Travel Guide: Empoli
In the latest installment of our Travel Guide series, we tell you how to go about a trip to Tuscany to see Empoli play at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.
A trip to the Stadio Carlo Castellani to watch Italian football club Empoli play should be a top priority on any Italian football enthusiast’s to-do list.
The stadium which was officially inaugurated on September 12, 1965, is named after the Empoli legend, Carlo Castellani, who still holds the record for most number of goals scored at the club.
Equipped with a capacity of around 20,000 seats, the Stadio Carlo Castellani is rarely sold out during matchdays. Tickets, therefore, are easily available. They can be bought at the stadium, or also near the gate on the day of the match.
Online tickets can be purchased from the club’s official website: empolicalcio.net.
Tickets usually range from €28.00 for a seat behind the goal to €45 to €85 for a seat on one of the sides. However, tickets are significantly cheaper if they are bought well in advance – before the matchday.
There are more than a few hotels around the stadium for you to stay. Hotel Tazza d’Oro is roughly three kilometres from the Stadio Carlo Castellani and is also one of the most convenient places to stay. Hotel Borgo San Giusto is approximately 5km from the stadium whereas Villa Dianella is close to 4km.
The nearest place to stay is, however, Hotel Il Sole, which is just less than 2km from the stadium.
There are no airports in Empoli unfortunately. You’ll have to do with the trains!
Fortunately, however, Florence isn’t too far away. As a result, flying here and getting the train across is probably the best option.
The small town of Empoli is centered around the Piazza Farinata degli Uberti, a typical medieval square with wide porches, galleries and monuments. This place is the flagship of the town.
And to the east of the Piazza it is the Collegiate Church, the ancient church dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle. The Collegiate Church dates from 1093, though it probably could have had much older origins.
There’s even a palace, the Palazzo del Podesta, which was the ancient seat of the Municipality of Empoli. Also, there’s the Palazzo Ghibellino, which is now home to the Civic Museum of Paleontology of Empoli.
And for those who want to take a dip, the municipal swimming pool is pretty near the stadium.
The food in Empoli comes with a good variety in taste. There’s Italian food, as expected, and also Chinese and Indian cuisine, surprisingly, in many of the restaurants here.
Moreover, most of the popular restaurants in Empoli aren’t really costly and they have good positive ratings from customers on many review websites.
When it comes to bars, the Vinegar American Bar Ristorante is the best in the region, and easily accessible with it being just a 15-minute walk from the stadium.
Another popular bar is the Caffe’ Cristallo Di Barnini Chiara which is also fairly close to the stadium. For people who don’t go to the stadium to watch the match, these places offer a great atmosphere to experience the game like a local.
Travel to Empoli
As I’ve mentioned before, there are no direct flights to Empoli. However, there are frequent trains from Florence to Empoli. The average journey time is, in this case, 28 minutes while there are trains that can reach as fast as in 17 minutes.
From the train station in Empoli, it takes only 15 minutes by foot to reach the Stadio Carlo Castellani as the ground is located just north-east of the town centre.
In case you’re arriving by car, take the exit route on Empoli Est from the motorway that runs south of the town, and follow the road into town. Staying on the same road will lead you directly to the stadium.
At the Stadio Carlo Castellani
The stadium is located in the north-east of the city. It’s a quiet area surrounded by greenery. Interestingly, the Empoli ultras don’t follow the matches from one of the two curves (as in most of Italy), but from Tribuna Maratona.
Since October 2008, the Tribuna Maratona has been dedicated to Emiliano Del Rosso, a young fan of the Empoli who was the victim of a road accident.
The usual food stalls around the ground are present, where you can grab a bite to eat and drink before the game.
Hotel: One night: €60-€75
Match Ticket: €28-€85
Food: €6-10 pizza/pasta, €4-8 panini
Drink: Tea/Coffee €3, Coke €4, Beer €6