Football is Italy’s sporting passion, but in recent years rugby has been carving out its own little niche.
The Six Nations tournament sees some high-profile international rugby matches in Rome, and a flood of rugby-loving tourists. For a weekend Rome seems to be packed with Scots in kilts or with English rugby shirts. The atmosphere is jovial, and the outing is a popular family event. Although few Italians know much about the game, the size of the stadium is the only thing preventing a much larger crowd of away fans.
Since 2012 Italy have played their Six Nations matches at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome’s big football venue. Previously rugby matches were held at the Stadio Flaminio, a smaller stadium nearby. There were plans for the move to be temporary while the Stadio Flaminio was refurbished, but more recent news suggests the men’s national team will continue to play at the Olimpico. More information about the Stadio Olimpico and directions for reaching the stadium can be found on the football page, and basic directions are included below. Directions to the Stadio Flaminio are also included, in case matches eventually move back to their earlier home.
Visiting nations are given an allocation of tickets which can be obtained through their national rugby federation. Tickets can also be purchased from the Italian Rugby Federation, through commercial websites, and for 2018 these were available from Ticketone: 2018 Italy 6 Nations rugby tickets. Conveniently, you can print your own tickets.
Six Nations 2024
Rome fixtures 2024:
3rd February – Italy vs England
9th March – Italy vs Scotland
Along the way you’ll notice that enterprising Italians set up temporary bars near the stadium to cater for their visitors’ baffling thirst. Although British-style public drinking is really not socially acceptable in Italy, you may find a certain degree of tolerance towards polite visiting rugby fans (kilted Scots go down particularly well in Rome, especially if they bring bagpipes). Visitors should always bear in mind that they’re guests in Italy, and act accordingly. Of course this doesn’t just go for rugby fans.
If you’re in Rome for a sporting weekend, it’s worth considering joining many of your fellow fans and coming to a soccer game at the Stadio Olimpico for an extra dose of passion. On rugby weekends there are usually clusters of overseas fans at Lazio or Roma matches, warmly welcomed by the rest of the stadium (as mentioned before, bagpipes are exceptionally popular and I’ve seen the whole Olimpico applaud an enterprising and musical bunch of Scottish rugby enthusiasts).
Stadio Olimpico directions
The Stadio Olimpico is a short distance to the north of central Rome, by the Tiber river. The nearest Metro station is Flaminio (Linea A). To reach the stadium by public transport, the best method is to catch tram number 2 at Piazzale Flaminio. This is outside Flaminio station, and very close to Piazza del Popolo, which you may have visited while sightseeing. From Piazza del Popolo, walk through the large stone gateway and cross the wide road ahead. Trams depart from the beginning of Via Flaminia, opposite. The trams are frequent, and it is only a short journey until your destination, the terminus at Piazza Mancini. From the tram terminus, follow the crowds of sports fans through a small park to the Lungotevere, the road bordering the Tiber river. Cross the road and the bridge. The stadium lies straight ahead along a wide avenue. Catch the tram in the same piazza to return to central Rome after the match.
Stadio Flaminio directions
Not far from the larger Stadio Olimpico, the Flaminio stadium is easily reached from the centre of Rome. The nearest Metro station is Flaminio (Linea A). From here just head straight up the Via Flaminia. After about twenty minutes the stadium, with its distinctive curving sides, is visible on the right. If you’d rather not walk, take tram number two from Flaminio, opposite the gateway leading into Piazza del Popolo. The tram stops by the stadium.
Hotels for the rugby in Rome
Since the Stadio Flaminio is close to the centre of Rome, and the Olimpico is not much further away, there is no real need to stay near either stadium. However, if you would like the convenience of a hotel within a short walk or tram ride of the match venue, you could consider the Hotel Villa Glori, a decent four-star hotel literally minutes away from the Stadio Flaminio (walk or catch the tram to the Olimpico). A convenient B&B option is the Maison Flaminio, which is only a short walk from the Stadio Olimpico.
A practical hotel base for visiting rugby fans would be the Piazza del Popolo area of the centre. This is an attractive location, convenient for the shops along Via del Corso and a walk, bus or Metro ride from Rome’s main attractions. To reach the Stadio Flaminio, you can simply walk or catch a tram along the Via Flaminia. For the Olimpico, take the tram. In this area, you could try the stylish Casa Montani, a small boutique B&B in Piazzale Flaminio, River Palace Hotel at the start of Via Flaminia or Hotel Manfredi, further away, between Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps.
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