubHub.
Note that most clubs do not release tickets for purchase until about two weeks prior to each match, which can be pain if you are eager to finalize your itinerary. This is where secondary sellers like ViaGoGo or StubHub come in. The tickets listed for resell on those sites are ones that have been purchased ahead of time by season ticket holders.
Can I Buy Tickets at the Stadium?
Of course, if you are a casual fan, you can wait to purchase your tickets in person. Most teams have a store in the city center where you can buy tickets (if any are still available). Stadium ticket counters typically open only on match day, about two to three hours before kick-off.
A secondary marketplace for soccer games also exists. I have used ViaGoGo to search for and ultimately purchase tickets for Italian football matches. StubHub also tends to have a large inventory of Serie A tickets for sale. Though I have never used the latter for Serie A tickets, I have used the service to purchase tickets for other events.
Find and Purchase Serie A Tickets
The following links go directly to the clubs’ websites and to the secondary ticket marketplaces on ViaGoGo and StubHub. Please note that this list includes affiliate links, through which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Purchase Serie A Tickets
- Atalanta | Atalanta Tickets on ViaGoGo | Atalanta Tickets on Stubhub
- Bologna | Bologna Tickets on ViaGoGo | Bologna Tickets on StubHub
- Brescia | Brescia Tickets on ViaGoGo | Brescia Tickets on StubHub
- Cagliari | Cagliari Tickets on ViaGoGo | Cagliari Tickets on StubHub
- Fiorentina | Fiorentina Tickets on ViaGoGo | Fiorentina Tickets on StubHub
- Genoa | Genoa Tickets on ViaGoGo | Genoa Tickets on StubHub
- Hellas Verona | Hellas Verona Tickets on ViaGoGo | Hellas Verona Tickets on StubHub
- Internazionale | Inter Milan Tickets on ViaGoGo | Inter Milan Tickets on StubHub
- Juventus | Juventus Tickets on ViaGoGo | Juventus Tickets on StubHub
- Lazio | Lazio Tickets on ViaGoGo | Lazio Tickets on StubHub
- Lecce | Lecce Tickets on ViaGoGo | Lecce Tickets on StubHub
- Milan | AC Milan Tickets on ViaGoGo | AC Milan Tickets on StubHub
- Napoli | Napoli Tickets on ViaGoGo | Napoli Tickets on StubHub
- Parma | Parma Tickets on ViaGoGo | Parma Tickets on StubHub
- Roma | Roma Tickets on ViaGoGo | Roma Tickets on StubHub
- Sampdoria | Sampdoria Tickets on ViaGoGo | Sampdoria Tickets on StubHub
- Sassuolo | Sassuolo Tickets on ViaGoGo | Sassuolo Tickets on StubHub
- SPAL | SPAL Tickets on ViaGoGo | SPAL Tickets on StubHub
- Torino | Torino Tickets on ViaGoGo | Torino Tickets on StubHub
- Udinese | Udinese Tickets on ViaGoGo | Udinese Tickets on StubHub
Is It Safe to Buy Tickets from a Secondary Reseller?
Two of the best-known ticket resale sites for Italy soccer tickets is ViaGoGo, which I have used to purchase Serie A tickets with success, and StubHub, which I have used in the past but not for soccer tickets. You can expect a mark-up on tickets, as well as additional purchasing fees.
While I have not had any issues purchasing tickets from a secondary seller, I know that others have. To ease buyers’ fears, ViaGoGo has a detailed Buyers’ Guarantee:
“Buyers are guaranteed to receive valid tickets in time for the event. If a problem arises, viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund.”
The StubHub Promise, called FanProtect, offers a 100% guarantee on every order.
What is a Tessera del Tifoso (Fan Loyalty Card) and Do I Need One?
TicketOne, Serie A’s authorized online ticket seller, requires you to have a tessera del tifoso, or fan loyalty card, if you want to purchase tickets. Likewise, if you want to see your favorite club at an away game and sit in your team’s area, you will need to have a fan loyalty card.
