Stadio Olimpico: A stadium guide of the historic ground ahead of Italy v Ireland
After a fallow week, the Six Nations returns on Saturday and sees the ever-improving Italy host a rampant Ireland side who are favourites to push on and claim the Grand Slam.
The Azzurri host the game in a very historic stadium in football circles and increasingly so in the rugby fraternity, the Stadio Olimpico.
In light of the clash at the famous ground, Planet Rugby takes a deeper look into what makes the Stadio Olimpico such a special ground.
The stadium’s construction began in 1928, and the ground was intended to be the focal point of the Foro Italia sports complex during Benito Mussolini’s regime.
However, due to the breakout of the Second World War, the stadium was only officially opened on May 17, 1953 for a football match between Italy and Hungary with a 100,000 capacity at the time due to the terrace structure.
Fast forward to the 1960 Olympics, and 53,000 seats had been installed for the hosting of the games.
The ground’s capacity would increase to 74,000 for the 1990 FIFA World Cup with changes to the roof and the stands were brought closer to the field. The stadium would undergo one more refurbishment in 2007, including replacing all the seats.
Famous events hosted
The Stadio Olimpico has hosted some of the most prestigious sports tournaments, including the European Cup Final on two occasions (1977, 1984), UEFA Champions League Final in 1996, and the 1990 FIFA World Cup, as well as the European Athletics Championships in 1974.
From a rugby standpoint, there is less history to speak of for now, with Italy certainly on the rise in the global game. 2013 was a particularly good year for the side as they beat France for the second time ever and the first time in the Stadio Olimpico. That same year, the Azzurri also triumphed over Ireland for the first time ever in the Six Nations.
The Stadio Olimpico is shared by Serie A sides AS Roma and S.S Lazio for their home games.
The ground is used to host the Coppa Italia final.
The stadium will be used for the 2024 European Athletics Championships.
READ MORE: Six Nations: Five storylines to watch ahead of Round Three as Wales and England clash after fraught week
The article Stadio Olimpico: A stadium guide of the historic ground ahead of Italy v Ireland appeared first on Planetrugby.com.