Watching a game of football or rugby, or listening to a concert at Rome’s Olympic Stadium (Stadio Olimpico) is an unforgettable experience, although you’ll have to keep your wits about you as crowd trouble is not unheard of.
Throughout the football season (September to May) there’s a game most Sundays involving one of the city’s two teams: A.S. Roma, know as the giallorossi (yellow and reds), or Lazio, the biancazzurri (white and blues).
The 72,689-capacity stadium has been one of Europe’s most impressive sporting venues for over 70 years, hosting the 1960 Olympics and the 1987 IAAF World Championships in Athletics as well as the final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup and those three European Cup finals. Liverpool FC twice became continental champions in Rome, in 1977 and 1984, while Juventus won the 1996 UEFA Champions League at the Olimpico.
The stadium was conceived as the centerpiece of a massive sports complex. The Foro Mussolini, devised under the aegis of Italy’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini and designed by architect Enrico Del Debbio, was opened to the world in 1938. The complex was renamed the Foro Italico after the Second World War, and the stadium was to undergo a major makeover, re-emerging in 1953 and hosting the Olympics in 1960.
The simple but impressive design of the new arena was the work of Annibale Vitellozzi. Based on a series of concentric tiers, coming together to form a huge bowl, the basic logic of that design has remained consistent throughout the Olimpico’s history. The stadium continues to evolve, having undergone a series of seismic changes in preparation for hosting the 1990 World Cup, which West Germany won.
The two ends behind the goal were extended and brought closer to the pitch, and the Tevere and Monte Mario stands were both expanded. A new roof was placed over the lot, while a basement car park, media facilities and hall of honour were also added. The result is pretty much as one sees today, a stadium rooted in classic design, but with the modern touches worthy of a top venue.
Looking for events at Stadio Olimpico? Take a look!
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To go to Olympic Stadium look for Viale dei Gladiatori 2, Foro Italico. Telephone: 0636857520
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