Stadium with a 70-meter tower – ACF Fiorentina

Florence - Artemio FranchiFlorence - Artemio Franchi 29.02.2016: Today we will be visiting a country devoted to football, but which is, however, beginning to lag behind, and not only with regard to football stadiums. As the headline indicates, we will take a closer look at the stadium of ACF Fiorentina, called Artemio Franchi. Most football fans are now aware of the fact that the Italian Serie A is not as good a competition as it used to be, and that there are better competitions, with higher quality games and more elegant stadiums – e.g. the German Bundesliga, undoubtedly one of the best football leagues in Europe, ergo in the whole world.

But now let’s get back to the Artemio Franchi stadium, which was opened in 1931 on the occasion of a match against Admira Vienna, a team from Austria. In accordance with the wishes of the then sports manager of Fiorentina the stadium was built in the Campo di Marte district and its original name was “Giovanni Francesco Berta”. The new stadium replaced the old one, which was located in the Bellini Street, and was just not sufficient for a club with high aspirations. Moreover, the city thus got a multi-purpose stadium which it had been lacking.
  The construction works took two years and were done in two stages. In 1930, in the course of the first stage the main covered stand was built and the construction was officially approved. Then, during the second stage, the remaining three uncovered stands were built together with a tower called Maratona in Florence. The newly built stands were subsequently approved as well, and lastly, in January 1933, after several alterations, the 70 meter Maratona Tower, the present dominant feature of the stadium, was put into operation. The stadium was designed by the architect Nervi, and has a modern design in the shape of the letter “D”. It was the first stadium in Italy designed in this way, and it is still admired for this reason. However, this unique feature brings some problems, as any planned alterations are hindered by monument protection authorities.
 
ACF Fiorentina - Stadio Artemio Franchi, Capacity: 47,282


Photo: Gary Denham, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Many international matches took place at the Artemio Franchi stadium, for example, in May 1933 the national team of Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-0. The record number of visitors was set in November 1984, at a match between Fiorentina and Inter Milan, which was attended by 58,271 people. In 1989 the stadium was renovated, since it was selected as one of the stadiums that would host the 1990 World Cup matches taking place in Italy. The pitch size had been changed and the capacity had been reduced to 47,282. New record attendance, after the renovation of the stadium, was set in 1997, at a Cup Winners’ Cup match against Barcelona, which was attended by 48,588 people.

In November 1991 the city stadium was renamed “Artemio Franchi” stadium, in honour of Artemio Franchi, who died in a car accident on 12 August 1983. In 1951/1952 Franchi was the Secretary of the Fiorentina football club, and then became the President of the Italian Football Federation. In 1968, he became the UEFA Vice-President. Another stadium named in his honour can be found in the nearby AC Siena.

Regarding today standards the stadium is outdated, as are many other stadiums in Italy. An exception obviously is the new Juventus Stadium built in 2011. In the near future a new stadium should be built for the team of AS Rome as well. Several other clubs, e.g. Lazio Rome, Palermo, or Fiorentina, also plan to construct new stadiums. However, lack of finances hinders most of these plans, which, at present, exist only on paper. We will see which of the Italian clubs will be the next to complete construction of a new stadium.

Author: Jiri Vojkovsky | Photo: www.fiorentina.cz

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