A trip to the Eternal City is incomplete without a visit to the epic Stadio Olimpico, home of AS Roma and cross-town rivals SS Lazio.
As far as football weekends in European capital cities go, Rome is pretty easy. The 82,000-capacity Stadio Olimpico – host of the 1960 Olympic Games and 1990 World Cup final – is walkable from the centre of the city, if you give yourself an hour.
Indeed, walking is probably the easiest way to get to the ground as it’s way off the Metro grid. You can follow the Tiber river and enjoy the Romanesque statues of the Foro Italia sports complex, initiated the 1920s and ‘30s, although watch out for legions of mopeds when crossing the approach road.
The gold dust ticket is naturally the Rome derby – AS Roma v SS Lazio – which must be one of the most intense derbies in the world for atmosphere and, alas, fan conflict.
A far easier bet is to buy a ticket online for one of the two teams, depending who’s at home that weekend. I was in Rome for Italy versus England in the Six Nations at the Stadio Olimpico and stayed on to watch AS Roma versus Udinese on the Monday night.
The game finished 3-2 and it was a privilege to see the timeless Francesco Totti – Il Capitano – play (and score).
Depending on the opponent, tickets should generally not an issue as Roma’s average attendance for 2013-14 season was 40,083, less than half full. That makes it Europe’s 31st most-watched club during that season. Lazio (58th) raise just 28,548 on average.
The atmosphere from the explosive Curva Sud more than makes up for the silence from the swathes of empty seats around the rest of the arena. A night game is special for the paraphernalia, which more or less just looks like smoke during a daylight game.
Where to drink in Rome
If you like your craft beer, then I thoroughly recommend a visit to Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà in the quieter Trastevere district. “Ma che siete venuti a fà’?” actually a football chant in itself, translating roughly as ‘What are you still doing here?” – it’s a Roman taunt for visiting fans when their team is getting hammered.
The bar stores all types of craft beer from Italy (a big player in the craft beer scene, you may be surprised to learn) and beyond. [Continues]
How to get to AS Roma matches
You can buy tickets for AS Roma here. Availability depends on the opponent, of course. Remember you need to carry photo ID (passport, European driving licence) to enter Italian grounds.