How to Read an Italian Soccer Schedule


Since the Lega Calcio folks just published the schedule for the 2011-2012 Italian soccer season, I thought I’d bring this post back up to the top so people who are traveling in Italy this year have an idea of how to find out whether there are games going on while they’re visiting.

I might be in the minority here, but when I first started looking at the Italian Serie A soccer schedules I found them really hard to figure out. In fact, I’ll admit that I still sometimes find them kind of unnecessarily confusing. So since I have to assume I’m not the only one who thinks the whole thing’s a head-scratcher, since I’ve gotten questions from some of you about seeing soccer games during your Italian vacations, and since the first games of the 2008-2009 season are fast approaching, here’s a little primer about how to read Italian soccer schedules.

First of all, all the teams in the Serie A league (that’s the top league in the country) play each other twice during a season. Not only that, the order that teams play one another in is the same in the second half of the season as it is in the first half. In other words, a team will work its way through the list of other teams and then, when it’s gotten through the list, it’ll start over at the beginning and work through the list again in the same order. Sounds organized and clever, right?

Well, because it’s all so organized, what the Serie A folks have done is this – instead of listing the entire season’s games out chronologically, they create a chart with each pairing listed only once. It looks sleek, and the clever design is very Italian. But in my opinion, it’s too clever by half. Here’s what I mean:

You’ll see here on this 2008-2009 Fiorentina schedule that their season begins with a game against Juventus, followed by a game against Napoli. The last team on their pairing schedule is Milan, after which they start at the top and play Juventus again, then Napoli, and so on. On each side of the team names you’ll see dates and numbers. The numbers refer to which game it is in the 38-game season, and they just go up by one for each game. The dates refer to when each pair of teams listed plays (remember, Italian dates are written day/month/year!). So far so good – but how do you know which games are actually in Florence and which are away games?

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This is where my brain starts going in circles & I second-guess myself into a state of confusion. So here’s the first bit of important information:

The team listed in the left column is the home team for the first half of the season.

What this means is that for Fiorentina’s first game of the season against Juventus on August 31, 2008, they’re playing in Florence on their home field. That’s easy enough to get your head around, but the whole thing flips when you’re talking about the second half of the season. In other words, for the second meeting of Fiorentina and Juventus on January 25, 2009, Fiorentina (listed in the left column this time) is playing on Juve’s home turf in Turin.

What it boils down to is this: whatever team name is physically next to the box with the date in it is the “home” team for that date.

Yes, it’s clever. It’s extremely clever. The schedule looks fantastic. There’s no wasted energy re-writing the same pairing up twice every season. The whole thing is as sleek as a Ferrari. And perhaps I’m the only one whose brain got tied in knots trying to figure it out. But something tells me I’m not the only one – so I hope this little lesson helped.

Class dismissed.

You can find out your favorite team’s current schedule on the official Serie A Calendar page, clicking on the big “Serie A” button and then clicking on the symbol of your team on the top.

And I want to send a big GRAZIE MILLE to Valentina, who has been trying to set me straight on reading these schedules!


16 thoughts on “How to Read an Italian Soccer Schedule

  • Karen

    errr, that is confusing! I’m still not sure I get it?! Sleek as a Ferrari is right. Thanks for the primer, this information will be great when we plan our trips around Italy.– Karen

  • Jessica Post author

    Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who finds this confusing… An Italian reader was saying, “It’s really very simple, you just…” Very simple? Hardly!!

    But it’s easier if you don’t think about it too much. (At least I’ve found it to be that way!) Just look at the date, and whichever team name appears in the box that’s right next to that date is the home team.

  • sue

    Ok, so I’ve read the comments and I’m going to be in Italy from Oct. 3-22. Am I right that there is a game in Siena on Oct. 19? I will be in Siena then. If so, how do I get tickets for this Series A game?

