Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

A. S. Roma's Soccer Field: Soon to be a Parking Lot

Stadio Olimpico, current home of A.S. Roma.  At left,
a few of the 1930s statues that line the Foro Italico
athletic field. 

A.S. Roma is one of two great Rome soccer teams (the other is Lazio).  For many years both teams have played their games at the Stadio Olimpico, originally built as part of Foro Mussolino (now called Foro Italico) in the 1930s, but significantly remodeled for the 1960 Olympic Games.  Recently the new American owner of the team, for reasons unknown to RST, has been pursuing plans for a new stadium for the Roma club, to be built on the outskirts of the city.  Those plans were dashed when the land was sold for yet another big housing project.   Now there's talk of building it in Guidonia, a country town about 25 kilometers northeast of Rome's center, served by a 2-lane road.   We can imagine the Monday morning headline: "Traffico nel Caos" (Traffic in Chaos).   

The stadium where Roma once played, seen from
Monte Testaccio.  Here it still resembles
a soccer field.  In the background, right,
the Pyramid. 
Decades ago the Roma team (generally considered to have a more leftist and working-class fan base, than also Rome-based Lazio, whose fans are generally more upper class and right-wing) played in a small stadium in Testaccio, then a working-class quartiere and home to a massive slaughterhouse, and known to tourists primarily for Monte Testaccio, a substantial hill created two thousand years ago from shattered amphorae, the huge clay jars used to transport oil and wine.  We first saw the old stadium in 2010, from the crest of Monte Testaccio (photo left). 
The same stadium, 2 years later.  The photo was
taken from via Caio Cestio. 

And just last month we walked by the field, now just weeds.  In a year or two, we learned, it will be a parking lot.


This photo, recalling a 5-0 Roma victory over Torino (Turin) powerhouse Juventus in 1931, is in the new Testaccio market,
not far from Roma's old field, where the game likely was played.  The market is another sign of gentrification of the neighborhood.

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