Stadium Hop #7 – Stadio Renzo Barbera
Stadium Name & Club: Stadio Renzo Barbera
Team: S.S.D. Palermo
League: Serie D Group I
Nickname: I Rosanero (The Pink and Blacks) – Le Aquile (The Eagles)
Colours: Pink and Black
Stadium Capacity: 36,349
2018/2019 Serie B Final Day
Date: 11th May 2019
Teams: US CITTÀ DI PALERMO vs CITTADELLA | 2-2
Competition: Serie B
An Overview of S.S.D. Palermo
The name S.S.D. Palermo is rather fresh to the Sicilian football club, given to it in July 2019 after the club being admitted all the way down to Serie D. Major financial issues led Palermo to lose all hopes of being promoted to Italy’s highest division. This is despite ending the 2018/2019 season 3rd place in Serie B with 63 points.
Prior to these mishaps, Palermo was one of the Serie A’s dark horses. The team was full of excitement, ready to upset the big boys despite never winning the title themselves. Actually, they did – but this was way back in 1929-1930 season when it was called the Prima Divisione. The club made 5 appearances in the Europa League, reaching the round of 16 stages in the 2005/2006 season. Looking back at their history is fascinating, especially when considering all the star players the club had under its belt. Where would the below squad finish in the Serie A should they all be still there nowadays?
Things started looking bad a good while ago, while many supporters seem to point their fingers at their previous owner Maurizio Zamparini. Palermo’s previous owner seems to have had a thing for managers, but sadly not in a good way. During the 2015/2016 season, Palermo had 9… yes 9 managers! Eventually, Zamparini resigned from his role and sold the club for the symbolic figure of €10 in 2019. This was the same year they eventually got disqualified and the team declared bankrupt.
A phoenix club was set in preparation to compete in the 2019/2020 Serie D campaign, and all players (aside from centre back Andrea Accardi) took off to other teams playing in higher reputable leagues.
26 games into the season at the time of writing and Palermo are topping the Serie D table with 63 points. Could this be another one of football’s comeback stories?
Palermo’s fans have got to be one of the most loyal in football. We were lucky to attend the last game Palermo played in Serie B, still with a theoretical chance to challenge for promotion to Serie A. Albeit most of them knowing about the financial irregularities and how the club could end up in a few days time, they still brought their full support to the team and filled 28,351 seats against Cittadella. That’s not it, as 4 months later S.S.D. Palermo plays its first home game in Serie D against San Tommaso while breaking the all-time Serie D attendance record of around 17,000 people.
The S.S.D. Palermo Stadium – Stadio Renzo Barbera
Stadio Renzo Barbera opened its doors back in 1932 during the fascist era, under the name Stadio Littorio. Other names the venue had along the way were Stadio Michele Marrone and La Favorita.
During the 1990 World Cup, the stadium hosted three group stage matches. Then, in 2002 it was renamed Stadio Renzo Barbera. The name came in honour of a guy nicknamed the Presidentissimo, a former Palermo president who died earlier during that year.
The Palermo stadium is certainly one of older stadiums, and is very short of the modern touch. There were plans for a new stadium for the Sicilian club, although now they might have taken a step back after the club was relegated to Serie D.
Getting to the S.S.D Palermo Stadium
The stadium is located not that far from the Palermo city centre, and is connected to there via bus line 101. Going to the stadium shouldn’t be a hassle, especially if you get there a bit earlier. However, going back can be rather challenging as on match days, the roads are generally jam-packed.
Coming in by car requires some pre-planning, especially because of the ZTL zone found in the centre of the city. Basically, this is a prohibited area to drive through without a specific permit. Such zone is also found in Catania, and are always warned by the sign shown on the right. As you can imagine, it’s very easy to just drive past that, especially if not aware of the regulations. The safest way to go about this would be to park the car at this parking area, close to the ZTL zone and then take off either by foot or by public transport.
Just before the Stadium Hop…
If you come in by train, or else decide to park the car at the parking specified, be sure to check out the Ballaro Market – just a few steps away from the Central Train Station. This is the oldest food market in Palermo, one of the most lively and authentic in Sicily. The atmosphere is so active and energetic, with merchants singing and shouting all the way through the day. It’s situated in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Palermo, and luckily for the budget traveller – the prices are still cheap and in line with what the locals afford to pay.
Hottest Games to Attend at the Stadio Renzo Barbera
Well, this section would be much easier to address back in 2013 – when Palermo and Catania both played together in the same football league. It’s called the Derby di Sicilia, and the fierce rivalry comes from being the two main cities on the island. The last match was played in 2013, when both clubs competed in the Serie A.
Calcio Catania has also had their troubles as a club, but these came because of match fixing incidents pointing at the 2014/2015 season. The club was relegated to the Lega Pro (Serie C), which they still find themselves there now.
Luckily, we could soon see a return to this classic derby next year, that is if Palermo manages to clinch promotion to the Serie C, while Calcio Catania fails to progress to Serie B from their end. What a classic that would be, after a period of 8 whole years!
Match Tickets and Where to Sit at the Stadio Renzo Barbera?
One can obtain the tickets through the S.S.D. Palermo official website, or else from one of the various outlets scattered around the city.
The whole stadium is uncovered from all the elements of mother nature, with the exception of the Tribuna Nord. Should you want to experience the game with the most enthusiast of the ultras, get a €5 ticket at the upper area of the Curva Nord. This price applies for both this stand and the one directly opposite and was brought forward for their first season in Serie D. Should they continue to climb the league ladders, obviously prices are expected to increase. Looking back at the time in Serie B, the same ticket costed around €25.
The S.S.D Palermo Fan Shop
Besides the convenience of their online shop, the club operates a lovely store within the city centre, situated at Via Maqueda, 397, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy. It’s within walking distance to the Ballaro Market and in a very beautiful central area of the city. Apart from all the football apparel, they sell S.S.D Palermo themed cannoli – so you better visit with an appetite, just sayin!