After a 19-year absence, Venezia FC are set to return to Serie A, and that also means the return of a totally different match day experience as players and fans alike hop off a boat to visit 'Stadio Pierluigi Penzo' – one of the most unique football stadiums on the planet.

Venezia FC are one of the most exciting and characteristic teams around, from the creative and a cultural paradise that they call home to their bespoke kits, which arrive full of flavour and sans sponsor. As if to epitomise the very independent nature of this club, they won promotion to Serie A in the only way that they know how: with guts and bravado in what was one hell of a show. A man down following a red card, a goal down on the night which left the tie finely balanced at 1-1, and then the ultimate showstopper, when Riccardo Bocalon dinked the ball passed the despairing keeper in the 94th minute. Virtually the last kick of the game. Cue rapturous scenes and an outpouring of emotion 19 years in the making. You couldn’t write this stuff. 


And so it is that the Stadio Pierluigi Penzo will once again host some of the biggest teams from Europe. Located on the far south-eastern tip of the main island group the stadium is criminally hidden from the millions of visitors to Venice each year – you'd be forgiven for even knowing the island has a stadium and a football team, let alone what is now a top tier side. The ground couldn't be any further away from the only train station in Venice and as with anywhere in this unique city, the stadium is only accessible via boat or on foot. Yep, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo et al. rocking up to the game in a boat. 

The stadium itself is a remarkable piece of sporting architecture. Originally constructed from wood a year before the First World War began, and surrounded by water on three of its four sides, it stands as a perfect embodiment of Venice. It will be the smallest in Serie A, with a capacity of a mere 7,450. Quaint just doesn’t do it justice.

Just a ten minute boat journey and walk through wooded parks from the Piazza San Marco centre, Venezia FC is real Venice and acts as a hub for the locals. With the spotlight that Serie A action will bring, this is a club that could blossom on a worldwide scene – but there's a charming likability about the fact that this historic club is so low key.

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The Stadio Pierluigi Penzo was first opened in 1913 and is named after World War I pilot Pierluigi Penzo. It's the second-oldest stadium in Italy (the oldest being Genoa's Stadio Luigi Ferraris).

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The record attendance at the stadium was 26,000 was for a 1966 Serie A match against A.C. Milan. The current capacity is 7,450.

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Photography by Giacomo Cosua for SoccerBible.