Italy! Italy! We’re The Famous Glasgow Celtic…
When and where is the match itself?
So, Celtic have been drawn against Serie A Champions, Juventus, in the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League. Whilst the home tie will take place on the 12th February, the return leg, in Italy, will not take place until almost a month later, on the 6th March, 2013. The match will kick off at 7.45pm in Glasgow, but this will be 8.45pm in Turin.
Situated in the north western corner of Italy, the city is overlooked by mountains as you can see above. Almost one million people live in the city itself, which is known locally as Torino. The city hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics, and is home to two major football teams, Torino and Juventus. Whilst Torino came second in Serie B last season and won promotion to Serie A, Juventus won the Serie A title without losing a single league match, becoming the first team to do so in the process. It is clear that they are formidable opponents for the Hoops.
The match will take place in the Italian sides “Juventus Stadium”, which hosted it’s first match less than eighteen months ago. The stadium is much more modern than their old ground, the Stadio delle Alpi, but it has a significantly reduced capacity. The old ground held almost 70,000, whereas the new stadium, built on the same site as the old giant, holds approximately 41,000. In truth, there was no need for such a large stadium, as the average attendance for Juventus matches was only around a third of the old capacity.
One notable difference between the two stadia is the distances from the pitch to the stands. In the old ground, it was almost fifty metres in some areas. However, inside the Juventus Stadium, it is only twenty five feet at most. This means that it is a much more imposing place to play your football. Interestingly, the stadium will host the final of the Europa League in 2014.
Where is the stadium?
The stadium itself is located in the northern part of Turin, around 7km (around 4.5 miles) from the city centre. As I have mentioned, it is located on the site of the old Stadio delle Alpi, and this is still shown on many maps as the stadium was only demolished around five years ago.
There are several ways to get to the stadium:
– Tram/Train: On match days, a special tram (on line nine) runs between the stadium and the nearest subway stop, known as “Bernini”. Trams are quite a big deal in Turin, with ten lines running across the city, as opposed to the subway’s one single line, so don’t be too surprised to see a lot of them in the city. A single subway ticket costs €1.50, and will, according to Wikipedia, allow you access to any other form of public transport for ninety minutes after you purchase the ticket. During the week, the metro is open from 5:30 in the morning until 23:50 at night. You may also like to know that the metro system in Turin is almost entirely automated, so the chances are there won’t be anyone driving your train. Technology is a wonderful thing eh?
– Road: On non-match days, bus seems to be the way to go according to most websites. They say that taking the 72a or 72b bus, which have ultimate destinations of “Viale Bruno Sper.” or “Picco.” will get you to the stadium, providing you get off at the stop entitled “Stadio delle Alpi/Juventus Stadium”. Please note that it is around three miles from the Bernini metro stop to the stadium on foot, or around ten to fifteen minutes in taxi or tram.
A map, which I hope will be of some help to you, can be found below. Please feel free to print it off. A map of the Turin subway can also be found below.
A very detailed PDF of all public transport (with English translations) in the city can be found here.
What will the weather be like?
In March, temperatures in the city tend to vary between a little above freezing, two or three Celsius as a minimum, and around ten to twelve Celsius as a maximum. It is the least humid month of the year in the city, but there is generally a fair amount of rainfall to contend with (generally around one day out of every three or four it will rain for prolonged periods). Of course, this is only a guide. No one can predict the weather. So I’d advise you to prepare for cold and rain in case that is what you are faced with. Hopefully though, it’ll be quite pleasant!
How can I get to Turin?
Well, that’s not the easiest question to answer, partially because it’s not the easiest city to reach, and partially because there are so many different options for potential travellers to the city. First of all, I’ll focus on the area in and around Turin, before moving onto information about another city in northern Italy, Milan, where many Celtic supporters plan to stay on their trip. Anyway, more on that later.
Airports: – Turin International Airport (Aeroporto Torino) is the main airport which services the city. It is located a little under ten miles outside of Turin, and it is well linked by both motorway and railway. A taxi into Turin will cost you around €30, and the journey will take around half an hour. There is also the train, which leaves every half an hour from 7am until 9pm. This takes about twenty minutes, and costs only a few Euros, taking you to the Dora railway station in the city. The station is directly linked to the airport terminal by a long, covered walkway (follow signs etc). PLEASE NOTE: Dora is not connected to the metro system, so you will need to make your own way to your hotel or accommodation via foot, bus, taxi or tram when you arrive in the city should you choose to take the train out from the airport. If you do not want this added inconvenience, please take the bus, as it takes you too a much more central location, with better transport links.
