Calcio (soccer/football) in Italy is a huge part of Italian culture, so it’s only natural to want to bring your kids to a football match if you’re visiting Italy. Are you wondering if your little ones are ready to go to a soccer match here? Or if the environment of an Italian soccer game is kid-friendly?
Some Italian parents are passionate about their belief that kids shouldn’t go to soccer games, while others take little ones as soon as they can.
I’ll give you some basic info on bringing kids to partite di calcio (soccer/football games/matches) and you can make the best decision for you and your child(ren).
I’ve written this post with Serie A (Italy’s top-level professional league) in mind, but there are other matches you can watch on your visit to Italy (see below).
Read about How to See a Soccer Game in Italy!
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Taking Kids to See a Soccer Match in Italy – Before the Match
1. Decide if an Italian Soccer Game is a Good Fit for Your Child
You’ll need to look at a few things and decide if a Serie A match is a good idea for your family. It may not be in general, or you may feel your family will be ready to go to a game next season or in a few years. Things to think about:
Is There Too Much Noise?
If your child gets frightened around loud noises or too much noise makes him/her uncomfortable, an Italian soccer game isn’t a great idea. Calcio matches in Italy have fans yelling constantly and there can be loud music and noise.
Does the Timing of the Match Work for Your Family?
Many Italian football matches run late into the night. Are you okay with the match interfering with bedtime?
If attending a mid-day game, are you ok using an entire day of your vacation to see a match?
Can Your Child Walk Independently?
You’ll be doing a lot of walking to, from, and inside the stadium. If you have a child that prefers the stroller, you may want to think twice about attending a match. Or, be ready for piggyback and shoulder rides!
Is Your Child a Baby?
Besides players’ babies, you won’t see many wee ones at Italian Serie A games. Italian parents usually leave babies at home, because the Italian soccer experience isn’t exactly baby-friendly.
You won’t want to bring a stroller in the crowd and there’s nowhere to put it in the stands. A carrier is the best option, but your baby will be spending quite a lot of time in the carrier (traveling to and from the match plus the 90-minute game).
Italian football matches are crowded, noisy, and you may be spending a lot of time in the hot sun or in the rain.
You’ll need to bring your own changing mat and be prepared to get creative in finding a place to change baby. You’ll also need to bring all snacks, etc.
Bottom line: If you can, avoid bringing a baby to a Serie A soccer game.
2. Check Ticket Prices and Age Requirements for the Stadium
Some Serie A teams and stadiums offer reduced rates for children, but prices and restrictions vary depending on the team.
For example, for certain matches, a team may let kids 14 and under in free with a paid adult ticket.
Or, a child under 4 may enter for free if he/she sits on the accompanying adult’s lap.
There may be limits to the number or free children that can enter, or children may pay a small ticket price.
In some stadiums, there are family sections.
You can find the youth ticket price details on each team’s ticketing page.
3. Choose Kid-Friendly Seats and Sections
If you’re attending a soccer game with children, always avoid the curve (curves or corners of the stadium) and any known hard-core fan sections. Italian fans can be extremely passionate about their teams and sometimes obscenities (and bodies) fly. It’s best to avoid these situations and stay out of the fan sections.
When deciding on your section and seats, look for family sections.
If possible, attend a family discount game. Your kids will enjoy watching the game with other young soccer fans!
Spend a little bit more on tickets to sit in a calmer area.
Make sure you get your tickets in time and that they’re genuine tickets! We recommend buying Italian soccer tickets from an official team ticket agent (not 3rd party reseller).
4. Get Your Child Ready for the Match
Some kids will want to have an idea of what the experience will be like.
You can watch videos together – look on YouTube for clips of the stadium and the team’s fans.
Learn the team’s inno (anthem). Each team will play its inno as the players come out onto the field at the beginning of the game, and it feels amazing to sing along with everyone in the stands!
5. Plan Out the Route to the Stadium
The day or evening of the match will be less stressful if you’ve planned out how to get to and from the stadium (by car, public transport, on foot, or a combo).
Taking Kids to See a Soccer Match in Italy – During the Match
6. Bring Photo ID (passport) for You and Your Child
You’ll need to show everyone’s photo ID when you enter the stadium and it must match the ticket.
7. Wear Comfortable Shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking to get to and from the stadium. Wear comfortable, broken-in sneakers or sandals.
8. Wear a Team Jersey or Scarf
Kids love dressing the part! You can buy a team jersey or scarf before the match, or on game day.
You can find team-authorized authentic and replica jerseys in team shops, and you’ll also see counterfeit jerseys for sale near the stadium.
IMPORTANT: Don’t wear a team’s colors or jersey if you’re not sitting in that team’s section.
9. Bring Your Own Snacks
Italian football stadiums have long lines at concession stands, and the options aren’t healthy. Typical fare is hot dogs and simple panini.
If you want more selection or have dietary needs or preferences, stop at a grocery store or market before you get to the stadium.
You can bring your own food in. If you want to bring a bottled drink in, you have to discard the cap.
10. Ask for Help
Don’t try to figure out everything on your own! Every stadium is different, and sometimes the entrances can be confusing.
Staff outside the stadium can direct you to the proper entrance and stewards inside the stadium will tell you where your seat is.
11. Use the Toilet Before the Match Begins
Bathrooms in Italy aren’t always amazing, and by the end of a football match, the toilets in the stadium can be grimy.
Lines can also be long.
If possible, use the bathroom at the beginning of the match.
12. Be Flexible
Even if you’ve prepared and you’re ready to have an incredible experience at the match, it may all be too much for your child. It could be too long, too loud, or too noisy.
You may need to leave early, but that’s ok!
13. Leave a Few Minutes Early
Even if you’re having an amazing time, sneak out of your seats and exit the stadium a few minutes before the end of the game (unless it’s a nail-biter, of course!). You’ll avoid the enormous crowds leaving stadium at the end of the match.
Taking Kids to See a Soccer Match in Italy – After the Match
14. Meeting Players & Getting Autographs
Many kids love autographs and dream of getting one from their favorite player. Unfortunately, you won’t have the opportunity to meet players after an Italian soccer game.
The best way to meet players and possibly get an autograph is to look up the training schedule on the team’s website and go to a training session that’s open to the public. Or, wait outside the training center and try to catch players as they leave the practice.
15. Conversations About the Match
Italian soccer matches aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Your children may hear foul language and see less-than perfect examples of human behavior. Depending on the age of your child(ren), you may want to have a conversation about what you saw.
Of course, there are also positive conversations to be had – about teamwork, culture, and other topics (the soccer industry in Italy).
Alternatives to Serie A Soccer Matches – For Kids
If you decide that Serie A matches aren’t the best option for your kids, there are alternatives:
- Serie B, C, or D – Serie B and Serie C (aka Lega Pro) are also professional leagues. Serie D is non-professional, but the players are talented and the games are still fun to watch.
- Women’s Leagues – Each Serie A team has a professional women’s team.
- Youth Leagues – preschoolers to teens
I hope this has helped you with your decision on whether or not to take your kids to an Italian soccer game. If you do decide to attend a match, divertitevi – have fun!
When did you start taking your kids to soccer games in Italy?
I married into an Italian calcio (soccer / football) family. But we didn’t rush to take our kids to Italian Serie A soccer matches. We wanted to make sure our kids were ready and that attending a match in Italy was fun for both kids and parents. The youngest we bring our kids is around age 3 or 4, depending on the child.