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Official Review by Stefano Romagnoli, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Stadio Silvio Piola is the main facility for football in Vercelli, a small town in Piedmont, Italy. The town is located about 65 km away from Turin and about 60 km from Milan.
The stadium is dedicated to a player who was a world champion in 1938 and holder of numerous records in Italy including number of goals scored in Serie A (274), number of goals scored in a single match of Serie A (6), and the top scorer in Serie A with the jerseys of Lazio, Novara and Pro Vercelli.
Silvio Piola began his career in the main Italian football league in the white jersey of Pro Vercelli. Therefore the system built in 1932 and originally named after the aviation hero, Leonida Robbiano was re-dedicated to Silvio Piola in December 1997 “in memory of his sporting achievements in national and international field,” as explained by a plaque next to the grandstand.
The FC Pro Vercelli can be counted among those teams that have promoted the spread of football in Italy. In the early twentieth century the club was one of the more famous. The club was able to win the title of Italian championship seven times in 15 years. The first came in 1908, and the last in 1922. Currently FC Pro Vercelli plays in Serie B, the second tier of Italian football.
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".
Inside the Piola are four dining options, three are reserved for the local fans, and one is at the disposal of guest supporters.
The menu of sandwiches, bottled water, and coffee costs 5 euro. Fans can also buy sweets or salty snacks, as well as other hot and cold drinks.
Outside the facility, there are the classic peddlers and some cafes. The stadium is located in the center of Vercelli and it is easy to reach pizzerias, restaurants, and a market within a few minutes walk. Best to wait until after the game to fill your belly.
The stadium was built in 1932, and was recently renovated in the months before the football seasons in 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and finally in the summer of 2015.
The work has affected all sectors of the Piola and the playing field (the natural grass was replaced by a synthetic grass).
In Tribuna Coperta, the seats are white, black and red, and form the word and logo "FC Pro Vercelli." In this area of the stadium there is also the Press Tribune dedicated to sports journalist Francesco Leale.
Under the covered grandstand is the Gradinata Sud.
On the other long side of the field there is the Gradinata Nord where seats of black and white spell out the year 1892, the date when the club was founded.
Behind the Curva Ovest, occupied by the warmest fans, there is a billboard reminding fans of the seven league titles won by FC Pro Vercelli, Silvio Piola and other excellent players of the city.
The Curva Est, the least roomy sector of the stadium, is reserved for the guest supporters. In total the Stadio Silvio Piola seats 5,500.
There is excellent visibility from every sector of the stadium with a playing field at a maximum of about ten meters away.
On either side of the doors, between the advertising signs, there are two electronic timers to indicate the playing time.
The Stadio Silvio Piola is located in the city center of Vercelli. Around the stadium grounds there are low buildings and numerous activities within easy walking distance including cafes, clothing shops, markets, pizzerias, ice cream parlors and so on.
Also behind the Gradinata Nord there is the Park Pietro Camana. It is a nice place to relax if you have time before or after the match.
The strongest supporters of FC Pro Vercelli follow the games from Curva Ovest. The colors that dominate this stadium segment are white and black jerseys, flags, and scarves.
The main rivalry is with the fans and the team of the nearby Novara, and competition between the two clubs take the nickname of the "derby of rice" because this area of Piedmont is considered the European capital for rice.
Also noteworthy is the "derby del Piemonte orientale" between Pro Vercelli and Casale.
Reaching the Stadio Silvio Piola once you are in Vercelli is really simple.
If you arrive by car, my advice is to park near the central station and walk along Viale Garibaldi.
If you arrive in Vercelli by train, although the town is in Piemonte, you should use the high speed trains up to Milan and from the capital of Lombardy to take a local train to Vercelli.
You can buy tickets to attend home games of the FC Pro Vercelli through some retailers in the city, and online from the official website of the club.
Prices vary according to the sectors of the stadium. A place in the Curva Est costs 12 euro, while in the Tribuna Coperta Centrale can rise in price up to 72 euro.
On the club's website you will be able to find any discounts and/or initiatives.
The Basilica of Sant'Andrea, the Church of San Cristoforo, the Borgogna Museum are just some of the great places to visit while you are in Vercelli.
Vercelli is within easy reach from Turin (famous for the Mole Antonelliana and the Egyptian Museum) and Milan (with its streets dedicated to high fashion).
The local cuisine that you should be sure to try is called "panissa," a risotto that is cooked only in this corner of Piedmont. Food enthusiasts should also look for the "tartufata," a cake made of chocolate and cream. Finally, the don't miss the chance to have "bicciolani," biscuits with spices.
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Piazza Roma, 35
Vercelli, Italy 13100
+39 0161 502460
Via S. Cristoforo, 5
Vercelli, Italy 13100
+39 0161 210961
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