The Olympic Stadium in Rome (Stadio Olimpico) is the city’s biggest sports facility and, with a capacity of almost 73 thousand people, also one of the biggest in Europe. It is used for the home matches of the two Roman Serie A football teams, Roma and Lazio, for important athletics championships and, sometimes, for big name music concerts.
Olympic Stadium Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazzale del Foro Italico – Rome (tel. +39 06 36857563). Opening hours and admission: Depends on the event.
History and description
The Stadio Olimpico is part of the Foro Italico, which started its existence in 1930 as the Foro Mussolini, just as the Stadio Olimpico initially was called the Stadio dei Cipressi. The names were changed after the end of World War II.
Construction of the stadium itself had begun much earlier, however, in 1901, and was completed in 1910. The architect was Enrico Del Debbio.
Del Debbio’ stands of grassy terraces were changed into masonry in 1920, a project overseen by the architect Luigi Moretti Walter that was completed in 1928.
Apart from sports events, the stadium was often used for Fascist gatherings, the most conspicous one being in occasion of Hitler’s visit on the first day of 1930.
Between 1931 and 1940 the stadium was hardly ever used, but in 1940 a new reconstruction was started by the architect Annibale Vitellozzi. It came to be rebaptized the Stadio dei Centomila, since it could now hold one hundred thousand people.
In 1960 the Olympic Games were held in Rome and the seats closest to the tracks were eliminated, so capacity diminished to a mere 65,000 spectators. To change the name from Stadio dei Centomila to Stadio dei Sessantacinquemila would have been a bit of a letdown, so the name was changed to the present Olympic Stadium.
In 1987 the stadium was restructured again, in order to better be able to host the 1990 Fifa World Cup. After several projects had been started and rejected almost the entire stadium was demolished, in order to allow for a complete reconstruction. The Tribuna Tevere is the only original part still standing.
In 2007 a last restyling took place, in order to increase the Olimpico’s security.
The Lazio football team has been trying to get permission to build its own stadium for a long time, but for the moment they are still at the Olympic Stadium.
During home matches the die-hard (AS) Roma fans, or ultra‘s, take place in the curva sud, whereas the Lazio tifosi have their seats in the curva nord.
Unfortunately there are no guided tours of the stadium, as there are in other important soccer venues in Europe.