Procuring a tessera del tifoso takes about 3-4 weeks and you can do it directly on the TicketOne website. As of this writing, there are only 19 clubs across Serie A/B that offer their loyalty cards through TicketOne. So the process is not particularly practical if you are a casual fan.
But, if you want to know more, AS Roma fan site Chiesa di Totti has more information on the tessera del tifoso history and process.
Additional Ticket and Fan Experience Resources
In the process of writing and updating this post, I have come across several resources for purchasing tickets. If the team websites or ViaGoGo doesn’t work for you, here are some other ideas.
If you know of any other resources to add to this list, please get in touch.
- If you want help purchasing tickets to a Napoli game, Michele in Naples can help. @getnapoliticket is his twitter handle. He is able to help fans purchase home and away tickets for a small fee.
- For Juventus fans, contact Maurizio at Around Turin for information on getting tickets and going to a game (and other pre-game festivities) with other Juve fans.
Other Things to Consider When Seeing a Soccer Game in Italy
When Is the Soccer/Football Played in Italy?
Italy’s professional football leagues play from approximately the end of August until the end of May. The majority of Serie A matches are played on Sunday, with a few others played on Saturday and Monday. Most Serie B games are played on Saturdays, with a few matches taking place on Friday and Sunday. Other leagues also typically play on the weekend.
Champions League and Euro League play takes place from mid-September to mid-June. These games are usually held on weekday evenings so as to accommodate the league schedules of the participating teams.
There are rare occasions when Serie A and the lower leagues play in the middle of the week, usually in the run-up to a holiday weekend. It is rare that matches are held on major holidays, such as Christmas, so that players, coaches, refs, and fans can all spend time with their families.
There are built-in breaks throughout the regular season for “international breaks.” These are when qualifying players play with their respective national teams for Euro Cup or World Cup qualifiers.
Here are quick links to some schedules:
Is it safe to see a soccer game in Italy?
I have felt very safe at all games that I have attended and I have felt safe taking my kids, too. But that doesn’t mean that all games and all stadiums are safe at all times. Use your best judgment. For example, don’t wear the shirt of the opposing team if you are sitting on the home side.
Note that all soccer game tickets in Italy must be associated with a name and you will have to show your ID at the stadium entrance.
Is there food to eat at the stadium?
While Italy is all about food, it is an afterthought at a stadium. There are no BBQ restaurants overlooking centerfield, for example. There are, however, a few stands within the stadiums that sell a few items – hot dogs or chips or crackers. Nothing too fancy. Beer, soda, and water are usually available at these stands and may also be sold by vendors wandering the stadium seats. Of course, as is the case at most sporting events, there will be food vendors outside the stadium both before and after game, perhaps selling the local street snack, pizza, sandwiches, etc.
Can you buy team gear at the stadium?
It depends. I haven’t had the chance to visit every stadium in Italy, so I don’t know what the gear situation is. I recall on visits to Stadio Olimpico in Rome and Juventus Stadium in Turin that there were small stands inside the stadium that sold official gear (and no shortage of vendors outside these stadiums selling replica shirts, scarves, and other products). Most Italians teams tend to rely on official team stores, usually located in the city center, to sell team merchandise. So, if you want to look like a fan while you’re at the game, it’s best to buy your gear beforehand at a team store or online.
What are some common terms used in Italian football?
- Allenatore = Coach
- Arbitro = Referee
- Autogol = Own goal
- Biglietto/Biglietti = Ticket(s)
- Calcio = Soccer/Football
- Calcio d’Angolo = Corner
- Calcio Libero = Free Kick
- Campionato = Championship
- Capitano = Captain
- Capocannoniere = Lead goal scorer
- Cartellino Giallo/Rosso = Yellow/Red Card
- Classifica = Standings or Scoreboard
- Giocatore = Player
- Panchina = Bench
- Portiere – Goalkeeper
- Rigore = Penalty
- Rovesciata = Bicycle Kick
- Squadra = Team/Club
- Stadio = Stadium
- VAR = VAR!