Seeing a futbol match in Rome is a memorable experience. The crowds can get quite passionate and the atmosphere intense. The are two teams in Rome, AS Roma and SS Lazio. AS Roma is regarded as the “city team” and Lazio is the regional team. Those are the “pleasant” names. At birth, you choose your side – or rather your family allegiance chooses it for you. It’s often said that young Lazio fans would NEVER date or think of marrying an AS Roma fan – heaven forbid! I’ve had fun (and interesting) conversations with Lazio taxi drivers when I‘ve told them I’m an AS Roma fan.
As you would imagine, these teams have some of the most rabid fans. Since 1929 these teams play each other twice a year in a raucous environment. The event is known simply as, “The Rome Derby,” or more accurately, Derby della Capitale. Occasionally – well I guess more accurately – often, there have been instances of violence between these two clubs. Thirty years ago a Lazio fan, Vincenzo Paparelli, was killed in the stadium when an emergency flare was fired into the Curva Sud. In 2004, the match was “abandoned” when unfounded rumors of a fatality led to violence outside the stadium.
After reading that you might be reconsidering your thoughts of seeing a futbol match in Rome… but don’t. These are quite certainly the “exceptions” and not the rule. Yes, the crowds are loud, they’ll stand on their seats and yell, and if you have read Eat, Pray, Love, you remember the scene where the elder Italian fan curses the players on the field the ENTIRE game! But this is an incredible experience and not to be missed – especially if you are a futbol fan! A little background for the newcomers… and apologies to those intense and educated futbol fans. From wikipedia, some information on the local teams…..
Associazione Sportiva Roma, commonly referred to as simply Roma, is an Italian professional football club from Rome. Founded by a merger in 1927, Roma have participated in the top-tier of Italian football for all of their existence but one season in the early 50s (1951–52). For their 59th season in a row (78th overall), Roma are competing in Serie A for 2010–11.
Roma have won Serie A three times, first in 1941–42 then in 1982–83 and again in 2000–01, as well as winning nine Coppa Italia titles and two Supercoppa Italiana titles. On the European stage Roma won an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960–61, coming close to European Cup glory in 1983–84 (lost against Liverpool after a penalty shootout), and finishing as runners-up in the UEFA Cup for 1990–91.
Società Sportiva Lazio, commonly referred to as Lazio, is a professional Italian football club based in Rome. The team, founded in 1900, play in the Serie A and have spent most of their history in the top tier of Italian football. Lazio have been Italian champions twice, and have won the Coppa Italia five times, the Supercoppa Italiana three times, and both the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup on one occasion.
The club had their first major success in 1958, winning the league cup. In 1974 they won their first Serie A title. The past fifteen years have been the most successful period in Lazio’s history, capped by winning UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1999, the Serie A title in 2000, several league cups and reaching their first UEFA Cup final in 1998. Lazio’s traditional colors are sky blue shirts and shorts with white socks.
Lazio is also a sports club that participate in forty sports disciplines in total, more than any other sports association in the World. Lazio is the sixth most supported football club in Italy and the second in Rome, with around 2% of Italian football fans supporting the club. Historically the largest section of Lazio supporters in the city of Rome has come from the far northern section, creating an arch like shape across Rome with affluent areas such as; Parioli, Prati, Flaminio, Cassia and Monte Mario.
The Olympic Stadium
Both teams share the Stadio Olimpico, or Olympic Stadium; This arena is the 2nd largest stadium in Italy (after San Siro in Milan). The original stadium was started in 1901. Then it was “rebuilt” by Mussolini. He hoped eventually to submit a bid for the 1944 Olympics (of course, that didn’t happen)., It was later “restyled” for the Olympic Games that were held in the city in 1960, and then heavily renovated for the World Cup in football in 1990. (It could probably use another renovation…). The stadium seats more than 82,000 fans and is built in a “circular” layout.
Curva Nord holds the Lazio hardcore fans, while Curva Sud is for Roma supporters. Visitors are usually seated in the sectors called “distinti”. It is probably wise when Lazio is playing to avoid sitting in Curva Nord… and when AS Roma is playing, don’t sit in the Curva Sud. The western stands are called the Tribuna Monte Mari and, on the opposite side, is the Tribuna Tevere stands. The Tribuna Monte Mari have the press seating, the VIP seating, and are often more expensive. More often than not, the “away” fans are usually seated in the Tribuna Monte Mario, at the start of the curve. This may be the “safest” place to sit! The seats in the The Tribuna Tevere are still great seats and usually a bit cheaper – although in afternoon games you will probably be sitting in the sun. Who cares, go get another beer!
For a scalable, PDF map of Stadio Olimpico, Click here! Sometimes just finding your seat can be a challenge as the numbering is … well, different. All seating is (theoretically) numbered. Your ticket contains a gate number, which tells you where to enter the stadium. Then you need to find your sector (settore, a letter), your row (fila) and your seat (posto). Ask one of the attendants and they will redirect you . The Stadio Olimpico is one of the few stadiums in Europe that the UEFA rank with 5*. Outside the stadium there is a park and running tracks surrounded by beautiful white marble statues. As you approach the stadium from the Vatican area, you’ll see the old, pink building used by the Olympic committee in the 1960 Olympics. You’ll also see an obelisk, placed there to honor Musolini, prior to WWII.
