Stadio Olimpico – Rome
Location: Via Foro Italico, Roma
Sitting on the outskirts of the Capital, the Stadio Olimpico is one of the most famous stadiums in Italy, and in common Italian fashion, plays host to two sides, Lazio and Roma.
The Olimpico was originally called the Stadio Del Cipressi, and was finished, with a few variations in 1910.
It was opened to the public in 1930, and under Mussolini’s rule, played host tonumerous Fascist gatherings, notably the visit of Adolf Hitler on New Years Day in 1930.
More construction took place in 1940, but was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.
It was reopened in 1950, under the name of the Stadio dei Centomilla.
It was renamed the Olimpico in 1960, as Rome hosted the Olympic games that year, and has retained its title since.
It was once again refurbished in 1990 for the World Cup that Italy hosted, including installing a giant TV screen and moving the curves closer to the pitch.
Work was once again done in 2008, in compliance with new Uefa Regulations, including improved security and adjustments to the dressing rooms.
The Olimpico has been the backdrop to many a historic game, including the 1990 World Cup, the 2009 Champions League final and the 1960 Olimpics.
The Gentleman Ultra says…
This stadium is Rome’s second Coliseum. Since its construction in 1910 it has been a venue for all manner of events, from fascist rallies and Olympic Games to World Cup Finals. Primarily it is home to arguably the fiercest football rivalry in world football and one of the most passionate derby games on the planet, the Rome derby.
The stadium itself has had many facelifts, most notably in 1960 when it was transformed to host the Olympic Games and again in 1990 when the stadium was almost entirely rebuilt was for the World Cup Finals. In 2008 changes were again made to bring the stadium up to allow it to be classified as one of UEFA’s elite.
This makes the venue perfect for the explosive Derby della Capitale in which Roma and Lazio fight it out over the pride of the city. It is more important for many fans for their team to win the derby rather than the Scudetto. The derby involves fireworks, choreographed flag movements and an intense noise level.
However, it has also been the scene of violence, racism and extreme Ultra Groups such as Lazio’s infamous Banda Noantri and Roma’s legendary Boys Roma.
During the rest of the season these groups ensure that the stadium is still an intimidating place to go for away teams, but they are constantly struggling against low attendances in their vast arena. In 2010/11 Roma averaged an attendance of 33,952 whilst Lazio only managed 29,122.