#9: Attend soccer matches in South America and Europe

When we visited Florence last year we had the unique opportunity to attend a soccer match of Italy’s top division, Serie A. We arrived in Florence around 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning, plenty of time to arrange transportation to the afternoon match. We stayed in the apartment of a local girl, who we found on Airbnb (I should write a post on our experiences using this website). She was a great host, especially when it came to helping us find the ticket office by bus. Nothing Google can’t solve but it’s nice to have a local on your side! Transportation was so easy – hop on a local bus and end up at the ticket office. The line for tickets to the match was already out the door. We waited in the group outside for a while before finally being let inside the office – where we saw a sign that said that passports were required to buy tickets and ours were back at the apartment. Luckily we had just enough time to run out of the office and catch the bus back to the apartment, grab the passports, get back to the ticket office, wait in an even LONGER line and get our tickets all before the game started.

Waiting in line was… interesting. A guy cut in line near us and someone noticed and got angry. I have no idea what was being said but I have to tell you it was quite the experience being the only tourists in a group of locals! Very entertaining.

Fiorentina is the local team of Florence but I don’t remember who they played. It was a beautiful day for a match! I loved being able to see the rolling hills outside the stadium. I highly recommend going to a local event like this as a tourist. It’s a good opportunity to get away from the typical touristy haunts and rub shoulders with the locals. It was easily one of my favorite experiences of our whole trip.

Some differences between an Italian stadium and an American stadium:
  • The visitors’ section was literally fenced in by sturdy plastic, presumably so the home fans can’t throw objects at the visitors? Or maybe it’s the other way around?
  • No alcohol in sight – it’s prohibited within the stadium.
  • As I mentioned earlier, you need a passport to buy a ticket. I think Mark said this makes it easier to keep the rabble-rousers out if they’ve caused trouble before. Your identity can be tracked.
All in all, very fun. Does anyone have any recommendations of non-touristy experiences during their travels? I’m thinking local markets and the like, anything that gets you into the heart of the culture!

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