What’s the best way to rub shoulders with Florentines, far from the museums and tourist traps of central Florence? Head out to the stadium and watch the city’s soccer team Fiorentina play against some of the best teams in the world!
Fiorentina’s fan base is still very proudly Florentine and is a constant topic of discussion in any coffee shop or bar of the city. Fiorentina’s team color is purple or “viola” and wearing it is the best way to display your team pride.
Here are some tips on making the best of your Sunday afternoon by heading to the stadium for some wholesome soccer and some less wholesome Florentine slang.
Choosing a game
Tickets for games are usually available about one week before the game. Games for the Italian League, called “Serie A,” are usually played on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m., although due to scheduling problems you’ll find the odd game on Saturday, Sunday, or even Wednesday nights. You can find the schedule here.
The best games are the ones with a heated crowd, so look out for games with noted rivals such as Juventus and Milan. However do stay away from games with notoriously dangerous fans such as Napoli and Roma.
Tickets are sold in some Tabaccherie (tobacco shops), although it’s hard to tell which ones. Your best bets are either at the box office, which also sells tickets to major events and concerts, which you’ll find in Via Alamanni near the train station, or at the little sports bodega, Chiosco degli Sportivi, in a small piazza off of Piazza Repubblica (via degli Anselmi).
Note: You’ll need a valid ID to be purchase your ticket, as your name is printed directly on your ticket. It’s best to bring your passport, as a driver’s license or student ID is generally not accepted. You can also buy tickets online.
Ticket price depends on the type of game (regular season, the special national competition Coppa Italia or Champions League/UEFA) and the area you sit in. Prices can range from €10 to €120, but most ticket prices will be in the €10 to €40 range.
If you care less about the view of the field and more about the crowd, sit in the “Curva Fiesole,” home to the loudest fans. Tickets here are usually really cheap, but sell out quickly and don’t respect the assigned seating.
If you’re more interested in the game itself, it’s best to sit as centrally as possible on the two sides of the stadium, either “Maratona” or “Tribuna.” If the weather looks like it’s going to be nasty, the Tribuna is mostly covered although seats here are more expensive. While other areas such as the “Ferrovia” or those marked “Parterre” are much cheaper, the views suffer and the crowds can be sparse leading to a less exciting experience.
Getting to the stadium
The stadium, Stadio Artemio Franchi, is located in the Campo di Marte area, in the city’s northeast. When there’s a game, it is best reached by bus. The numbers 7, 17, and 20 all go to the stadium and you can pick them up at either the train station or in Piazza San Marco.
The buses are easy to pick out as they are usually packed with purple-clad fans! Your ticket allows you free rides on any ATAF (Florence public transit) on the day of the game, so you don’t need to worry about bus tickets. The trip takes about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. You’ll know where to get off the bus because the stadium will be in view and the fans will all get off as well! Head towards the stadium and check your ticket for which entrance gate (marked P#) to use.
You will have to present photo identification at the stadium, as well. Technically only a passport is a valid ID, but I’ve had luck getting in with only a driver’s license. You’ll also have to go through a security check, so be careful of what you bring with you.
Once inside, your seat is usually marked and there are plenty of staff who can direct you to the right area. Seats in the Curva Fiesole area, however, are first come, first serve, so make sure to get there kind of early for a decent seat.
To get home at the end of the game, there are plenty of buses that leave from Via Sette Santi that go back to the city center. To get there from the main street around the stadium, turn onto Via Mameli (the street with Viola Point in the corner) and walk up two blocks.
The area outside the stadium is great for grabbing that bright purple scarf you’ll need to hold up along with the fans as well as for that last minute sausage, onion and pepper sandwich and cold beer.