If you’re a soccer fan, you’ve probably heard of the San Paolo Stadium in Naples, Italy. Home to the famous SSC Napoli football club, the San Paolo Stadium is a mecca for football enthusiasts from all over the world. With a capacity of over 60,000, the stadium has played host to some of the most iconic moments in football history. From Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal to the club’s two Serie A titles, the San Paolo Stadium has been witness to some of the most thrilling football matches of all time. But the San Paolo Stadium is more than just a football stadium. It’s a cultural landmark, a symbol of Naples’ passion for the beautiful game, and a must-visit destination for any football fan. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the history, culture, and atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium, and give you all the information you need to plan your visit to this iconic football temple.
History of SSC Napoli and San Paolo Stadium
The SSC Napoli football club was founded in 1926 and has since become one of the most successful clubs in Italian football history. The club has won two Serie A titles, five Coppa Italia titles, and one UEFA Cup. However, it wasn’t until the arrival of Diego Maradona in 1984 that the club truly became a global force. Maradona led Napoli to their first-ever Serie A title in 1987 and their second in 1990. The San Paolo Stadium played a crucial role in these triumphs, as it was the stage for many of Maradona’s most memorable performances.
The San Paolo Stadium itself was built in 1959 and was initially named Stadio del Sole. It was later renamed Stadio San Paolo in honor of the Apostle Paul, who is believed to have landed in Naples on his way to Rome. The stadium has undergone several renovations over the years, with the most recent one taking place in 2019. Today, the San Paolo Stadium is widely regarded as one of the most atmospheric football stadiums in the world.
Stadium features and capacity
The San Paolo Stadium has a capacity of over 60,000 and is the third-largest stadium in Italy. The stadium is renowned for its unique architecture, featuring a distinctive curved roof that covers all four stands. This design ensures that all spectators have an unobstructed view of the pitch.
The San Paolo Stadium is also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including VIP boxes, a press room, and a restaurant. The stadium is easily accessible for disabled fans, with designated seating areas and special access routes. The stadium’s impressive facilities and capacity make it an ideal venue for hosting major football matches and events.
Getting to San Paolo Stadium
The San Paolo Stadium is located in the Fuorigrotta neighborhood of Naples, which is in the western part of the city. There are several ways to get to the stadium, including by metro, bus, and taxi.
The easiest way to get to the stadium is by metro. Line 2 of the Naples Metro has a station right outside the stadium, which is called Campi Flegrei. The journey from the city center to the stadium takes around 20 minutes and costs €1.50 for a single ticket.
If you prefer to take the bus, there are several bus lines that stop near the stadium, including lines 140, 142, and 143. Taxis are also readily available throughout the city and can take you directly to the stadium. However, traffic can be heavy on match days, so it’s best to plan your journey in advance.
Buying tickets for SSC Napoli matches
If you’re planning to attend an SSC Napoli match at the San Paolo Stadium, it’s essential to buy your tickets in advance. Tickets can be purchased online through the club’s official website or in person at the stadium’s ticket office.
Ticket prices vary depending on the match and the seating area. The cheapest tickets are usually for the Curva, which is the standing area behind one of the goals. Tickets for the main stands are more expensive, with VIP tickets being the most expensive.
It’s worth noting that tickets for popular matches, such as the Derby della Campania against AS Roma or the Derby del Sole against Lazio, can sell out very quickly. It’s therefore advisable to buy your tickets as soon as they become available to avoid disappointment.
Best places to sit in San Paolo Stadium
The San Paolo Stadium offers a range of seating options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for an authentic matchday experience, the Curva is the place to be. This standing area is where the most passionate Napoli fans congregate, and the atmosphere is electric.
If you prefer a more comfortable experience, the main stands offer excellent views of the pitch and plenty of amenities, including restaurants and bars. The Tribuna Posillipo and the Tribuna Nisida are two of the most popular stands for home fans, while the Distinti and the Curva A are popular with away fans.
Whichever seating area you choose, be prepared to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium. The passion and energy of the Napoli fans are unlike anything else in football.
Food and drink options at San Paolo Stadium
The San Paolo Stadium offers a wide range of food and drink options for fans to enjoy before, during, and after the match. There are several restaurants and bars located within the stadium, offering everything from pizza and pasta to beer and cocktails.
If you prefer a more traditional matchday snack, there are also several food stands selling hot dogs, burgers, and other fast food. One of the most popular snacks at the San Paolo Stadium is the panino con la porchetta, a pork sandwich that is a specialty of Naples.
It’s worth noting that food and drink prices at the San Paolo Stadium can be quite high, especially in the VIP areas. If you’re on a budget, it’s advisable to eat before or after the match at one of the many restaurants in the city center.
Stadium tours and museum
If you’re a football fan, a tour of the San Paolo Stadium and the SSC Napoli museum is a must-do activity. The stadium tour takes you behind the scenes of this iconic football temple, allowing you to explore the changing rooms, the tunnel, and the pitch itself.
The museum, located inside the stadium, is a treasure trove of SSC Napoli memorabilia, including trophies, photographs, and videos of the club’s greatest moments. You can also see Diego Maradona’s famous number 10 shirt and other artifacts from the club’s illustrious history.
Stadium tours and museum visits are available throughout the year, with different packages and prices depending on your preferences. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to avoid disappointment.
Other events at San Paolo Stadium
While the San Paolo Stadium is primarily known as the home of SSC Napoli, it also hosts a range of other events throughout the year. These include concerts, festivals, and other sporting events, such as athletics and boxing.
One of the most popular events at the San Paolo Stadium is the Napoli Pizza Village, a week-long celebration of Naples’ most famous culinary export. The event features dozens of pizzerias from all over Naples, offering visitors the chance to taste some of the best pizza in the world.
Other notable events at the San Paolo Stadium include the Napoli Film Festival, the Napoli Comicon, and the Napoli Tattoo Convention. Check the stadium’s official website for details of upcoming events.
The San Paolo Stadium is more than just a football stadium. It’s a cultural landmark, a symbol of Naples’ passion for the beautiful game, and a must-visit destination for any football fan. From the history and architecture of the stadium to the atmosphere and energy of the Napoli fans, there’s something for everyone at the San Paolo Stadium.
Whether you’re attending an SSC Napoli match, taking a stadium tour, or simply soaking up the atmosphere on a non-match day, a visit to the San Paolo Stadium is an experience you’ll never forget. So why not plan your trip today and discover the magic of this iconic football temple for yourself?