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Official Review by Stefano Romagnoli, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Stadio Bentegodi is the main facility for football in the city of Verona. The structure hosts the home matches of AC Chievo Verona and Hellas Verona FC.
The facility is dedicated to Marcantonio Bentegodi, sports enthusiast and citizen benefactor who lived during the nineteenth century. The stadium was inaugurated on December 15, 1963 at the regional derby Hellas Verona-Venezia, played with 25,000 spectators (but the facility was designed to contain 40,000).
In the second half of the 1980s, like many other Italian sports facilities, it was renovated in preparation for the FIFA World Championships, during which it was the site of four matches: Belgium vs South Korea, Belgium vs Uruguay, Spain vs Belgium, and Yugoslavia vs Spain.
During its half century of life, Stadio Bentegodi has also hosted music concerts, the Italian national rugby team and, on April of 2014, a match of Virtus Verona Vecomp, the third football team in the city.
In 1903, high school students from Maffei of Verona, helped by their Greek language teacher, founded Associazione Calcio Hellas.
From the 1929-30 season through the Second World War the team played in the Serie B and Serie C. Only at the end of the 1956-1957 season did the yellow and blue win for the first time the right to play in Serie A. But they lasted in the highest level of professional Italian football for only one season.
Without a doubt the most prolific period for Hellas Verona FC occurred in the 1980s. With Osvaldo Bagnoli in the role of the coach, the team earned a promotion to Serie A, reached the final of the Italian Cup twice and in the 1984-85 tournament they won the title of champion of Italy ahead of Torino, Inter, Sampdoria, Milan and Juventus.
The Hellas Verona FC is the only Italian team based in a city that is not a capital of a region to have won a championship.
After ups and downs Hellas Verona FC returned to Serie A for the 2013-14 season.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
As in many Italian stadiums within the Bentegodi, fans can buy hot and cold drinks served in paper cups if you decide to take them with you into the stands. Hot and cold sandwiches, and various salty and sweet snacks are also available. You'll probably want to eat before arriving at the stadium as there is nothing substantial to eat inside.
The stadium is elliptical and is structured on several levels. The first is located at the same height of the pitch, while the second consists of a few rows of chairs in green. The third and fourth levels are those that can accommodate the largest number of fans.
All around the field there is a tartan athletics track that was replaced in 2010 by a layer of blue asphalt with yellow lines that can be used for skating.
In Curva Nord there is a giant screen in color that, during the match, informs viewers about score and minutes of play. Four towers and lighthouses on the roof of the stadium provide excellent lighting even during the night events.
A special feature that characterizes the Bentegodi stadium from many other stadiums in Italy is the Curva Sud. It is the curve of both sets of fans in the city, those of AC Chievo Verona and those of Hellas Verona FC. The facility is fully covered.
Stadio Bentegodi is located in the Borgo Milano area in the southwest of Verona. All around the facility there are buildings of four or five floors. There are plenty shops in the immediate vicinity.
Pizza Lab is a convenient stop where you can spend just 8.50 Euros to have a quick dinner with pizza and Coke. For those who want to eat something on a sweet note, try Pasticceria al Teatro or the Gelateria Mozart.
Around the stadium there are street stalls where you can buy hot and cold sandwiches, in addition to yellow and blue gadgets and merchandise. The usual meeting place of the fans before and after each match is Bar Nilla near the stadium.
The yellow-blue fans are passionate supporters and they follow matches of Hellas Verona FC from Curva Sud. The waving of flags and scarves accompany the entry of the team to the pitch. On the balustrade there are banners displayed by the individual sets of fans.
Cheers organized on the model of the British have made an appearance at Stadio Bentegodi since the early 1970s.
To date, the yellow-blue fans have friendly relations with supporters of Fiorentina, Sampdoria and, in England, of Chelsea.
The main opponents are represented by Vicenza, Brescia, Napoli and Genoa.
Verona is the fifth city of Italy to host a derby in Serie A, after Genoa (Genoa and Sampdoria), Milan (Inter and Milan), Rome (Lazio and Roma) and Turin (Juventus and Torino).
On the occasion of the first match between Hellas FC and AC Chievo Verona in the Italian top division on November 18, 2001, a record attendance was recorded for the derby at Bentegodi with 38,356 spectators. Since then, the rivalry between the two sides of yellow-blue has grown with time.
Reaching Stadio Bentegodi is really simple. By train simply stop at Verona Porta Nuova and walk for about 20 minutes.
Some public transport buses connect the facility to the Verona Porta Nuova railway or to the historic center of the city.
Finally, if you choose to arrive with your own car, you can reach Verona along the A4 or A22. From A4 exit at Verona Sud, while from the A22 exit at Verona Nord. In both cases, once you leave the highway, just follow the signs to the stadium. Numerous parking spots are available.
To watch a home match of Hellas Verona FC one can buy tickets for the following sections: Poltronissime Ovest, Poltronissime Est, Poltrone Ovest, Poltrone Est, Tribuna Superiore Ovest, Tribuna Superiore Est, Poltronissime Sud, Curva Sud, and Settore Ospiti. The Curva Nord is reserved for the supporters of the away team.
The most expensive ticket is that of "Poltronissime Ovest" for matches against Udinese Calcio 1896 and costs 60 Euros. The cheapest ticket gives access to the "Tribuna Superiore Est" for children under 14 and costs just 0.50 Euros.
The Verona Arena, a Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, hosts numerous society events during the summer months.
"There is no world without Verona walls," wrote William Shakespeare in "The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet." So if you are in Verona you have to see Juliet's house, a medieval building identified as the home of the protagonist of one of the most famous tragedies of literature.
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