My uncle bought me an Inter shirt when I was 6 years old. I am an Everton fan and solely because Inter play in blue and black stripes; it was the Nerazzurri and not AC Milan or Juventus for me.
On the 19th October 2014 I finally got the chance to experience the mysticism of the San Siro first-hand, going with a friend to watch Inter play Napoli. This travel guide offers my tips on everything from tickets, accommodation, flights and food based upon my trip to Milan.
First things first you need a ticket for the game. I was concerned that we may have to risk trying to buy tickets in Milan or miss them arriving in the post, but we ordered online from the official Inter site and were emailed the tickets to print off. Easy.
Tickets were priced between €25 and €180 although Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on the day they were going for up to €360. We went for €45 seats in the corner of the Secondo Rosso (red stand, second tier) near the Curva Nord to experience the atmosphere of the Curva with the comfort of not actually being in it, and we weren’t disappointed.
To make the most of the trip we stayed from Friday to Monday. We found a great 4-star hotel of a popular international chain on the bustling shopping street of Corso Buenos Aires for €160 each for three nights in a twin-room including breakfast and wifi. The hotel was just two minutes from the Lima metro stop which for €1,50 per journey takes you to Piazza del Duomo within 5-10 minutes and Lotto (for the San Siro) within about 25 minutes.
There are three airports servicing Milan; Malpensa international, the domestic Linate, and the budget airline favourite Bergamo. Manchester to Malpensa costs around €300 return, but flying to Bergamo was just €70 return. Both are equidistant to the centre and catching a shuttle bus (€5 each way) to Milano Centrale only took an hour. In my view using Bergamo is a no brainer.
What to see in Milan
Milan is a great city but two days there is all you need. The Duomo is one of the best cathedrals in Europe while Parco Sempione behind the equally impressive Castello Sforzesco is a relaxing place to escape the city buzz. Milan is like an Italian Paris in atmosphere, just without the tourist sites. Its attraction lies in the Italian café culture; we got a few pictures of us doing our best James Richardson impression reading Gazzetta with a coffee in hand.
Predictably the food was amazing. Pasta or pizza costs around €6-10 depending on the restaurant, and a Panini between €4-8. I would recommend Joe Cipolla, a traditional Italian steak and grill restaurant near Porta Genova metro, which served possibly the best burger I have ever tasted.
Most places are café bar in style so don’t go looking for a British style pub. Corso Como near Porta Garibaldi station is home to some of the city’s most famous nightclubs, but Navigli, the canal district, was a more atmospheric place to spend a night. Watching Italian football (Sassuolo-Juventus) in Rookies, an Italian bar, drinking Italian beer brought to your table by the waitress we couldn’t help but feel like we were living the dream. Be prepared to pay at least €6 for a pint though.
Travelling to the San Siro
Travelling to the game was straightforward. We got the M1 metro line from Lima to Lotto and then caught the free shuttle bus to the stadium. No shuttle buses seemed to be running on the way back though so we took the 20 minute walk to Lotto.
At the San Siro
Have your ticket and ID ready to be checked at your specified Ingresso (driving licence or passport) before being frisked and scanning your ticket. A bottle of water cost €2, but there didn’t seem to be any programmes on-sale for a souvenir. People sell drinks and snacks to your seat American-style but they charged me €9 for a chocolate bar and a coke!
The view from our second-tier seats was brilliant. Being an Evertonian I am used to a passionate and vocal crowd but the Curva Nord was something else. The fans along the front had their backs to the pitch for the whole game directing their fans in relentlessly loud song. At times it was hostile; the biggest whistles and boos of the night were not for Rafa Benitez but Walter Mazzarri.
The game itself was dreadful until four goals in the last 10 minutes including an injury-time equaliser from Hernanes to make it 2-2 gave cause to celebrate with the Interisti around us.
Inter as a team are a shadow of what they once were; the days of Javier Zanetti, Christian Vieri and Ronaldo have long gone. But the experience of watching a game at the San Siro, truly one of world football’s greatest venues, is something I will never forget and a must for any football fan.
Hotel (3 nights): €160
Transfer: €5 each way
Match tickets: €45 but anywhere between €25-180
Food: €6-10 pizza/pasta, €4-8 panini
Drink: Tea/Coffee €3, Coke €4, Beer €6
Metro: €1,50 per journey
Follow George Gibson on Twitter: @George_Gibson9