The bottom picture is from the WWII era. This picture is from a great website that speaks of the R&R Centers and Replacement Depots used by 5th Army. Click here to see more great WWII era pictures from this area.
Getting To the Stadium
There are many ways to get to the Stadio Olimpico. For reference, use the scalable map below. The Stadium is located northwest of the city center. I would not recommend driving as parking (and then traffic) is a nightmare. So your best travel options are to use public transportation. The Stadio is best approached from two directions.
First, you can ride multiple buses or the A line Metro to Piazzale Flaminio. From the metro, you can then walk around the corner and catch the #2 tram. You ride this seven stops and it dead-ends at Piazza Mancini, which is around fifteen minutes away. On game days they do run extra trams – so they are very frequent. Once you get to Piazza Mancini you’ll head west towards the Tiber (left out of the Mancini parking lot) and cross the bridge, Ponte Duca d’Aosta. The bridge runs directly to the stadium. There will be a crowd of people headed to the game so just follow the flow. Piazza Mancini can also be reached by bus 910 from the Roma Termini train station. These buses also run to Piazza Mancini: C3, 48, 53, 200, 201, 220, 222, 232, 280, 301, 446, and 911.
Second, you can ride multiple buses or the Metro Line A to the Ottaviano metro station. Head outside the metro and head to the north about 50 meters and you will see a bus stop. Here, get on the #32 bus and ride it directly to the stadium. In addition, ATAC also adds special “Stadio” buses for the short 10 minute ride. Although on game days – the closer you get to game time – the traffic can get really heavy. I’ve found myself jumping off this bus and walking the rest of the route. Probably better to earlier rather than later. Get off at the Piazzale della Farnesina, which is about 75 meters from the Mussolini obelisk. Other buses that stop at the same bus stop include the 69, 196, 224, 271, and 280.
When you get to the stadium you must have your passport and your ticket. You will have to show both to get in the stadium, and also allow security to look into any bags you’ll bring. Again, the earlier you get there, the better!
The Stadio Olimpico – Viale dello Stadio Olimpico, 00194 Rome, Italy
Piazza Mancini – Major Bus Stop and Endpoint for Tram #2
Flaminio Metro Stop – A line (Red) Metro Stop
Via Flaminia – Starting point for the #2 Tram
Ottaviano Metro Stop – A line (Red) Metro Stop
Via Barietta – #32 bus and special “Stadio” buses stop here
De Bosis/Stadio Tennis bus stop. The #32, “Stadio” and other buses stop here
Getting tickets to most games is quite easy. Throughout the city there are multiple locations where you can purchase tickets, often up until game time… unless it’s a BIG game or unique opponent. The price range for tickets varies widely. Going directly to an AS Roma store, I was offered tickets – for a minor opponent – in the range of €15 – €55. Certainly for a Derby game or perhaps Milan, you will not see prices as low as these.
When you go to purchase your tickets, you must have identity papers. For foreign travelers, especially Americans, this means your passport. And if you’re buying tickets for someone else – you must also have THEIR passport (or identity papers). After you’ve purchased your tickets and head to the stadium, take these same identity papers you used to purchase your tickets WITH YOU. To enter, you the stadium you will have to show your tickets and corresponding ID. Don’t forget as you will not get in – especially at a BIG game! In years past, you could buy tickets at the Stadium on the day of the game. Perhaps due to the new security restrictions that option has not been available. But you can get your tickets at many vendors – if they are still available – on the day of the game.
The AS Roma website has ticket options; Enter the ‘biglietti’ – or ticketing area – and you can find information about football tickets. Probably the most common place to pick up tickets for many travelers is at the AS Roma store located in Piazza Colonna, just off the Via del Corso. Tickets are officially sold through the Lottomatica chain of sports stores as well as through Ricevitorie, which are the lottery’s selling points.For a complete list of the AS Roma ticket sellers, click here, and then page down to the Roma section. Click on the <2> page (and beyond) as there are many, many vendors (about 2 1/2 pages worth) . But the map below has all the AS Roma stores – which sell merchandise AND tickets…. and it also had many of the Lazio vendors.
For a complete list of SS Lazio ticket distribution points – with addresses and phone numbers – click on IP Ticket. The “Original Lazio Fan” store, which sells merchandise and tickets, is located very close to the Roma Termini station, just off Via Cavour on Via Farini.
You can also buy your tickets online, although they will cost you more. The primary site for tickets is www.listicket.it. Their tickets tend to be in the “posher” sections of the stadium so you will pay more, but closer to face value. But they do have English translations so this may be an option. If you search online for tickets, there are an infinite number of brokers. Again, almost ALWAYS you will pay far less if you can buy your tickets face-to-face. Among the most popular online ticket brokers/outlets are:
- Sports Events 365
- The Stadium
A few more Stadio Olimpico pictures:
Pope John Paul II is surrounded by spectators as he watches a sports performance at Rome’s Olympic Stadium to celebrate the athletes” Jubilee, October 29, 2000. The pope held a mass at the stadium to celebrate the athletes” Jubilee for the Holy Year and later watched a friendly soccer match between the Italian national team and a selection of foreign players in Italy. (from Life Magazine)
On the evening of the Manchester United and Barcelona championship match, this young couple from England, got married and flew in for the game… Here they are walking across the bridge to the stadium. What a wedding night!
Header: Lazio 1 – 1 Dinamo – Photo by ultra_tei
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