Understanding soccer in Rome — and how to get tickets

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Crowd at the Stadio Olympico
A crowd at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. Photo: KingPenguin1029

By Nicole Arriaga in Rome—

Ask almost any Italian and they’ll tell you there are only two things in life that they cannot do without: coffee and calcio (soccer). Right up there with coffee, calcio in Italy is definitely much more than a game. It’s a passion.

Italians eat, breathe and live soccer. There are radio and TV shows dedicated to it. There are even newspapers concerned solely with the subject. Not to mention, it’s the favorite topic for coffee talk at the local bar, where at the crack of dawn Italians engage in heated discussions about last night’s game.

Contrary to many sports in other countries, soccer season in Italy lasts a whopping 10 months each year. That’s a whole lot of calcio! Romans are especially passionate about soccer. In fact, Rome is host to not one, but two teams: A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio.

A.S. Roma

Francesco Totti

Francesco Totti. Photo: PrettyFriendship

A.S. Roma, or simply “La Roma,” was founded in 1927. The team is also known as “i giallorossi,”’ named after its official colors (yellow and red). Its mascot is also the official symbol of Rome, the Lupa Capitolina, a she-wolf who nursed the founders of Rome Romulus and Remus back to life. The team’s club anthem and motto is “Roma, Roma, Roma” and “Grazie Roma” written by Roman singer Antonello Venditti. The giallorossi’s beloved team captain is the famous Francesco Totti, who (according to fans) is the next best things since slice bread.

Roma fans refer to themselves as “romanisti” or “i giallorossi.” While la Roma is traditionally one of the top teams in the Serie A league, the giallorossi are having a tough start to the season this year. Though it has one of the largest followings in Italy (after Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and Napoli), its current ranking is near the bottom.

Associazione Sportiva Roma (A.S. Roma)
Founded: 1927
Colors: Yellow and red
Emblem: She-wolf (the Capitoline wolf)
Coach: Claudio Ranieri
Website: www.asroma.it

S.S. Lazio

Rome’s other team, S.S. Lazio was founded in 1900. Its team colors are sky blue and white and its mascot is an eagle. While Rome technically has more fans within the city, “la Lazio,” as the team is also nicknamed, has more supporters in towns within the Lazio region (where Rome is also located). Lazio fans are referred to as “laziali” or “i biancocelesti.” Its captain is Tommaso Rocchi. Currently (October 2010), the team is ranked first in the Italian Serie A league.

Societa Sportiva Lazio (S.S. Lazio)
Founded: 1900
Colors: Sky blue and white
Emblem: Eagle
Coach: Edoardo Reja
Website: www.sslazio.it

Hometown rivals

The giallorossi share the Stadio Olimpico (the olympic stadium) with their arch rivals, the S.S. Lazio team. The Stadio Olimpico can hold up to 72,000 fans and is the second-largest stadium in Italy after Milan’s San Siro Stadium.

The hardcore Roma fans sit in the “Curva Sud,” whereas the die-hard Lazio fans sit in the “Curva Nord” whenever their team plays (during which things can get very rowdy). When both teams play each other at the Olimpico it’s called the “derby,” which is probably the most heated and anticipated game in Italy.

Where to buy tickets?

Tickets for both teams can be purchased from one of their official merchandising stores. Because of recent changes to safety laws at the stadium, each person must show their passport or ID when buying a ticket. Each ticket is printed individually with the purchaser’s name on it. Ticket prices vary, depending on the game, but usually run from €14-€100 each. (Interestingly, sometimes tickets for women are sold at a reduced rate.)

A.S. Roma merchandise stores:

Piazza Colonna, 360 (Prati/Vatican area)
Via Cola di Rienzo, 136/A (Centro Storico)

S.S. Lazio merchandise stores:

Via Guglielmo Calderini 66/C (Flaminio area)

Alternatively, tickets for S.S. Lazio can be purchased from any Lottomatica distributor, which are typically found in Tabacco (tabacchi) shops around Rome. Two locations are: Via M. Colonna, 37 (Prati/Vatican Area), and Via della Scrofa, 110 (Centro Storico).

About the author

Nicole Arriaga

About the author: After her first trip to the Bel Paese in 1999, Nicole Arriaga knew she would one day return permanently in search of the good life. Before moving to Rome in 2003, Nicole worked as a TV producer and a writer in sunny Miami. She has written for Fodor’s, Insight Guides, The American and various other travel publications. She currently works as a freelance writer and as a programs coordinator for a study abroad organization in Rome.

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One thought on “Understanding soccer in Rome — and how to get tickets”

  1. I am about to go to my first Lazio game this Sunday, I am sitting in the Curva Nord section. You said it get’s “rowdy”…i was planning on bringing a camera, should I not bring anything? wondering what rowdy means and if I should be worried about the seats.


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