Buying tickets for Italian Football
If you have plans to watch Milan or Inter at the Giuseppe Meazza, Roma or Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico or even try to enjoy a game in one of Italy’s less well know venues, it is essential that you know how to over come some of the hurdles you will encounter re ticket acquisition.
Firstly DO NOT purchase your tickets from an online ticket seller. They will charge you an extortionate amount of money. For example this year I purchased a ticket for Inter v Parma on the Curva Nord at 25 Euros and a year earlier paid 35 Euros for a ticket in the middle section of the Meazza for Inter v Brescia. The online site wanted to charge me 189 Euros and 312 Euros respectively.
Tickets in Italy do not go on sale until approx 10 days before the match. This is a problem for the average Englishman as the questions that arise are, can I buy from the UK and if so will I cross them in transit? You do not want to end up with your tickets here in the UK whilst you are in Italy. The second problem is that for some reason Italian Clubs are reluctant to sell and post out to the UK, there is an easier option. You can either buy them before match day or get your concierge to do this for you. I will cover this more later.
Passports are essential to have with you at all times whilst in Italy when watching the football. The Police can stop you at anytime (and trust me they do) and you need your ID to hand. You will also need your passport to a.) Purchase the tickets and b.) To get into the match as proof of your ID with your ticket (they will check sporadically but its better to be safe)
The best two ways to purchase tickets are either to get them outside the ground from the ticket office, use your concierge at the hotel or purchase from certain banks or post offices before the game. You should decide what you will do BEFORE you book you flights as there are problems with all of the above.
If you decide you will stay in a hotel or a hostel without a concierge to save costs. Your thoughts will be that you will just take your passport and buy the tickets, this is generally not a bad idea. However, BEWARE, I considered just turning up at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence but I used my concierge instead in the end. I found out later that the ticket office was not open of the day of the game??? Crazy? No just Italy. Do your research, ring up from the UK and find out that it is open, I would ring three times minimum on different days as the answers tend to change with the people on the phone. In my opinion it is better to get there a day or two before the game and purchase your ticket from the club or the designated Bank. The second thing to be careful of with the ticket office approach is something you just have to live with. When are they open? Two examples, the first Inter v Brescia Nov 2010, I was told that the ticket office opened at 3.30pm, it certainly did not, in fact the staff did not turn up until 4.30pm, then after various sandwiches coffees and cigarettes they decided that they would open at their ‘normal time’ of 5.37pm. Still I was first in line. Secondly Jan 2012 Novara v Fiorentina, we could not get in contact with the club at all for days, when we did they said the game started at 6.00pm……..it started at 2.00pm, fortunately we knew this and risked going with no tickets. After travelling from Milan we ended up in Novara at 12.00pm and were at the ground for 1.00pm. We stood in a one of three lines each containing around 40 people. There was a single Porto cabin selling tickets. This then unbelievably took two hours to get our tickets and we only just made it in for kick off leaving a huge line behind us still waiting. The main advice is to make sure they open on the day of the game and get there early.
You can purchase tickets from the bank, as always remember your passport, the only two small problems with this are that the banks sell for the home team only. For example in Milan I could get tickets to see Inter or Milan but if I wanted tickets for say Atalanta, this would not be possible. The second point about the Banks or designated selling Mon-Fri and limited hours.
This is my favourite way to get tickets, USE THE CONCIERGE. This is what they are paid to do, you are not putting them out it is there job. Incidentally, once I have the tickets in hand I would always buy them a present, but that just me. Before you book your hotel call them tell them you want to book with them but only on the proviso that they can get you tickets. This should even work on Hotels without a concierge. Once agreed email them and confirm so you have it in writing the immediately photo copy your passport and fax it to them THEY HAVE TO HAVE THIS. About 14 days before the game remind them again that you want them to get tickets and explain where you want to sit in the ground, tell them you will pay in CASH on arrival. They will email you when confirmed and good hotels will take a picture of the tickets that should have your name printed on (make sure of this). I have been blessed with two amazing Concierges at The Hotel Brunelleschi, Florence and The Hub Hotel, Milan. The first helped me organise my engagement and the second took me on a night out in Milan but those stories are for another time.
So that is the basics of how you get your Italian Football tickets. Its is not as hard as it seems it just takes good organisation and do not be afraid to ask. I speak no Italian only a few words but my trips are organised with military precision (well, they are these days, I have made my mistakes) One more thing….remember….PASSPORT!