The atavistic difficulty of building stadiums in Italy. Stadio della Roma could break this curse

Stadio Della Roma
Stadio Della Roma - (Photo by Stadio della Roma)

The construction of the Juventus stadium seemed to be the key moment for a change of route but we were wrong. Italy remains stuck but Stadio della Roma could break this curse.

In a very interesting article written by Renato Boschetti for Pianeta Milan it is mentioned, once more, the atavistic difficulty of building stadiums in Italy. Right after the construction of the Juventus stadium, the fort of the Black-and-White of Turin in which they collected unbelievable records, most of us believed that the situation in the Bel Paese was finally changing for the better. Although there were many hopes, a few years after that moment we can say that we were all wrong.

Nowadays, most of the Italian clubs are wishing to build their own facilities but the Italian bureaucracy seems to be the main issue that is holding up these marvelous projects. Beside the super-modern Juventus stadium, the other stadiums in Italy are old, not attractive, uncomfortable, and becoming obsolete.

Let’s check these projects out in order to better understand the reasons why they are on hold.

AC MILAN (Stadio del Milan)

Barbara Berlusconi presented this project as the creation of AC Milan’s neighborhood. The realization of the stadium in an area called Portello was almost beginning but something suddenly happened. The Red-and Black of Milan were ready to finalize the approval processes to build the stadium. Everything seemed to be in order, Berlusconi struck a deal for the requalification of the halls 1 & 2 of the old Fiera di Milano, the workers were alerted, and the construction was planned step by step. When the excitement of the AC Milan supporters was high a sudden stop froze their hearts. The pressures of neighborhood committees, frightened by the idea of another stadium very close to San Siro, and the exorbitant cost of remediation of the area convinced Berlusconi to step back. Now for the AC Milan fans, the only hope is called Sino-Europe Sports Investments if/when they will be able to finalize the acquisition of the club.

Specifics of the project:

CITY: Milan (Portello area)

CAPACITY: 50,000 seats

COST: €320 million


CAGLIARI (Is-Arenas)

The construction of many stadiums was blocked from the impossible Italian bureaucracy but something else happened in Cagliari, the facility has been demolished!

In the season 2011-12, Cagliari’s former owner Cellino decided to restore the old stadium built in the 80’s. This was the stadium where the Quartu Sant’Elena team played in the Italian Serie C2. Cellino’s project was to renew and increase the capacity of the stadium in order to let Cagliari play in it. The 2012-13 season represents a historic moment for the marvelous Italian island. That was the first and last season played at that stadium. In September 2012, the Prefecture ordered the doors closed for safety reasons and Cellino challenged the Italian institutions pushing Cagliari’s supporters to go to the stadium anyway. After much controversy, delays and matches played on neutral ground in that season, Cellino was also jailed for attempted embezzlement and false ideology. Right after he was released, Cellino decided to abandon not only the new stadium but also the club.

Specifics of the project:

CITY: Cagliari

CAPACITY: 16,500 seats

COST: €5 million

PROJECT DATE: 2012 (Demolished in 2013)

LAZIO (Stadio delle Aquile)

Olimpico stadium of Rome
Olimpico stadium of Rome
In 2005, Claudio Lotito, Lazio-owner lodged a futuristic project of a stadium. The facility would have to occur in the North area of Rome, but the location was a cause of discussion with the Municipality of Rome. The project was pharaonic. A stadium with 53,000 seats, an area of 40 hectares with parking, covered by photovoltaic panels.
A true city of sports that would have been developed on 28 hectares and independent from an energy point of view.

Specifics of the project:

CITY: Rome

CAPACITY: 53,000 seats



NAPOLI (Nuovo San Paolo)

According to Napoli-owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, the actual San Paolo stadium is not functional and good for a football show. Due to the higher ambitions of the club and to the participation in the UEFA Champions League, Napoli’s president is seriously thinking about a restyling of the facility that would be positively accepted by UEFA as well.

The initial work will focus on the team’s area of reception and on the locker rooms, where it should be built, according to plans, a whole tactic area complete with blackboards and a historical gallery with Napoli’s trophies. The press box and the sprinkler system will be modernized as well.

The architectural barriers will be torn down and a shed will be built. Next spring the renovation should begin and it should end before the new season.

Specifics of the project:

CITY: Naples

CAPACITY: 53,000 seats

COST: €1.4 million


AS ROMA (Stadio della Roma)

Stadio Della Roma
Stadio Della Roma – (Photo by Stadio della Roma)

This is going to be the most ambitious project for the city of Rome. Something planned and hopefully developed in a perfect American style. It was presented in 2014 complete with a futuristic set design, renderings, and audio-video playback like a Hollywood movie.

According to the plan mentioned on a dedicated website called, the facility should be made with 52,500 seats (expandable to 60,000 seats) and a new training center will be built. The whole project will requalify an entire quadrant of Rome (Tor di Valle) that is ravaged at this time.

Although James Pallotta’s project seemed to be marvelous, it was presented in a serious period of crisis for the Municipality of Rome that changed three mayors since 2012, the date when rumors about the project popped up. In February 2017, the current mayor Virginia Raggi finally gave the green light to the construction of the Stadio della Roma even if other urban planning and political issues are yet to be resolved.

Specifics of the project:

CITY: Rome (Tor di Valle area)

CAPACITY: 52,500 seats

COST: €400 million for the stadium + €1 billion for public works



It seems to be clear that there is an atavistic difficulty in building stadiums in Italy. Stadio della Roma seems to be the project that could break this curse. The recent deal that James Pallotta and his collaborators struck with the mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi was a pivotal moment in the history of the city and of the club.

ASRoma360 reported the word of the AS Roma president here!

ASRoma360 also reported Pallotta’s view if the Stadio della Roma was going to be rejected here!

Although the Italian clubs are trying to upgrade their facilities to earn more revenues and to be more competitive Italy doesn’t seem to be ready yet because it still pampers its problems!



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About Stefano Bernardini 4043 Articles
A Roman between New York, Philadelphia, and Rome achieving his dreams. Persistence can make extraordinary things happen. Editor of AS ROMA 360 | Collaborated with & Calcio e Finanza | Reported on Major League Soccer | Featured on Bleacher Report & OneFootball EN.

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