Time is running out to visit one of the world’s most iconic soccer stadiums. Home to European heavyweights AC Milan and Internazionale (Inter), the San Siro is showing its age. Plans are well underway for its demolition and construction of a modern replacement.
While its ageing infrastructure struggles to cope with capacity crowds, the stadium continues to attract soccer fans from all over the world. That holds true whether there is a match or not, as the museum and stadium tour is one of the top attractions in Milan.
Introducing the San Siro
Host of games at the 1934 and 1990 World Cups and 1980 European Championships along with four Champions League finals, the San Siro is one of the biggest attractions in Milan, Italy.
AC Milan and Inter both call the San Siro home, an arrangement that’s fairly unusual at the elite level of European soccer altbeit more common in Italy. Although officially named the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza after a two-time World Cup winner who played for both Milan teams, his legendary status at Inter means that AC Milan fans universally ignore the official name.
For soccer games, the iconic stadium has a capacity of up to 80,000. It has also played host to concerts by some of the world’s biggest entertainers. Bob Marley, Madonna, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen are among the greats to have played to sold-out crowds.
Visit the San Siro for a match
The plus side of two major clubs sharing a stadium is that there’s much more likely to be a match on during your visit to Milan.
During the soccer season, there will be at least one Serie A game at the stadium every week, most commonly on Saturday or Sunday. With both AC Milan and Inter regularly competing in the UEFA Champions League, games on Tuesday or Wednesday are also common.
For most Italian league games it’s possible to get a ticket on the day from the ticket booths outside the stadium. But for big European fixtures and especially the Milan derby, you’ll need to secure a ticket well in advance. Either way, it’s best to book online to get the best choice of location and price category on the websites of AC Milan or Inter.
Prices for games range from as cheap as €20 ($20) for a Serie A fixture against a smaller Italian club all the way up to hundreds of Euros for the best seats at the biggest European games.
Bear in mind that while tickets behind the goals are cheapest, it’s also where the most boistorous fans are located. Corner sections and higher tiers provide the next best value.
On matchdays, fans gather an hour or two before the game outside the stadium for sandwiches and beer. Alcohol isn’t sold inside the stadium, so a pre-match beer has become a tradition for many. You can also buy a scarf or shirt from one of many merchandise stalls as a souvenir of your visit.
Facilities inside the stadium itself are not as good, so it’s best to stock up on food and souvenirs before you enter.
San Siro museum and stadium tour
If you find yourself in Milan with no match scheduled, there’s still an opportunity to enjoy a soccer experience.
The San Siro museum and stadium tours are available on most days, unless there is a match, concert or other event that day. The calendar is kept updated online.
The museum gives visitors a small yet interesting look at the stadium’s history with shirts and other memorabilia from some of the greats to have graced the turf. But it’s the stadium tour that most visitors enjoy the most.
The self-guided tour lets you visit the media area known as the ‘mixed zone’, the strikingly different locker rooms of both AC Milan and Inter, walk out to the pitch through the players tunnel, and take in the view of the pitch from different parts of the stadium including some of the hospitality seats.
You are free to explore at your own pace and there are guides on hand to answer any questions.
Depending on which club is about to play, the interior corridors of the stadium will be decorated in either red and black or blue and black. The tour ends in the San Siro store, split in half with merchandise from the two famous clubs.
While soccer fans will get the most out of the experience, the museum and stadium tour allow non-sports fans the opportunity to get a glimpse into a core part of European culture and see one of the world’s greatest arenas before its demolition in a few years’ time.