Rossoneri Pilgrimage

This was first published in our monthly club newsletter in November 2017. Register for the newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c_6oZj


Living in Melbourne, we spend most of our time following Milan by following social media pages, streaming games at crazy times in the morning, and confusing our work mates when they ask if we watched the footy on the weekend and we launch into a rant about how refs haven’t been the same since Pierluigi Collina.

So, a trip to Milan is a special event for Melbourne rossoneri. Here are our top 5 things to do when you make the pilgrimage and tips about how to do it right. ​

Go to a home game

This is what it’s all about. It’s hard to explain the excitement of walking into the San Siro for the first time after seeing it on TV for so many years. If you’re lucky to go to a game that’s sold out, it’s another level of crazy.

Tickets are relatively easy to buy online and if you’re booking far enough ahead of time they will mail the tickets to you in Australia. Otherwise, there are options to pick up from the ticket boxes out the front of the stadium.

Milan’s active fans sit in the two upper tiers of the Curva Sud. On the ticket map this is the blue seating area – which confused me at first. My favourite place to sit is the middle or back rows of the lowest tier of seats, as close to the Curva Sud as possible.

You will need photo ID to get in. After a crack down on ultras, the league beefed up security measures on all teams. I found that the security guards were to strict though. The warnings on the confirmation email were certainly much more intimidating than the actual process.

The city recently finished a new metro line that goes straight to the San Siro. That’s the easiest way to get to and from the game. I would suggest you get there early to avoid crowds on the metro. There’s plenty of knockoff and official merch stands operating around the San Siro on match day, so if you get there early you can buy some cool stuff. The active groups often get to the ground a bit early and meet out the front of the ground before they go in – so there’s also a cool atmosphere outside the stadium before the game.

If you don’t want to get there early, a cab from the city centre is about €50-70, which might be a bit too expensive if you don’t have a few mates to split the fare with. You can also get trams to the ground from certain areas, but they will be crowded like the metro.

I’d also hang back after the game and wait for the stadium to clear a bit. It’s nice to soak up the experience and more comfortable to get the metro back to your hotel once the crowd dissipates.

Also, if you’re into that kind of thing, you’re allowed to smoke at stadiums in Italy and many Italians smoke cigars during the game. So, buy a nice cigar on your way to the game and light up while you yell and chant the rossoneri on.

Food at the game isn’t amazing. Definitely better to eat in town before heading to the game.


Do the San Siro Tour

It’s not worth doing on game day because they close it down about 6 hours or more before the game so the teams can use the dressing rooms. I’d suggest doing it on a non-game day. Make sure you double check on the internet that there’s not a concert on that day or soon after either. When I went they were setting up for a concert and they wouldn’t let us on the ground like usually do.

It’s also a little expensive if you’re not a diehard fan (about €30), so might not be worth bringing family or friends that aren’t interested. But if you live and breathe all things rossoneri (or Inter, I suppose) it’s great fun.

There’s no guide, but there’s a walkway set up and signs to direct you. At first you go into the San Siro museum which is mostly just old jerseys of players from Milan, Inter, and Italy as well as some models of the San Siro.

Then you head over to the dressing rooms and you can check out both the Milan and Inter dressing rooms. I skipped the Inter dressing room, but apparently it is much more schmick because it has been updated more recently. Hopefully our new owners invest in some better lockers.

Then you walk around the stand that faces the big screen. You get some good views of the ground and then you walk to the bottom and you can go on part of the field.

At the end of the tour there’s a merch store. When I went it had some unique stuff that wasn’t at Casa Milan or the Milan megastore and it had a bunch of old season stock that was heavily discounted.


Visit Casa Milan

Casa Milan is Barbara Berlusconi’s legacy and to be fair, whatever else you thought about her, it is a great experience for Milan fans. The main section is a museum. There’s a lot of old memorabilia and some video’s and pictures from important historical games for the club.

The clubs trophies are kept in a trophy room about halfway through, including the Champions League trophies.

Then there’s a room where I think all of the golden ball’s (a few are replica’s, but some are definitely the originals) that Milan players have won.

Then there’s a section of old panini cards – which was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. There’s also a both for kids to make their own custom panini with their picture on at the end.

After the museum is a merch store (which is mostly just what you can buy online) and a café if you want to have lunch.

Casa Milan is also where the clubs head office is which means all the transfer negotiations happen there. If you’re there during the preseason or January and see a bunch of journo’s and TV cameramen out the front entrance – it might be worth hanging around to try and get a pic with the next great rossoneri!


Spend all your money at the Milan megastore

The megastore is in the main shopping area in Milan. It’s 3 levels and has a bunch of merch you can’t really get anywhere else. They also print names and numbers on jerseys instore, so if you want jersey writing this is the best place to get it done.


Visit Milanello

This is a tough one and I haven’t managed it yet, because it’s not actually in Milan. It’s about 90 minutes to 2 hours north of Milan depending how you’re travelling. The only public transport is a bus that’ll take you closer to that 2-hour mark. Taxi’s are probably way too expensive to bother.

However, if you have a car or you’re happy to travel the bus, it’s certainly got to be part of your pilgrimage. Try and figure out when the club has training on (probably best to ask a few journos on twitter) and get there early so you can greet the players as they drive in. If you’re lucky, most of them will stop and sign stuff. If it’s an open training session, you might also get to watch some warm ups and stuff like that.

Visit the maker

One of Milan's founders, Herbert Kilpin is buried at the Monumental Cemetery in the north of the city with other famous Milanese figures. It is a fairly modest burial site, but worth going and paying your respects.


Final Advice

So that’s the rossoneri pilgrimage. If the stars align and you’re there at the right time of the season I’d advise that you go to Milanello one day, then do Casa Milan, San Siro Tour and Milan Mega Store on the next day, and then catch a match on the third day. You won’t have a better 3 days in your life.