The city of Palermo has a very special relationship with its football team. Palermo's team is known throughout the world for their unique pink-and-black playing shirt. Spending a Sunday at the stadium can be a great way of keeping in tune with the city.
It's not uncommon to see someone walking along the street exclaim 'Forza Palermo!' and any Palermitans within earshot will shout 'Forever!' in response, mimicking the typical call-and-response formula of other rituals. A few years ago, Palermo was stuck down in the lower reaches of Italian football. They had to work their way up to Serie A, the highest division. This gave great satisfaction to the locals when Palermo finally came up against teams like Juventus, AC Milan and Inter. There were great celebrations when Palermo was promoted to Serie A. Many Palermitans followed their team to away matches, including the momentous occasion of the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) final in Rome a few years ago.
However, when the team plays at home, it's the Stadio Renzo Barbera, also known as La Favorita, that plays host. It is located about 15 minutes away from the airport. The 101 bus departs frequently from the Central Station or Politeama Theatre and will take you directly to the stadium. There is also ample parking space for people wishing to travel by car.
Whoever decides to watch a match at the Stadio Renzo Barbera can expect to be surrounded by more than 36,000 spectators. Famous Sicilian celebrities, like the President of the Italian Senate Pietro Grasso and the comedians Ficarra and Picone, can often be seen in the stands. However, if you really want to have a good experience, I'd advise sitting behind one of the goals. Here, you'll find the most passionate supporters from one of Italy's best-behaved fanbases. This experience is even recommended for families. You'll find it easy to join in with the chants and jump along to the shouts of “If you're still sitting down, you're Catanese!” (the rivalry between Palermo and Catania goes back generations and insults are regularly traded...), or taste the traditional orange ice lollies that are sold in the shadow of Monte Pellegrino – the mountain that overlooks Palermo where the shrine to the city's patron saint Santa Rosalia is located.
When I go to the stadium, I'm always struck by the intense passion for football that brings Palermitans together, as well as their desire to enjoy themselves and spend a carefree day. Even if the team doesn't manage to win, the sadness only lasts a few hours – about the same amount time you need to wait for the club's president Maurizio Zamparini, famous for having fired many managers, to start hunting for another...
Location: Palermo ·