Parma, 14 March 2019 – The Stadio Olimpico, which will host Lazio vs. Parma this Sunday in Serie A TIM, is a stadium rich in history and is the focus of this week’s Stadium Histories column.
FROM THE STADIO DEI CIPRESSI TO THE 1960 OLYMPIC GAMES
With initial plans put forward during the 1920s, the stadium was partially built and inaugurated in 1932 but only consisted of one tier at the time. Further work followed in 1937 but was then disrupted due to the Second World War, when the “Stadio dei Cipressi” was used to hold some of the country’s military equipment.
Construction work resumed during the 1950s as the stadium newly bore the name “Stadio dei Centomila” due to its increased capacity. The ground was reopened to the public in 1953, inaugurated by a match between Italy and Hungary. With the arrival of the Olympic Games in 1960, all standing spots were removed and the capacity was reduced to 65,000. It was then also renamed as the Stadio Olimpico.
THE CURRENT STADIUM
In 1968, the Olimpico hosted the European Championship final, which saw Italy beat Yugoslavia over two games (the first match ended in a draw and penalties weren’t used to decide games at the time). Meanwhile, in 1980, Italy hosted the European Championship, which was won by West Germany. The final was once again played at the Stadio Olimpico.
The stadium underwent further reconstruction for the 1990 World Cup, rebuilt in reinforced concrete and with an added roof. The capacity was increased to 82,000. This World Cup saw the stadium host five of the Azzurri’s fixtures, as well as the final that saw West Germany triumph against Argentina. In hosting the 2009 Champions League final, the stadium’s capacity was reduced to 70,000 and altered to meet UEFA’s standards. As a result of these changes, the Stadio Olimpico is now classified as a UEFA category four stadium.