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The Italy of Soccer

The bond between Italians and soccer is actually a great love story, and the sport and its traditions carry immense importance for Italians all up and down the Peninsula.
Soccer (or football) is not only one of the Italians' greatest passions, but it also has an enormous following internationally. 
Indeed, for lovers of the game, vacation and travel packages were created so that fans from around the world can live Italy at the same time that they root for their favorite teams. 
Those attending A Series games can intersperse matches with touristic visits – whether in cities of art, on enogastronomic tours or shopping sprees.Turin, Juventus Stadium, www.juventus.comItaly's stadiums, primarily those in the Belpaese's north-central regions, have seen transformations in the last few years, mainly in terms of comfort: they have been gradually aligned with European standards, and have welcomed new additions structurally, like museums, shops, restaurants and even gyms, all with the objective of making these soccer arenas akin to little communities, a gathering point for people that share a singular passion.

Let's look at Milan, where the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium reigns supreme.Some still call it “San Siro” for the neighborhood it calls home (and its official name until 1980), while others like to refer to it as “La Scala del Calcio” as long as you know that calcio is Italian for soccer, you can probably guess why many would compare the stadium to one of the greatest opera houses in the world. 

From an architectonic perspective, this edifice, considered to be among the most important in the world of soccer, has undergone several modifications through the years, up until the construction of its third ring, that brought its total capacity to approximately 85,000 seats.
Beginning with a Bob Marley concert in June of 1980, the stadium is still used for countless musical events. 
And today, the venue hosts a museum highlighting the multi-century history of the Milan and Inter teams, by way of a collection of jerseys, cups, trophies, shoes, art objects and mementos of every kind.

The Juventus Stadium in Turin, built on the site of the old Delle Alpi Stadium, was also conceived as a multi-function venue, and a shopping mall and athletic center were built alongside. It is the first environmentally-friendly stadium, and said to be one of the most advanced and modern worldwide. When Italy hosted the 1990 World Cup, many stadiums were restructured and renovated to correspond to European standards.

The first to take on many changes was Rome's Olympic Stadium (inside the sport complex of the Foro Italico). Dismantled and reconstructed, its architectural focus is horizontal, so the stands extend outward rather than upward.
This stadium has recently become the playing field for international rugby. 
The games of the Six Nations Championship run here – before, they took place at the Flaminio Stadium – and they always fill the house to the max. 
Besides numerous concerts, the Olympic Stadium also holds the Golden Gala for field and track games.

But we cannot forget several of the other stadiums that have had facelifts, especially those after the '90 Cup. 
Naples, for example, boasts its SanPaolo Stadium, ranking third capacity-wise (with 63,250 seats). Then, Florence's Artemio Franchi was originally built in the 1930s, and has over 47,00 seats. The Bentegodi Stadium in Verona (1960s) seats 42,000, while the Friuli Stadium of Udine (built between the '70s and '80s) follows suit.

The City of Bari also took great pride in its own stadium's improvements after the aforementioned World Cup, and now San Nicola, designed by illustrious architect Renzo Piano, has been likened to a spacecraft for its unique second ring that takes on the fascinating form of an array of flower petals.

Genoa deserves attention for its Luigi Ferraris Stadium – also known as the Marassi, given its host neighborhood of the same name.
Inaugurated in 1911, it is the oldest soccer stadium in the country. It is also considered among the most charismatic stadiums around the globe, especially considering that its stands are, unusually, so close to the playing field.
Finally, the national team trains in Tuscany, in Coverciano to be exact.
It is here that the National Soccer Museum lies (since 2000), showing off a variety of display items, from balls and shoes to jerseys and trophies – special for their histories tied to Italian soccer greats from every era.