  • Jessica Post author

    No, the October 19 game Siena’s playing in is in Genoa – but Siena is playing at home on October 5th against Roma, so you’ll be in the city for that one. The Siena stadium is within walking distance (and a short walk) from Il Campo and the Siena city center, so if you’re staying in the city center you’re in luck. I’d recommend that when you get to town, ask someone at your hotel/hostel about the best place to get tickets to the game. For the Serie A games I’ve seen, I’ve just walked up in the hour or so before the game started and bought tickets from one of the kiosks in front of the stadium. I’ve not seen a soccer match in Siena, however, which is why I suggest asking someone at your hotel/hostel. Do remember to bring ID with you when you buy your tickets, as they’ll likely enter your name into the computer & print it out on your ticket.

  • Keith

    That’s clever 🙂

    You’re right about being _too_ clever! I looked at your chart first and then read your explanation to make sure that I understood it. At first I thought I was wrong about the columns but then after reading your explanation, I was right.

    I’m going to refer others to your post!

    Grazie mille!

  • diesel

    I would usually think fiorentina would grab the 4th spot but I think this year we’re going to see it go to genoa who’s impressed and haven’t lost yet.

  • Jessica Post author

    Games tend to be played at the same times every weekend (with the mid-week games I’m not sure what time they usually start), but I don’t know where to look to find out which of those times the game you’ll want to see is starting. There are afternoon games (starting around 3pm) and evening games (starting around 8:45pm) – your best bet is to ask around when you’re in the town where you’re going to see the match. The times will be public at least a week in advance, perhaps more.

  • Alex Denning

    Do you know good ways to get tickets? I am looking at the Roma v. Milan game (in rome) on March 6th. Then the Fiorentina v. Juve game on the 7th. Any suggestions?

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Alex:

    If the games you were talking about were slightly less of a big deal match-up, I’d say you could probably just buy them at the stadium on the day of the game. But both of those games will be big ones this year – with Roma & Milan fighting it out for 2nd place at the moment that game could be a real deciding factor in the table; and Fiorentina & Juve have a historical rivalry (why, I have no idea, it’s not like they’re close by one another geographically), so that’s always a big game.

    So I’d say your options are:

    * Chancing it on getting tickets at the stadiums on the day of the games, and being prepared to either buy tickets off a scalper or not get tickets at all.

    * Buying tickets ahead of time from an online ticket seller.

    The 2nd option is going to be your only “guarantee” of getting tickets (assuming they’re not already sold out, which I suspect they’re not), but you’re going to pay more for tickets that way than if you bought them at the stadium. If your priority is seeing the game and less on what you’re paying for the tickets, then I think your best bet is to get the tickets online beforehand.

    A sister site of WhyGo Italy is dedicated to soccer/football, & there’s a whole section for people who are traveling to games. This page has links to all the information you’ll need for traveling to both a Roma home game and a Fiorentina home game (including links to where you can buy tickets for both):

    http://www.italylogue.com/things-to-do/italian-soccer-stadium-travel-information.html

    I hope that helps,
    Jessica

  • Alex Denning

    Thanks so much, we are visiting for a week and I saw these games were being played we changed our Itinerary to fit it. Very excited to watch these so I’m fine with paying for it. Thanks again, your website has been so helpful while planning our trip

  • Pamela

    We will be in Paris, Rome,Venice, Barcelona in July 10 to 19 2010… are there ANY games then? I cant find a schedule for ANY league for that time period… and league game will do???

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Pamela:

    The summer months are actually between seasons, so there are almost never league matches going on in the summer. This year, there’s also the fact that the World Cup is going on (in South Africa), so soccer’s focus isn’t on leagues at all. The World Cup final is on July 11th, so wherever you are on that day I’d suggest finding a bar that’s crowded with people watching the game on TV – and if the country you’re in happens to be in that final, cheer loudly. 🙂

    http://www.worldcupblog.org/

    Ciao,
    Jessica

  • Pamela

    Thanks Jessica! we kind of figured there would be nothing going on in July, but hoping! we’ll plan better next time…

    Thanks again and can’t wait for our trip, which we have already extended and we are still in March!

    Thanks.

    All the best.

    Pamela

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