There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Sander Kolsloot, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
'Bari, nel nostro cuore, non ti lasceremo da sola mai!' Bari, in our heart, I'll never leave you alone, shouted out loud by 15,000 tifosi in a third-filled San Nicola stadium in the beautiful province of Puglia, the heel of Italy and for most, the heart of the country. Bari itself is a beautiful city, with its 'centro storic' known to many as a bucket list destination.
For Italia '90 the organization committee was in need of big stadia to host the games for the FIFA World Cup. Bari was picked out as one of the host cities but lacked an up to date venue. The Stadio 'Della Vittoria' was very much in need of renovation if it was to host several group games, a quarter final and the third place match in the tournament.
So the plans in the Comune of Bari were made to construct a new stadium. Internationally-renowned Genovese architect Renzo Piano was hired, and from 1987 till 1990 the construction of the 58,270 all-seater venue took place. The stadium was designed to be the 4th biggest in Italy, after the Stadio Olimpico, Stadio San Siro and the 'Delle Alp'’ stadium in Turin (now replaced by the Juventus stadium).
The stadium itself is a multifunctional venue, with an eight-lane athletics track around the field. Its name, San Nicola (the well-known saint and city patron), was derived from a citizens’ vote, in which they could choose between San Nicola and 'Degli Ulivi' (from the olive trees). Its nickname though, refers much more to the shape and look of the stadium, which has a roof divided in 26 parts that resemble petals. The stadium looks so supernatural it is called the 'space shuttle.'. The stadium has two levels and 6 sectors, with the Curva Nord being the sector with the most fanatical supporters.
The stadium officially opened on June 3, 1990 with a friendly match between Bari and AC Milan. Besides the World Cup matches, the stadium hosted the European Cup final between Red Star Belgrade and Olympique Marseille in 1991, and it hosted the 8th Mediterranean Games of track & field.
FC Bari 1908, the main and, for most of the year, sole user of the stadium is a storied club. Founded in January 1908, it has gone bankrupt and has seen many name changes over the years. It has been a famous football side, once even holding the English transfer record by acquiring England international David Platt back in the 1990s.The first name for the club was FBC Bari, and in 1927, after a series of mergers, the club became known as Unione Sportiva Bari. The club has a history of going back and forth between Serie A and Serie B, and on occasion it has even been relegated to Serie C (in 1974 for the first time) but were back in Serie B a few years later. During the golden 80s, with great players in the team, Bari finished higher in Serie A but by the beginning of the 90s they were back in Serie B. After promotion again and relegation in the coming years, it regained its place in Serie A in 2009. After that it went all downhill, with financial losses in 2011. In 2014, the once powerful Matarrese family stepped back and the club went bankrupt. It was then bought by a former Serie A referee and due to a lucky finish to the season it managed to stay in Serie B. The name was then transformed to the current FC Bari 1908.
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 food is one of the main reasons to move to Italy, it's astonishing what the level or even availability of food is during the game. The answer is none. Yes, indeed, none. Don't expect wide food-stands offering mouthwatering paninis, pizza, pasta or salume. Some food can be found in the parking lot such as tasty paninis and other snacks for €5 euro, which isn't too bad, considering the amount of food you get there. You can take it all in with a local beer; Peroni is on offer for only €1 euro. Inside the stadium, prices are a little higher for a local brew, but don't expect to pay €4 or €5 euros for a can as you would in other European stadia.
If you do get the opportunity to buy tickets for the Curva Nord, don't even hesitate to buy them and get a seat there. But while you technically have a seat, sitting is frowned upon as standing during the match is necessary, both to be able to clap and sing out loud the many songs and chants, and also to get a glimpse of the field. The Curva Nord is the loudest and most filled part of the stadium and the fans are absolutely frantic when it comes to their local favourites. During the game, expect to be fired up by so called 'capos' - people with megaphones who orchestrate the singing. The atmosphere in Italian stadiums is always passionate, as is the Italian soul. And for some reason, Italian football songs are so much better than the Northern European versions.
One word: terrible. It's on the outside of town, with nothing to mention in the area. Pre match drinking can be done either in the city (with a so-so connection to the ground) or you can grab a drink in the parking lot, where the fan groups have set up a bar - basically a tent with a refrigerator - where you can buy a pre match drink.
If you want to enjoy some good Italian hospitality, head into the city centre, find yourself a spot in one of the local restaurants, sip some of the great local wine and get carried away while watching the crowds pass by. Wine won't cost you a fortune and you have plenty to choose from. Or sip one of the local brews such as Peroni, the biggest Italian Brewery, which has one of its factories in Bari.
When talking about Italian fans you have to take into account that Italians are passionate. Not only about football, but basically every vein in their body screams passion. The people around you will shout at the referee, will be so involved, be interested in why the heck you chose Bari as a team to watch and will chat with you if possible. Speaking Italian is a plus, but English will do for basic football conversation.
Expect them to be somewhat knowledgeable about football in general and about their team, and very much involved in Italian team sports.
The San Nicola stadium is outside the city. Access by car is fairly easy, as the stadium has a great parking lot with lots of space. It's clearly signed when you come off the freeway, and parking is only €3 euro.
Access by public transport is provided by the 'linea 20,' from Bari FS station. On match days, the Amtab provides a special shuttle. If you fly in, use Bari airport, which also services low cost carriers. Flights from around Europe are as cheap as €50 euro for a one way ticket.
The standard of football was abominable, but that's not a reason to either like or dislike a venue. The biggest upside of the stadium is the Curva Nord; if you can manage to get tickets, do it. They cost €10 euro plus a transaction fee, and you'll need to bring your passport or another form of ID, while there are reduced prices for women. The area is very lively, effectively standing only, and you'll love it for the experience.
The downsides are the food, and the general lack of interest for Bari football. Expect a bigger turnout during regional rivalry matches, particularly against Lecce. Ticket prices are fair and the food available in the parking lot is nicely priced, as is the beer. All in all it is a good way to spend a lazy Friday or Saturday evening.
There is nothing of interest in the stadium nor around it. There's no availability of tours, nor a statue or fan shop you can visit. The only real plus is the vicinity of Bari's old town, which is considered to be one of the more beautiful cities in Puglia.
If you do decide to go to one of the matches in the southern part of Italy, besides Napoli, Bari is a great option. Tickets are cheap, the atmosphere is good, and while food is not an option it can be had elsewhere (if you can go two hours without eating) and the city is a great option.
If you're thinking about taking a weekend trip, consider visiting nearby Monopoli and Lecce - a beautiful city - for football (Lecce is THE rival of Bari) and the off-the-beaten-track caves of the beach town of Polignano a Mare. If you're thinking of going all out, visit the Trulli's of Alberobello and the pearl that is Locorotondo.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
Vico Corsioli, 2
Bari, Puglia 70122
+39 080 523 6023
Corso Cavour, 12
Bari, Puglia 70122
+39 080 975 2800