BERGAMO - THE ATLETI AZZURI D'ITALIA - CAPACITY: 26,638 ALL SEATER
About the Atleti Azzuri D’Italia The Atleti Azzuri D’Italia is a classic Italian stadium which two almost identical basic stands running down the side of the pitch, and two curved terraces set slightly back from the pitch. To protect the players, and opposition fans the pitch is also surrounded by a 10 foot glass barrier which does make viewing hard from the seats at the front of the stadium.
The stadium was originally opened in 1928 as the Mario Brumana stadium who was a local Fascist Martyr. The main hardcore fans are located in the open air north Curve. The rest of the stadium is relatively basic. The clubs are due to move to a new stadium at the end of the 2008/09 season.
Who plays there? Bergamo plays host to two clubs, one of whom has had a more illustrious history than the other. The more well known of the two is Atalanta. The club have spent the past few decades bouncing between the top two divisions, hardly enjoying a run in Serie A. In 2006/07 they finished in 8th place in the top league, their best finish for over fifty years. The club were formed in October 1907, and took their black and blue striped kit from Internazionale. They reached Serie A for the first time in 1937, and there started a period of yo yoing between the top two divisions. In 1948 they finished in 5th place, their highest ever finish in the top flight. In 1963 the club won their only piece of Silverware when they captured the Coppa Italia.
In 1981 they fell down to C1 which has been the lowest they have fallen, but they were back in the top league within four years. In 1988 they actually reached the Semi-Final of the European Cup Winners Cup, and followed it with a Quarter Final appearance in the UEFA Cup two years later.
The club has a reputation for blooding some famous players including Cristiano Doni, Gianluigi Lentini (for a period in the 1990’s the world’s most expensive player), Filippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri in the past few seasons.
The stadium is also home to Albinoleffe football club who are currently enjoying an extended run in Serie B. The club came close to making the Serie A play offs last year – a remarkable achievement considering they regularly play in front of crowds of less than 1,000.
How to get there The stadium is located close to the historic Citta Alta and is easily reached on foot from anywhere in the town. Bus routes 9b and 9c run from the central station to Via Baioni which is just to the south of the stadium. If you do want to walk from the central station then simply head straight ahead through the new town with the old town visible up ahead. As you get to the old town walls and the funicular, carry on following the outer walls (Via Vittorio Emanuele II). This road will become Via Noca and pass through Piazza Carrara. At the traffic lights head in a north easterly direction down Via Giulio for the stadium.
For a more detailed view on where the stadium is go to Footiemap.com.
Getting a ticket Please note that ticket arrangements in Italy are currently some of the most stringent in Europe and buying a ticket on the day of the game is now very hard indeed. Whenever and wherever you purchase a ticket in advance you will have to prove your identity so carry around your passport. Tickets from all Atalanta games can be purchased via the LIS Lottomatica machines in and around the town centre. You can also buy tickets from http://www.listicket.it and the clubs ticket office on Viale Cesare opposite the stadium.
Tickets range in price wildly. You can pay €125 for a top seat in the Poltroncine for the games versus the big 6 (AC, Inter, Lazio, Roma, Juve and Fiorentina) or you could pay €20 for a place in the Curva. One of the best seats for the netutral is in the Tribuna Centrale which ranges in price from €29 for games verus the smaller teams to €38 for the big six.
Getting around The main access points to the town, the railway and bus stations are both located close to each other at the end of Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII. From here you can get buses to most parts (tickets cost €1) although most people head for the Old Town via Viale Vittorio Emanuele II which whisks you up the hill.
Bergamo’s airport is actually considered to be Milan’s third one, although it is some 60 km north of the city. It is one of the fastest growing in Italy though, handling over 5 million passengers a year and is a real favourite with the budget airlines. Currently BMIBaby fly here from Birmingham International, Jet2 from Leeds/Bradford, MyTravel from London Gatwick, Belfast and Manchester. The main airline based at the airport is Ryanair who fly here daily from Bournemouth, Bristol, East Midlands, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle as well as 25 other destinations.
The airport is served by a shuttle bus every 30 minutes that runs to the central station in around 15 minutes. From here you can get trains across the region. A single ticket costs €1.65. If you want to direct to Milan then a bus runs every hour and costs €7.90 each way to Milan Centrale.