Before I started planning for this trip, I had not even heard of Turin (or Torino as the locals call it). So why out of all the charming little towns in Italy did we go to Turin of all places? Because my boyfriend is a hard core Juventus fan. It was only fair that he get a say of where to go for 1 day out of our 11 day trip.
So we added a pilgrimage to the Juventus stadium onto our agenda. We were originally only going to visit the stadium, but as luck would have it there was actually a GAME going on the day we were going (Juventus vs. a team called Empoli). So of course, even though I know/care absolutely nothing about football, I set out to get tickets for us and make the most of it. It turned out to be a bit more challenging than I thought. Avid English-writing detailed-oriented blogger Juventus fans are not.
Game schedule: First I struggled with the match date. On every website I looked, it says that the game date/time was “To be confirmed.” I couldn’t understand WHY it was taking them so long to confirm. How else can people plan their travels? And why were websites like Viagogo.com (which I read was legit and reliable) already selling tickets for that match when the date has not even been confirmed? What if people cannot make it? My bf said something about how they have to see if they get into the finals of something or other first blah blah blah. So to be on the safe side, I stalked and waited.
About 1.5 months before our trip, they finally confirmed the time/date. Viagogo.com had not even updated their website yet. Apparently the most up to date authority on Italian football matches is something called the La Gazzetta dello Sport.
TIP: It should be noted that even after they “confirm” the dates, the time may also change. I thought our game was at 3pm until 2 weeks before the game and I realized that it was actually at 9pm (by then I had already bought train tickets!). So keep checking as you get closer to game day!
How to get tickets: The next step was to find out how to buy tickets. Apparently there are season tickets for local fans, and then there are tickets for everyone else. Tickets are also very name and ID specific, so you have to be sure you buy the right ticket. From my research there are mainly 3 ways to do so if you are a tourist.
|Method||Time in Advance||Comments|
|Official Online Vendor (Listicket)||Around 2 weeks before the game (double check time of sales!)||Probably the cheapest way, but I hear you have to be clicking away exactly at sales time (think Apple iphone release!). Site is in Italian. Goodluck….|
|Viagogo.com||Anytime||A legit and reliable website according to online articles. Though the prices looks steep, the seating area descriptions seem kind of vague AND the website doesn’t even update promptly to confirm the date/time.|
|Agents via your hotel||Ideally a month ahead||Typically operate via agents. They are used to helping tourists get tickets.|
Sometimes in a foreign country, it is nice to have the human touch. I decided to book via our hotel in the end, and they were SUPER helpful. They provided us with a seating chart and told us the prices for each segment so we can choose where we wanted to sit. I am sure prices differ game to game. For our game, prices ranged from 70-160 euros. The yellow/green area being the cheapest, followed by red 111-112, red 213-15, red 113-115 and red 216-218. We chose the 113-115 tickets!
From my research/personal experience, I think the dark grey section is where the season club ticket holders sit (we saw many prime empty seats there), the green section is where the local fan club sits (we saw a lot of flags and cheer coordinations coming out of that stand) and the light grey section between red and yellow is where the opposing team fans sits segregated from the rest of the stadium.
Anyway, we provided the hotel with our names/IDs and seating preference and they made the booking for us. Tickets were duly delivered to the hotel a few days before the game, and we paid the hotel cash upon arrival.
TIP: The one thing I would complain about is that we booked 6 tickets, and while 4 tickets sat together on second row (wohoo!), 2 of our tickets turned out to be a) WAY elsewhere and b) not even together!!! We didn’t realize this until we got there, and we were REALLY UPSET. Luckily, we are all really small and just squeezed together in 4 seats in the end (and people sitting in front of us left after the first half). I think it is because tickets are sold in packages of 4. So if you are buying more than 4 tickets, you should be very specific and carefully examine your tickets when you get it!!!
How to get there and back: Now that we have tickets and all, I had to figure out how to get there. As far as I knew, there were 2 ways:
- Take bus number 72 from bus stop BERTOLA in the direction of Macchiavelli, and stop at bus stop STADIO NORD. Travel time will take about 45 minutes
- Take a cab. It takes about 20 minutes and costs about 15-20 euros
In the interest of time (and because I am spoilt), I decided that we would take the cab.
But then my next worry was, how will we get a cab back?? Any time a big gathering ends, there is bound to be a huge crowd. We will never find a cab, and will be stranded in the middle of nowhere at 11pm at night!
In the end, I asked the hotel to arrange a transfer to pick us up after the game. The price was not too unreasonable at 75 euros (especially since there are 6 of us). And we were super glad I did, because it started drizzling after the game and it was hectic!
TIP: It is pretty hectic after a game and there isn’t anything around in the dark – make sure you have an exit plan!
Juventus Museum and the Match Day Special Tour: Ofcourse we were going to check out the Juventus museum and the Match day special tour while we were there as well. While I tried to find out more information about it on the Juventus website and its tripadvisor forum, there really wasn’t much available online. All I knew was this:
I figured that all we had to do was show up within the appointed time. So we were super surprised when we finally got to the museum entrance (look for the mall entrance with the H&M sign) a little before 3pm to find this humongous line (not sure if this is the norm or if it is because of Easter weekend). Turns out the Match Day Special Tour was already sold out and the huge line was for the museum!!
