One of my favorite pastimes in Italy is going to a soccer game.
This is from a girl who never really played soccer and who never watched a World Cup until she moved to Italy.
I went from completely uninterested to pretty obsessed, and for good reason.
Soccer in Italy is amazing!
The atmosphere at a stadium, the loyal, die-hard fans, and the way soccer creeps into any and all conversations, makes it a sport worth loving.
But, I get that it can be a little overwhelming.
That being said, don’t let that stop you from joining the fun!
I’ve broken down everything you need to know to cheer on your favorite team with confidence (FORZA VIOLA! – sorry, had to add a shout out to my favorite team).
How is Soccer Organized?
In Italy, calcio, or football (soccer in the US) is divided into tiers.
Serie A is the highest tier, thus the best. There are twenty teams in Serie A and the teams can change yearly based on rankings.
For example, teams for Serie B can move up to Serie A and teams from Serie A can also move to Serie B. The designations continue past B though, all the way to D (and even some beyond that).
In general tickets to Serie A games will be the most expensive, so if you’re on a budget you can still have a great time (for less soldi) at a lower ranked team’s game.
Calcio runs from August through May, and you can usually buy tickets in advance online.
Here’s a little hint: Take the time to research the stadium and where you are going to sit.
In Florence for example, there is a particularly rowdy area called, “La Curva” and it can be fun, but it’s also very intense, prone to fights and can get a bit dangerous.
Also, all the stadiums are segregated by home and away teams’ fans – so if you’re rooting for the opposing team (the away team) you will have to sit with other away team fans, and leave and enter with them as well.
Italy does a good job of keeping things a bit calmer this way, but we’re still talking about Italians, so be prepared for boisterousness and some profanity. Soccer games are not for people who are easily offended!
Next when you go to buy tickets, or read the calendar of games, keep in mind that the first name listed is the home team.
So, Napoli vs. Fiorentina means the game is in Napoli.
When you tell someone you’re going to the game, it’s important to list the names in the correct order, because then they’ll understand where the game is taking place.
You: Stasera vado alla partita!
Friend: Che partita è?
You: Napoli vs. Fiorentina!
Friend: Che figo, vai a Napoli solo per vedere una partita?
You: Sì! Perche no?!
What about the National Team?
Besides the teams in the various serie, Italy also has a national team, which is made up of the best Italian soccer players.
They are nicknamed Gli Azzuri, for their bright blue uniforms.
The players don’t have to be in Serie A, but they do have to be Italian nationals.
Sometimes the players come from rival teams (Juve vs. Fiorentina), and sometimes they play on clubs in other countries. I went to a national team game one time and loved it! Seeing all of Italy’s finest soccer stars on one field was incredibly exciting!
Must Know Before You Go Vocab
OK, you get it and you’re ready to go!
Here are some common words to keep in mind before you head out.
— I tifosi – Fans
— La partita – Match
— Il campo – The field
— Lo stadio – The stadium
— Segnare un gol – To score a goal
— La maglia – The jersey (also t-shirt but in soccer refers to the jersey)
— Il portiere – The goalkeeper
— l’allenatore – The coach
— Forza ____!! – Go ____ (insert team name)!!
— GOLLLLLLLL!!!!! – GOALLLLLLL!
— Calciatore – player
— Fallo – foul
— Lo scudetto – The Serie A championship cup (aka what every team wants to win!)
Have you ever been to a game? What is your favorite Italian team?