home SPORTS AND LEISURE Tips to become a Fiorentina fan

Tips to become a Fiorentina fan

Dylan Nikoletopoulos

Before the game:

It is recommended to buy some sort of Fiorentina paraphernalia. Nearly every street vendor sells team jerseys for around €20. Scarfs are a cheap alternative for €10–15. Be at the stadium an hour before the game starts. It takes a while to get through security and find your seat. If you are looking to get something to eat there, be sure to eat before you go into the stadium, as once inside it’s not possible to re-enter. Inside the stadium food is fairly expensive and choice is limited. There are many vendors outside that create a sort of tailgate atmosphere with great Italian food. Although a little pricey, I would recommend it for the experience. Likewise, the stadium only has portable toilets inside, so it’s worth going before you enter.

To get into the stadium you have to go to your designated gate depending on your seat. There are maps outside the stadium that make it easy to find your way around. Once inside find your seat and enjoy watching the warm-ups! Whatever you do DO NOT SHOW UP LATE! Although Italians are known for showing up a little bit past when you expect them to, this is not the case with soccer. If you are late, fans will most likely be frustrated with you. Also the crowds are very particular about their seating assignments, so make sure that you sit in your assigned seat or expect to be kicked out of someone else’s seat.

During the game:

Once the game begins enjoy it! There will be lots of chanting and yelling, so just act like you belong. For those who are not avid soccer fans, here is how the game works. There are two 45-minute halves with a continuous running clock. This means that at the end of each half the referee decides how many extra minutes to add for time lost due to substitutions, injuries, etc. On average there will be an extra two or three minutes added to the end of every half. There is a 15-minute halftime, which is enough time if you want to go get a hotdog and drink (yes they do serve alcohol in the stadium). If you see smoke bombs and fireworks going off among the fanbase on the north side of the stadium, do not be alarmed. This happens nearly every game and just goes to show how enthusiastic Italians are about their calcio. Other tips during the game: whistling is not the same as in the US. If you whistle it means you do not approve of the player or call. It has a negative meaning, just like booing. Racism is still a part of society here. Be prepared to see certain players (specifically if they are on the other team) booed or whistled at because of their race.

After the game:

After the game it is a madhouse of fans trying to get home, just like any other sporting event. The buses will be completely full and most taxis will be unavailable so it is recommended to walk, which will take longer than usual because everyone is mainly going in the same direction. Just as getting to the game late is not recommended, don’t leave early.

Now that you have done it once be sure to go again! Fiorentina competes in three separate leagues so there are many different games to watch. For away games you can almost always catch it in a local sports bar in town. By the end of the semester you can finally say that you’ve attended an Italian soccer game, and it will be one of your best memories abroad.

How to get to the stadium:

ON FOOT: Start on the north side of the Ponte Vecchio. Head east until the parallel street finally turns into Lungarno Pecori Giraldi. Turn left at Viale Giovanni Amendola, past the roundabout and then right onto Via Giuseppe Mazzino. This street takes you to Campo di Marte train station; cross the footbridge over the tracks and follow the road for one block down Viale Manfredo Fanti until you arrive at the stadium, which will be on your right hand side of the street.

BY BUS: Bus no. 17 runs services from Piazza Stazione at Santa Maria Novella train station at various times on game days. These buses are usually packed, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to catch a later bus, in case you miss an earlier one.

BY CAR: Try to avoid coming by car; it is the least convenient method as there is no parking at the stadium and it is the worst traffic nightmare you can imagine.

How to get tickets:

Stadium tickets typically cost anywhere from €20–70. They can be bought from online retailers or at authorized kiosks. The kiosk near the Piazza della Republica (right off Via Pellicceria) is a common dealer. The best place to sit in the stadium is on the sideline so that you can see all the action. Sitting behind a goal is not ideal because it is difficult to view the action on the opposite side of the field. However, these seats are usually the cheapest. Make sure that, under no circumstances, you sit in the visitor section. This section is physically barricaded from the rest of the stadium, and the visiting fans who find themselves outside of this designated section are separated from the rest of the crowd by a human shield of security guards. Despite these precautions, tensions can get heated, so prepare for some rowdy scenes. But do not fear; it’s all part of the authentic experience of a Florentine soccer match.