You can also make us of a bus service, should you prefer. These run from the airport to Puerta Nova, the main train station in the city (with a connection to the subway, unlike Dora) and this journey will take between thirty and forty minutes generally. Once again, it is a fairly cheap, painless option. Also, the airport only has one terminal, so that simplifies things somewhat.
Airports: – The main airport in northern Italy is Milan’s Malpensa Airport. This is where many Celtic fans will fly to in March, as it is a much more popular destination for flights (especially those which run regularly) than Turin, meaning flights to here are generally more readily available and cheaper too. Many Celtic supporters plan to stay in Milan (for a variety of reasons which I will discuss later) and only travel to Turin on match day, so here’s a quick guide to your options.
Malpensa has two terminals, one of which (number one) is serviced by a high speed rail link to the city of Milan. If you arrive at terminal one, these will provide easy routes into the city’s central railway stations (Milano Cardona and Milano Centrale), taking between thirty and forty minutes, costing a little over €10 for a one way trip for adults. Please note different trains go to each destination, they do not go to both stations in one trip, so make sure you get on the right one. Tickets must be bought prior to boarding, and cannot be bought on the trains, which run every half an hour or so throughout the day.
If you arrive at Terminal Two, used mostly by budget airlines like Easyjet, then boarding a the bus into the city is probably your best option, as you can wait around forty five minutes during busy periods for a shuttle bus between the two terminals, which you would need to do if you wished to get the train. These buses run every twenty minutes, and are priced similarly to the railway line. Five buses also run everyday from Malpensa to the city of Turin, taking around two hours and costing approximately €20. Taxis are also an option if you wish to head into Milan’s city centre, but they are very expensive, and it can cost you over €90 should you take this route.
Airports: – Similar ideas apply to the other airports which, theoretically, you could fly into in March, such as Linate (Milan), Orio al Serio (Bergamo), or Parma. Linate is only a few kilometres from Milan. The latter two, particularly Parma, are a long way from Milan.
Some supporters have also said they will be flying into Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport, which is located approximately one hundred miles away from Turin. This means it is around one and a half hours drive away (perhaps slightly more) from the city. Various methods connect the two cities, including road and rail networks. More information regarding these can be found online and, as ever, if you have any individual queries please feel free to contact me and I will try to help you if I can.
Train: – So, now you’re in Milan. Whether you are staying there and travelling on match day, or wanting to head straight for Turin, here’s some of the options available to you. Milan and Turin are linked by a high speed railway network, meaning it isn’t too hard to get to the city of Turin. There are several trains scheduled for the day of the game, and you can buy tickets here. Prices currently range from about €8 (only on certain trains) up to about €60, depending just how luxurious you would like your trip to be. If you are on the ultra high speed (220 mph) train, the journey will take an hour. If you are on a slightly slower service (still well past 100 mph) you may be on board for a little over ninety minutes.
Now, we approach a rather major problem. The last train from Turin to Milan on match day is scheduled for an hour or so before kick off. This means that if you are taking the train through you will either need to find another way back to Milan on the night, or you will have to spend the night in the city before returning on a train in the morning (the earliest being around 5.30am or so).
Please note that many websites say you have to scan and verify your train ticket on the platform of Italy’s high speed network before boarding the train. Failure to do this, when it is required, can result in a hefty fine.
Buses: – There has been much speculation regarding chartered buses being put on for fans travelling from Milan, that would pick you up on match day and then take you back after the game is over. However, there has yet to be any confirmation of these, and therefore a lot of people are feeling a little clueless, including myself, in this regard. If and when any confirmation is made, then I will of course update you all as quickly as I can.
Some groups of supporters have chartered their own buses in advance, and when I have more information on this I will post this here. Also, please keep an eye on our @MBJuventus account on Twitter for real time updates. There, you will also be able to ask other supporters for advice, or even answer their queries if you can.
