For a fantastic time and a chance to take in the local "color," consider an afternoon visit to with the Viola if they are playing during your stay.  Fiorentina, the "viola" due to their purple uniforms, play just 1 1/2 miles from the city center in the Artemio Franchi Stadium. The team plays in the Serie A, the top league in Italy.

The stadium is not large (by American football standards) and does have some covered seating but holds over 45,000. As a 'one club' city, which is unusual by Italian standards, the home fans are passionate and loyal. The hard core are located in Curva Fiesole from which end the team enter the pitch.  The stadium has a large tower dominating over the stadium, the 'Tower of Marathon' and from above the stadium takes the form of the letter 'D'. The stadium is a classic and one of the best examples of early 20th century Italian architecture in the city.

Ticket prices vary from E 25 in the curva, where the hard core fans are locared upto E190 in the seats where you will rub elbows with the great and good. Tickets can be purchased at ticket offices located near the stadium.  It's possible to buy tickets in advance at the booth called Chiosco degli Sportivi off Piazza Repubblica (via degli Anselmi), but it's really unnecessary -- tickets are available at the box office for most games, except perhaps the biggest rivalries (e.g. Juventus).  You will need ID to purchase or collect pre-ordered tickets, passport or photo drivers licence suitable, and tickets will have your name printed on them.

You can order tickets via the clubs offical website www.acffiorentina.it which has an Italian and English version. From there email the club who will send you a form to complete and return, and you pick up the tickets from an a 'Fiorentina Point' near the stadium on Viale Manfredo Fanti on match day.

There is an official club shop opposite the main entrance and facade of the stadium, however you will find unofficial stalls near the ground. Be careful of these, as unlike such stalls at Milan, Madrid, Barca or other such 'big' clubs, the stall holders can become abusive aggressive and rude. As an example made it clear from the numerous scarves on display, a scarf at E10 was wanted, then shown around the side of the stall and only shown scarves at E20 then told to 'go on holiday to Morocco if you want to be cheap' and 'this is Italy the price is the price'. The guy then came back and repeated this aggresively. Despite the implied racism, his stall contained what here in the UK what is described as 'tat'.  Also as no receipts were being issued and as a purchaser you could get caught out by the 'tax police' and fined. The advice is purchase official products from the club shop here at the ground or near the Duomo as alot of whats sold on these stalls is not proper merchandise.

Food and drink stalls outside the stadium however are excellent. Here you can try local staples such as the tripe sandwich, along with more conservative meats and cheese paninnis and other sandwiches, along with beer and soft drinks, all at reasonable prices given the context. There is a Fiorentina supporters bar and shop behind the Curva Fiesole at 69 Viale Manfredo Fanti who have a webpage which is very friendly and further along an independent 'sports bar' named 'Caffe Maratona' which again is good value and where alcoholic drinks, fresh coffee and soft drinks can be bought and drank on the premises.

To get to the stadium you can take the #17 bus from Piazza San Marco.

For those who have heard of violence in and around soccer venues, this particular team and stadium is less prone to such and you will find a very nice atmosphere present.   Just use common sense and you should have a great afternoon.

Once in the ground you can purchase beer and soft drinks and have them consumed at your seat, unlike the UK. Dont expect to find all the stewards very helpful some are very rude, a contrast to the significant number of grounds within Europe. Normally if you get in the ground very early you can within the spectator areas be allowed to quickly move to the front row and get a pitch side photograph and then return to your section - not here!