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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.
Serie A is the premier soccer league in Italy and the one that Italians follow most closely.
Serie A 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 typically runs from August/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: Details for the 2021-22 Season
The 2021-22 Serie A season begins on August 21, 2021, and will run through May 22, 2022. There will be a Christmas break from December 23 to January 6.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 and variant situation around Italy and the world, spectator capacity for stadiums is now at 75%, up from 50% at the beginning of the 2021/22 season. The capacity regulations will continue to be reviewed as needed.
Spectators will be required to present a Green Pass to enter the stadium and will then have their temperature checked at the gate. Inside the stadium, seats will be laid out in a checkerboard pattern (every other seat occupied) and masks will be required. (source)
For Serie A news, see Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian), ESPN, and IFTV on Twitter and Instagram. You can also get more information directly from the Serie A website, though not all news is available in English.
For scheduling and other information, check for news on the Serie A website or on individual team websites, linked below.
Serie A Teams | 2021/2022 Season
Which Serie A team should you see during the 2021-22 season?
Trying to figure out which team to see can be a challenge due to ticket availability and your travel itinerary.
Representing southern Italy, in addition to Napoli are Salernitana, is Cagliari in Sardinia.
Champions League and Europa League Matches
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.
Serie B , Serie C, and Serie D
Lega B, also known as Serie B, is Italy’s secondary league. It 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 of Serie B, which are determined through a final playoff round, get promoted each year to Serie A. At the same time, 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 and so on. 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.
Other Tournaments and Friendlies
Organized by Serie A, the Coppa Italia involves 44 teams from Italy’s top three leagues—all 20 from Serie A; all 20 from Serie B; and the top 4 squads from Serie C (aka Lega Pro). It is a round-robin, knockout tournament wherein the lowest-ranked teams play in the first phase. The top 8 Serie A squads (based on the standings from the previous year) only enter the competition starting with the round of 16 in the second phase. This format heavily favors the big teams, but it does offer a chance for some “Cinderella” narratives.
The Coppa Italia begins in mid-August and matches are played throughout the year, usually on weeknights. The final match is played in May at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
The Supercoppa Italiana is a single match that pits the Serie A winner and the Coppa Italia champion from the previous season. If one team has won both the Serie A and Coppa Italia in the previous season, then the Supercoppa match is between the Coppa Italia winner and runner-up—essentially a rematch of the previous year’s Coppa Italia final.
The Supercoppa is usually played in winter. In recent years has often 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.
Friendlies are usually played during the break (e.g., in July and early August). 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.
Wait, did I say finally? I didn’t even mention the Primavera League. Named after the Italian word for spring, the Campionato Primavera is a tournament for the youth squads (under-19) of Serie A (and some Serie B) teams. Most Serie A teams will have information about Primavera squads and matches on their websites.
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 Italian National team matches through secondary ticket-selling sites (e.g, StubHub or ViaGoGo) or from the FIGC, the Italian national football governing body. 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.
2022 FIFA World Cup
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. Qualifier matches for the World Cup will be played until November 21, 2021.
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 resale 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
- AC Milan | AC Milan Tickets on ViaGoGo | AC Milan Tickets on StubHub
- Atalanta | Atalanta Tickets on ViaGoGo | Atalanta Tickets on Stubhub
- Bologna | Bologna Tickets on ViaGoGo | Bologna Tickets on StubHub
- Cagliari | Cagliari Tickets on ViaGoGo | Cagliari Tickets on StubHub
- Empoli | Empoli Tickets on ViaGoGo | Empoli 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
- Inter Milan | 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
- Napoli | Napoli Tickets on ViaGoGo | Napoli Tickets on StubHub
- Roma | Roma Tickets on ViaGoGo | Roma Tickets on StubHub
- Salernitana | Salernitana Tickets on ViaGoGo | Salernitana Tickets on StubHub
- Sampdoria | Sampdoria Tickets on ViaGoGo | Sampdoria Tickets on StubHub
- Sassuolo | Sassuolo Tickets on ViaGoGo | Sassuolo Tickets on StubHub
- Spezia | Spezia Tickets on ViaGoGo | Spezia Tickets on StubHub
- Torino | Torino Tickets on ViaGoGo | Torino Tickets on StubHub
- Udinese | Udinese Tickets on ViaGoGo | Udinese Tickets on StubHub
- Venezia | Venezia Tickets on ViaGoGo | Venezia 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 are trying to purchase tickets to a Napoli game, Michele in Naples can help. @napolitickets 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 season in Italy?
Italy’s professional football leagues typically play from the end of August until the end of May. Note that the 2020-2021 season is starting later than usual to account for the late ending to the 2019-20 season, delayed by coronavirus.
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 the 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!