Will alcohol be banned in the city on match day?
Many people who travelled to Turin with Celtic previously have mentioned the much maligned alcohol ban in the city on the days of matches. These were implemented by the city’s mayor in an attempt to minimise the chance of trouble when travelling European supporters came to town. They were handed out on a game by game basis, and only really when British Clubs came to visit as there is a perceived hooligan element of British supports. Tensions have been raised on occasion since the Heysel disaster when English Clubs have visited the city, and Celtic have previously been put in the same “box” as English sides because we’re based in Britain.
However, I have been told that the new mayor of Turin has yet to implement one of these bans. Whether this is right or not I do not know. Allegedly some pubs were open when the last British side to visit Turin, Chelsea, played Juventus. We await news regarding whether or not one will be put in place in March. The bans force bars in certain areas to close, although, as many Celtic fans will tell you, there are ways of getting around such a ban, as I’m sure you can imagine.
How can I get a ticket?
Away tickets for this match will almost certainly be taken up by those officially travelling with the Club through Thomas Cook. Unlike in Barcelona, were Celtic had a huge allocation and home supporters welcomed travelling Celts into their own sections, Turin is a slightly different kettle of fish. It is expected that our allocation will only number around 2,000. These tickets have not been officially priced yet, but will be soon by the Football Club and Thomas Cook. Put simply, unless you are travelling on an official package, your chances of getting an away ticket are slim at best.
It is unclear what Juventus’ (as a Club) view is on away supporters buying tickets for the home sections. In Barcelona, this was much discussed but on the day things were fine. However, personally I would not risk sitting in amongst the Juventus fans, some of whom (particularly their ultras) have a notorious reputation for violence. Whether this is true, or just a stereotype is unclear. However, having spoken to someone who sat in amongst the home support when Celtic last travelled to Turin, he claimed that he wouldn’t repeat the feat even if someone offered to pay him.
Obviously, I cannot tell you what to do in Italy. I can only offer advice. If you want to sit in the home end then feel free to try, it is after all your decision. Officially though for this match, I cannot advise people to try to sit in amongst the Juventus supporters. I cannot be seen to tell you that you will be safe when, in truth, I simply cannot guarantee that on this occasion.
If anyone has any more information regarding this, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
How safe will I be in Turin?
Of course, the safety of those travelling Celtic supporters reading this page is my main priority. I will attempt to show you both sides of the city, as many people have discussed with me, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
On previous visits to Turin, Celtic supporters have reported assaults, pickpockets, heavy handed policing, and coins been thrown at them, amongst other things.
Pickpockets are common in Turin, particularly in the areas around the main railway station, and I would encourage you, as I did with those travelling to Barcelona to be vigilant when you are in the city. They are most likely to pick on people who are very, very drunk, or those who are distracted by something else, so please keep an eye out for each other. If someone randomly approaches you and engages you in conversation, be sure to check that his friend doesn’t walk up behind you and have his hand in your pocket or bag. Although they are much less common (according to the wonderful internet) than in Barcelona, avoid street games etc as many of them are nothing other than clever scams.
Regarding the potential threat posed by rival fans, I must confess I am somewhat unsure of what to tell you. Many people have said they’ve travelled to Turin and had no problems whatsoever. However, others have said the opposite, citing examples where they have been rather frightened by the events around them. There is a notoriety attached to Ultras in Italy, which was last highlighted when a pub containing Spurs supporters was attacked in Rome. A local told me “Juventus fans are polite and respectful, until you defeat their team”, hinting that violence can be worse when the home team lose.
The reputation of the local police force also precedes them. They have held away supporters inside the ground long, long after the match has ended before, and it is not uncommon for you to be met with a lot of riot police, who are there ready to pounce at the slightest hint of any trouble. Again, some people have said the police are ok, whilst others have said they are heavy handed with travelling fans.
All in all, there is some safety provided in numbers. If possible, stay with other fans and do not wander off after the game by yourself. Stick together, look out for each other, but try to enjoy what will hopefully be a pleasant trip free from any violence.
MORE INFORMATION REGARDING PERSONAL SAFETY, HOME SUPPORTERS, PLACES TO EAT, DRINK AND CONGREGATE ETC WILL APPEAR IN THE COMING DAYS.