Stadio Olimpico
The Stadio Olimpico is the main and largest sports facility of Rome, Italy. It is located within the Foro Italico sports complex on the north of the city. An asset of the Italian National Olympic Committee, the structure is intended primarily for football. It is the home stadium of Società Sportiva Lazio and Associazione Sportiva Roma and is the venue of the final Coppa Italia, and all athletics, but occasionally hosts concerts of light music and events of various kinds. Throughout its history, it has undergone three substantial restructurings and a complete restyling.

In its first stages, the Stadio Olimpico was called the Stadio dei Cipressi. It was designed and constructed within the larger project of the Foro Mussolini (Mussolini Forum), which was renamed Foro Italico after the war. Construction work began in 1928, under the direction of Turinese engineer Angelo Frisa and architect Enrico Del Debbio, and was finished, after few variations, in 1932. The construction of masonry stands wasn't foreseen, the original stands consisted of grassy terraces.

In 1933, it was decided to extend the stadium stairs and masonry above ground, in order to increase the capacity (35,000 spectators seated, 55,000 spectators standing, and 65,000 in the case of super-capacity). The project was entrusted to the same Frisa, with architect Luigi Moretti Walter and also engineer Achille Pinotello, and ended in 1937. The facility housed gymnastic and sporting events, as well as Fascist gatherings, the most famous of which was during the visit of Adolf Hitler on 7 May 1938. For the occasion, construction of a second tier of stairs was started, but the work was interrupted in 1940 due to the outbreak of the war.

In December 1950, the site was reopened for the completion of the stadium. The project was entrusted to the engineer Carlo Roccatelli, a member of the Superior Council of Public Works. At first, they thought of a stadium with a more complex structure than that actually realised, but the scarcity of funds and the environmental characteristics of the area led to a less ambitious version. On the death of Roccatelli in 1951, the direction of the work was entrusted to architect Annibale Vitellozzi.

During the 1960 Summer Olympics, the stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, and the athletics competitions. The standing sections were removed, reducing capacity to 65,000 spectators. The main feature of the stadium was its surprisingly low elevation from the ground, despite its considerable capacity. The result was achieved by exploiting the natural hollow of the ground. Thanks to these measures, the system was integrated seamlessly with the surrounding environment, providing a very pleasing visual appearance. The seats were originally made of wood, later replaced by others in stone pale green. The main criticism in these years was the poor views from the curva caused by the large distance from the pitch. This was due to the presence of the athletics track and the need to conform to the existing structure.

In view of the 1990 World Cup, which was the Olympic main Stadium, the facility was the subject of an extensive enhancement. The work was entrusted to a team of designers, including the original designer Annibale Vitellozzi. From 1987 to 1990, the plan of action was amended several times, with a consequent rise in costs. Ultimately, Olimpico was entirely demolished and rebuilt in reinforced concrete, with the exception of the Tribuna Tevere. All sectors of the stadium were covered with full coverage in a white tensile structure. Also installed were backless seats in blue plastic, and two giant screens built in 1987 for the World Athletics Championships were also mounted inside the curve. The new version of Olympus surpassed 80,000 posts, and so was the 14th stage in the world for number of seats in the stadiums used for football, the 29th among all the stages and the second in Italy, to just behind the San Siro Stadium of Milan.

In 2007, a vast plan of restyling was undertaken inside the stadium to allow it to conform to UEFA standards, for the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. The work was performed and completed in 2008, having included the establishment of standard structures, with improvements in security, the adjustment of dressing rooms and press room, the complete replacement of the seats, installing high definition LED screens, the partial removal of plexiglas fences between spectators and the field, and a reduction of seats, until the current capacity of 72,698. In order to increase the comfort of the audience, a part of the modernisation of the stadium were the increase of the points of rest and adjustment to a toilet. These actions have allowed the Stadio Olimpico to be classified as UEFA Elite stadium.


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Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator