Plan ahead: Italian football

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The Independent Online
Interest in Italian football has never been greater in this country with three England internationals - Paul Gascoigne (Lazio), David Platt (Juventus) and Des Walker (Sampdoria) - plying their trade in Serie A and Channel 4 showing a match live every week.

For those who want to get closer to the action than their living rooms there is plenty of opportunity to see matches in Italy. In January, Gascoigne, Walker and Platt will all be in direct opposition to each other. On 10 January Sampdoria entertain Juventus and on successive weekends Lazio are at home to Juventus (24 Jan) and Sampdoria (31 Jan).

To obtain tickets in advance it is best to write to the clubs and only fluent Italian speakers are advised to telephone. Most clubs require cash or Italian cheques by way of payment.

For most clubs tickets can be obtained on the day of matches, although it is advisable to book in advance for the major games. Lazio play at the Olympic stadium in Rome which has a capacity of 85,000. Tickets start at 25,000L (pounds 12) and range in price to 130,000L. At Juventus, who play at the Delle Alpi Stadium with a capacity of 70,333, the cheapest seats are 20,000L with prices rising to 180,000L for VIP tickets.

Sampdoria play at the compact Luigi Ferraris Stadium, the ground they share with Genoa and which was built for the 1990 World Cup. Lowest-priced tickets at Sampdoria are 30,000L, with the highest costing 100,000L. At Milan, who play at the San Siro stadium which holds 80,000, tickets starts at 23,000L with a highest price of 200,000L.

Italiatour offers a range of packages to Turin, Milan, Rome and other major centres and will obtain tickets for Serie A matches on request. British Airways and Alitalia run regular daily flights to Rome, Turin and Milan. BA has one daily flight to and from Genoa, although it is subject to restrictions of a minimum stay of three days or a Saturday night. Pilgrim Air is a specialist in cheap travel to Italy.

Genoa is one and a half hours by train or car from Pisa and Milan. Train services between Milan, Rome and Turin are frequent with one fast train every hour except for the midday period. A first-class single costs around pounds 19 and a second-class single pounds 11.

Lazio Societa Sportiva, Via Margutta 54, 00187 Roma. Tel: 010-39-6-6781843. Ticket office 6- 373733 or 732.

Milan Associazione Calcio, Via Turati 3, 20121 Milano. Tel: 010-39-2-782590 or 2-782768.

Juventus FC, Via Cavour 30, 10128 Torino. Tel: 101-39-11-65631.

Sampdoria Unione Calcio, Via XX Settembre 33, 16121 Genoa. Tel: 010-39-10-585343.

Italiatour Limited, 241 Euston Road, London. NW1 2BU. Reservations: 071-383 3886.

Pilgrim Air, Air Travel Group, 227 Shepherd's Bush Road, London W6. Tel: 081-748 1333.