San Siro is one of the world’s most famous grounds, home to both Inter and AC Milan. As it approaches its 100th year, photographer Alex Amorós pays homage to the iconic stadium, the streets that surround it, and it’s significance to the people of Milan.
His pictures preserve San Siro’s place In Italy’s football history and to illustrate the relationship between San Siro ‘The Stadium’ and San Siro ‘The District’.
Whilst its future is uncertain, for now the Stadio San Siro remains as a towering beacon of hope and expectation where dreams come true and legends are made.
It is the fans of both AC and Inter Milan who continue to call their shared ground simply San Siro, the name of the district in which its it forms the focal centrepiece.
Originally the Nuovo Stadio Calcistico San Siro (San Siro New Football Stadium), it was then retitled Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in 1980 in honour of Inter’s all time top scorer.
Forza San Siro | Alex Amorós
A photo documentary by Alex Amorós on San Siro, home to both AC and Inter Milan.
A limited edition A5 zine containing 38 colour photographs across 30 pages.
But the name San Siro stuck and for the devoted fans of both of Milan’s giants of Italian and European football it represents everything they hold dear.
“Eternal love”, pledge the supporters of AC. “You can feel the energy and emotion. It is tangible,” enthuse Inter.
They each claim opposite ends of the ground as their own: Curva Sud, the southern curve, is home to AC Milan, Curva Nord is all about Inter, and their fierce rivalry is epitomised by the inaugural fixture that opened the ground in September, 1926, a nine goal derby thriller in front of 35,000 spectators that Inter won 6-3.
AC Milan might have been beaten, but the ground was then their home alone for the first 20 years until Inter took up residency as tenants in 1947 and have been there ever since, capacity attendances now at 80,000.
The fans may remain fiercely independent of each other, and there have been some equally loyal long serving players, the likes of Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi for AC and Javier Zanetti for Inter.
But other high profile players, and big name managers, have shared their loyalties. Giovanni Trappattoni managed both, as well as the Italian national side, and Juventus, and is regarded as the most successful Italian manager of all time, while players who turned out for AC and Inter include Roberto Baggio, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Christian Vieri, Patrick Viera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo, the brilliant Brazilian version.
The San Siro has played its part, too, on the international front, hosting three games at the 1934 FIFA World Cup, six at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, three at the Euros in 1980, and four European Cup finals, in 1965, 1970, 2001 and 2016.
Small wonder Amoros was in awe of his surroundings as he put together his own tribute to the legendary ground, and the district of San Siro in general.
“The San Siro stadium has been a mythical place for football fans worldwide,” he said.
“I remember epic matches from the Serie A, World or European Cups. Sacchi’s Milan, Mourinihos’s Inter, the 90’s World Cup in Italy.
“But the main reason for these photographs is to show the link between the district and the stadium,” he said.
Andrea Borghesi is an AC Milan fan and knows all about the importance of the role the club, and the stadium, in the lives of the supporters.
“The relationship of AC Milan fans (also called Cacciavit), who historically represent the popular classes of Milan, with the San Siro is one of eternal love,” says Borghesi. “But only for the south curve of San Siro which is the place where Milan fans have always been.
“The first ring of this curve and the second are magical for us AC Milan fans, here the first organised groups of fans were born: Fossa dei Leoni, Brigate Rossonere and Commandos Tigre were the main ones. Today they no longer exist and in their place there is a single group called “Curva Sud”.
“Near this part of the stadium in the 90s until the early 2000s there was a beer hall where the fans met before the match or when we played at home we were at the “Baretto” which is still today near the Curva Nord of San Siro where the supporters of the Internazionale FC are usually stationed.
“The history of Milan’s great successes of the 90s and 2000s is linked to this San Siro, which was renovated for the 1990 World Cup. Before 1990, the San Siro stadium was very different because it was made up of only two rings (today there are three), but above all it was characterized by the presence of the “Parterre”, a fenced part that surrounded the playing field from where you could see and hear the team play up close.”
Inter Milan fan Federica Gelpi naturally sees all things San Siro from an Internazionale perspective, declaring: “I am from Milano and for me the San Siro stadium, first of all, means INTER.
“The energy that you feel every time you drive past the stadium, or on foot, is tangible. From the first moment you walk through the gates you feel an emotion that infects all and it does not matter if it is raining or the sun is shining, seeing a match at ‘La Scala del Calcio’ (The theatre of football) is unique!
“The last game that I watched was with my fiancé, we were high up above the third ring of the ‘Curva Nord’. Every time that Inter scored, we could hear an indescribable roar and felt like we were on the field with the players.
“San Siro, however, also reminds me of my adolescence and of when I was around 20-25 years old. Every summer it was the meeting point with my friends at our beloved Chiringuito.
“Being able to be in company, listening to music in the “shadow” of the stadium has always been fascinating. Every Milanese and every TIFOSO ought to go to San Siro at least once in their life!”
If you enjoyed that you may also like Andy Barrow’s stunning black and white photographs of the San Siro.