Like everyone in Italy, the Palermitani take their football seriously, especially now that their team is back at the top level of Italian soccer and plays againsts the famous teams from Rome, Milan and Turin. Even if you don't go to a match, you can sense something of the fervour and the passion if you stand on Via Roma after a game and watch as the buses transporting visiting fans to the station race past with an escort of police cars and jeeps, with lights blazing and sirens screaming.
The main reason for our visit to Palermo was to go to the UEFA Cup match between the home team and Newcastle United. The game took place at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in one of the city's suburbs. The the stadium holds 26,600 spectators though was by no means full on our visit, and the setting is lovely, with steep hills rising up behind the stands.
As this was a UEFA match we'd bought our tickets in advance from Newcastle, but if you're in Palermo and fancy getting tickets for a league match, these can bought at Snai outlets labelled 'Palermo Gold Partner', including Via Toscana 8, Piazza Valdesi 1, Via G.le Streva 20, Via Petrarca 7, Via del Bersagliere 2 and Via E. Restivo 10. You'll need ID both at the time of purchase and at the stadium.
Palermo were founded in 1900, and are apparently the world's only team to play in pink and black. There is a story (surely apocryphal) that the unusual choice of colours dates back to a laundry mistake, prior to which the Sicilian team wore black and white.
Undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Palermo/Sicily is a trip to the spectacular Stadio Renzo Barbera known locally as La Favorita and here on a Sunday afternoon from September to April you can see the mighty Rosaneri play.
For years they were one of the worst teams in the world, I can remember Seria C2, but now it's a completely different story! They are so good that Seria A and the UEFA cup are now the norm.
If you are touring Sicily and wish to see a football match I would still recommend Palermo as the other two Seria A teams are not as good, particularly Catania.
Tickets are available from the SNAI bookmakers found all over the city and are best bought in advance to avoid the fight to the death on Saturday, and don't forget to take a document for both buying the tickets and getting into the stadium.
I go in the curva sud superiore, it's cheaper, there's a good view and I'm scared to go in the curva nord because that's for the headcases!
Equipment: Photographic Identification
Many take a plastic bag/magazine to sit on - you'll soon find out why!
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