In the interest of time, I sent my boyfriend and his fellow Juventus fan (whom we had just met in the line and is also from Hong Kong – small world!) to the official gift store while the rest of us waited in line. Apparently his eyes shone like a kid in a toy store as he proceeded to shop to his heart’s content.
We had to go drag him out the store 30-45 minutes later when we finally got to the museum entrance. To a non-football fan like myself, the museum was basically just a trophy room full of trophies, another big room full of football shirts and things with real size cardboard players sprinkled about and a panorama show. But my boyfriend, it was Juventus fan heaven. He wandered excitedly from display to display and had me follow to help take pictures of him and the displays.
We spent AGES in there. It’s too bad they didn’t have a cafe at the end, because I could have totally used a cup of tea after that.
TIP: Go early for the Special Match Day Tour!!
PS: For non-fans thinking to get a knock off jersey or scarf for the game – the knock off jerseys are 20+ euros and the knocn off scarf is almost the same price as the official one.
The Game: The game didn’t start until 9pm, so we figured we had time after the museum to go back to the hotel, rest and get a proper meal before we came back again. But at 7pm when we asked the hotel how early they thought we should go, we were informed that people were already heading there!
So we grabbed a very quick bite of pizza near the hotel and headed back to Juventus at around 7:45pm. We arrived a little past 8pm. There were many check points for IDs and tickets and we were detoured twice for trying to enter through the wrong entrances (they are VERY specific). We also stopped by the official store again for some last minute supplies. By the time we got to our awesome second row seats, we were just in time for the beginning of the game.
As I am not a fan, I cannot comment on the football (Juventus vs. Empoli 4/4/2015) besides that Juventus scored 2-0. What struck me most though was the atmosphere. I had no idea what people were chanting (besides “Okaaay” and “Bravo”), but it was so alive and energetic that even I was swept along with it. In our second row seats, we were just SO CLOSE to the action that many times I thought they ball would fly right at me (in which case I would have totally hid it and kept it as a souvineer).
Because of our seating issues mentioned early, during the second half I sat onthe first row (some folks left). I realized that while it is a privilege to have court side seats at a basketball game, it is not quite so in football. Your view is blocked by the fences and you just can’t get a good view of the full picture. Second row was definitely better.
Overall I thought live football was a lot more fun than watching it on TV. And as for my boyfriend…. there was some slight disappointment that some key players was injured and couldn’t play, but it did not take away from the overall experience it was still definitely the highlight of the trip for him.
If you have read this post all the way here… good luck planning your pilgrimage and I hope this helps!
NOTE: I do wish that we had arrived perhaps 15-20 minutes earlier because a) I think we may have missed the anthem and b) they take fan videos before the game and put it on the screen during half time. As a group of Asians, I was totally sure that we would’ve been selected to air!!!
NOTE: Apparently Turin is home to Juventus AND Torino, and Italians are very sensitive about which team you support. So be careful!
Other places of interest in Turin: I also did some research on Turin itself in case we had time. In the end we didn’t, but I thought about the below:
- Getting a bicerin at one of the “historic cafes” of the city
- Turin is apparently one of the chocolate capitals of the world. It was one of the first cities to mix hazel nut with cocao (think Nutella and Ferrero Rocher). They are famous for something called “gianduiotto” (think nutella flavored chocolate). I did manage to buy some chocolate from Guido Gubino before I left, but I didn’t get to sit down and enjoy a hot chocolate. There are also a couple other chocolate makers in town as well if you have time!
- Inspired by my friend’s Instagram picture, I wanted to go to Castello del Valetino as well. It is apparently part of a university now and is surrounded by a park. I envisioned us having a relaxing and picturesque walk in the park after lunch.
- I love palaces and gorgeous gardens, and when I stumbled across the newly renovated La Venaria Reale I was intrigued. But it is 45 minutes away from Turin, so we definitely did not have time for this. Reference for next time. I read that reservations are recommended!
- I read somewhere that the ever popular Grom originated from Turin as well. But I would have been happy getting any old gelato. We passed by a few very authentic looking shops. I really wish I stopped for a gelato now…
- On our way to Guido Gubino on a Sunday morning, we noticed a huge line and we thought it was for mass or something. But turns out it was a line to the Egyptian Museum. You wouldn’t think it, but it is apparently one of the key attractions in Turin!
- When I mentioned that I was going to Turin, my boss said that I should go see the Shroud of Turin. It is apparently a piece of cloth with the image of Christ on it. On further research, it was not open for viewing while we were there. But looks like from comments it is now.. find out more here.
- While I was researching hotel, I also found out that Turin is also the orign of Fiat (the ex-Fiat factory is actually now the NH Lingotto Congress and boasts a race track on the roof!). I’m sure if you are a fan, there is a museum of sorts you can visit in the area as well.