Italian football may not be in the same position as it was in its height of its powers during the 90s but teams like Massimo Allegri’s Juventus are still feared by most of Europe. Italian teams are renowned for a couple of staple characteristics, which represent their culture too; passionate, artistic and red blooded.
While Italy continues to be a wonderful country to visit with places such as Florence, Turin and Milan at the top of the list for tourist destinations, Italian flair is also represented in the country’s architecture. Creative, unique and flamboyant, Italian football transcends pitches and into the artistic veins of some of the country’s boldest engineers.
As the travel industry has evolved, determined by consumer behavior, online and physical agents have begun packaging vacations differently. City breaks have become extremely popular among European citizens, and what better way to visit Italy than by taking in a football match on the way.
In this article we’ll look at 5 of the most wonderful football stadiums, Italy has to offer football fans the world over.
1. Juventus Stadium – Juventus
In 2009 Juventus left the iconic Stadio delle Alpi for a smaller home, the Juventus Stadium. Their new stadium only holds 41,000 spectators compared to the massive 67,000 of the Stadio delle Alpi, which was often half-full hence the desire for the club to move to a more practical stadium. They opened the new stadium against English side Notts County in a friendly match, according to Guardian journalist Richard Williams that paved the way for a new era for the Serie A team.
The Juventus Stadium offers a more intimate atmosphere for fans to enjoy The Old Lady play, and with recent additions such as Dani Alves and Gonzalo Higuain, it has made for one of the most unbelievable experiences in world football.
Additionally, the stadium was built with sustainability in mind as it can generate the majority of its energy through solar panel technology.
2. San Siro – Milan & Inter
Home to both Milan clubs; the San Siro has become the most famous of all Italian stadiums. It holds 80,000 people and also regularly stages international games. This category five stadium is one of the biggest in Europe and has staged some famous games in both the World Cup and European Championships over the years.
Although AC Milan are no longer the force they once were, they still have a large following across the world. Currently, the team is playing in the U.S. in a series of games against Europe’s elite. Betfair who cover Europe’s biggest leagues recently covered their fixture with English side Chelsea, and suggested that they were “a club in turmoil and were a shadow of their former selves,” according to Italian football columnist Paul Robinson.
For tourists, there are many San Siro Tours that support languages such as English, German and French as well as of course, Italian.
3. Stadio San Paolo – Napoli
Located on the outskirts of Naples, Stadio San Paolo was the stage for the 1960 Summer Olympics. Back then it held over 100,000 people but has since been reduced to 61,000 making it the third biggest in Italy.
In typical Italian style, it has a running track around the edge of the pitch separating the fans from the pitch. This is generally implemented because Italian fans have an affinity for setting off flares during matches.
The stadium was once the home to one of the world’s greatest footballers, Diego Maradona during the 80s and 90s. Although, they don’t have any world class players after the transfer of Higuain to Juventus, the city of Naples has much to offer.
For a full run down of the best places to visit in Naples, visit the ’20 Great Things to do in Naples’ article published by Time Out Magazine.
4. Stadio Artemio Franchi – Fiorentina
A modest stadium compared to the others on the list, the quaint Stadio Artemio Franchi is home to Serie A side Fiorentina in the heart of Florence. It holds 41,000 and isn’t as modernised as the likes of the San Siro and the Juventus Stadium. It lacks a roof to guard fans from rain, but while it may not be the most functional stadium, it adds to its overall character.
5. Stadio Olimpico – Lazio & Roma
Home to Rome’s biggest clubs Roma and Lazio, the Stadio Olimpico was also home to the 1990 World Cup Final. The stadium has hosted four European Cup finals and regularly hosts athletics events as it has a running track around the pitch.
The stadium was first opened in 1937 before it went through a large restoration project in 1953 and later expanded in 1990 before the aforementioned World Cup Final.
The Stadio Olimpico is known for being like a cauldron on match days, and its oval shape is unique to the footballing world.