Few sporting stadiums in the world boast such a rich history as Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, which will add to its list of hosting iconic events this summer with four Euro games scheduled to take place on its hallowed turf.
There has been a stadium on the site of the Stadio Olimpico since 1932. The ground was initially called the Stadio dei Cipressi and was expanded and improved by the 1950s to house up to 100,000 spectators. Having been primarily an all-purpose sporting facility, the stadium was the perfect venue for Italy to stage the Olympics in 1960, and thus it was renamed the Stadio Olimpico.
Since that summer the stadium has become Italy’s most iconic sporting venue – the place where European Championships, World Cups and Athletics World Championships have been contested. The Stadio Olimpico hosted the Euros final in both 1968 and 1980, the World Cup final in 1990 and the European Cup/Champions League final on four separate occasions. In 2007 it underwent a major restyling project in order to be fit for the 2009 Champions League final, for which it was named of the UEFA’s ‘Elite’ stadiums.
The Stadio Olimpico is famed for the Curva Sud and Curva Nord, which form the home ends of Serie A club sides Roma and Lazio respectively. The two capital clubs have been tenants in the Stadio Olimpico since 1953 and have overseen development projects to the ground down the decades, including the installation of a roof. Elton John, Tina Turner, Madonna, George Michael and Beyonce have all played music gigs at the ground, which is now also the home of Italy’s national rugby team.
This summer the 70,000-seater Stadio Olimpico plays host to four Euros fixtures. Italy will play all three of their Group A games in Rome, starting with the opening match of the tournament against Turkey on 11 June. Clashes with Switzerland and Wales will follow, while the Stadio Olimpico will also host a Euros quarter-final, which could see England take on Spain.
Italian authorities have confirmed to UEFA that they will permit a minimum 25% capacity for games at the Stadio Olimpico this summer. It is therefore hoped at least 17,500 fans will be able to attend each fixture. However, organisers are hopeful that they will be able to expand that capacity as the tournament progresses.