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Worshipping in the House of the Devil


Before the derby on Sunday, I took the opportunity to attend services… er, I mean take the tour of the San Siro. It is like the Mecca of Milan fandom, or at least it was for me. And although I had seen pictures and footage of it many times, nothing prepared me for the religious experience I found there.

The sacred temple of Milan fandom

I had to enter the stadium grounds from the dark side, or Inter’s half of the stadium. And I found it terribly ironic that the Curva Nord part of the stadium was truly filthy, with graffiti everywhere, trash, even some broken glass. I could tell I was nearing the Milan side of the stadium as everything was cleaner and neater.

The famous spiral walkways were not part of the original design

The tour begins at the entrance to the Museum (which I will cover in a future post) which is, of course, located at the south end of the stadium – the clean side-- along with the Milan store. 

Ironically, the Curva Sud seats are blue

Our tour guide, Angelo, explained to us as we went that the stadium had been built in 1926. When we arrived inside the stadium, he pointed out that the original stadium consisted of only the first tier of seating. In 1939, the second tiers were started, being completed in 1955. In 1990, for the World Cup, the third tiers were added on three sides (the fourth side is unable to be completed due to a horse racetrack on that side.) The roof was also added at this time.

The logo comes down from the ceiling to mirror the table in the center

Next we went inside to check out the dressing rooms. I have always heard that Inter’s dressing room was lame compared to Milan’s and it is true. There is nothing special about it. Down the hallway to the Milan dressing room, there is an obvious difference already, as the doors and the floors are all red painted with black.

Great color scheme on the way to the dressing room

As you go inside, there is an oval table in the center of the floor with the Milan logo on top, and a “reflecting” logo coming down from the ceiling. The chairs are like those on the bench where the substitutes sit during matches, and are covered in red and black leather. In fact, I sat in one of the chairs, which I later found out was Abbiati’s chair, how perfect for me! The room gave me a sense of unity and team spirit, even though I was in a room full of strangers. (Now if only it would work for the players, too!)

Beautiful and functional, the drawers pull out for players to put their laundry in

I got to see where the tunnel starts, and on the outside, the actual tunnel as well as the Milan home and away benches.

The tunnel out to the pitch and beyond it, the Milan bench

And of course, the holiest of holy: the brand new pitch. It was absolutely stunning, not even Barca could complain about it.

The center of the new, beautiful pitch

Part of the reason is that there are lamps that are moved around so that every square inch of the pitch gets light at least part of the day every day. And it’s working, it was flawless.

Rows of artificial light keep the grass growing on the new pitch

I also got to see where press conferences are held. I tried to write a note to Allegri to leave there, but I didn’t have enough paper or time to tell him everything I needed to. Also, my Italian simply wasn’t good enough. But that’s okay, he’ll either figure out how to give better press conferences or be looking for a new job soon enough, anyway.

Strangely beautiful yet unique, kind of like our squad this year.

This week they are actually celebrating the stadium’s birthday, so if you are anywhere near Milano, I can’t think of a better time to visit the San Siro, as tickets to the museum and tour are discounted for this special occasion.

One of many murals in and around the San Siro

My time spent in worship in the House of the Devil was a religious experience that I will never forget. To see the pitch, the stadium full of empty seats, the dressing room where our boys prepare for home matches… it was simply heavenly. Now if our boys could only make each match such a religious experience, then maybe everyone could understand the deep convictions I felt as I toured the San Siro.


This post inspired by the music of INXS’ “Devil Inside”