Rome seeks funding to restore Flaminio Stadium

Capital requests funds from Getty Foundation to revamp sports facility.

The Rome city administration has applied to the Getty Foundation for funds to restore the capital's Flaminio Stadium which has fallen into a state of disrepair and been abandonded for several years.

The city made the formal request to Getty's international grant initiative "Keeping it Modern", designed for projects aimed at maintaining key 20th-century buildings around the world.

The Stadio Flaminio is "an important architectural work and a protected building of artistic and historic interest", according to the capital's sports councillor Daniele Frongia.

The funding appeal was made in collaboration with the family of celebrated Italian engineer and architect Pier Luigi Nervi, who designed the stadium with his son Antonio.

Built originally to host football matches during Rome's 1960 Olympic Games, Stadio Flaminio was the headquarters of Italy's national rugby team for Six Nations tournament home matches from 2000 until 2011.

However the city's plans to refurbish and upgrade the stadium to international standards, by increasing its seating capacity from 25,000 to 48,000, failed to materialise, forcing the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) to transfer its Six Nations base to Rome's much larger Stadio Olimpico in 2012.

Before its recent decline, the Flaminio Stadium was used for other events other than rugby. In 1988 it hosted two sell-out concerts by pop star Michael Jackson, as well as the November 2003 Railway Cup Final, an interprovincial championship of the Irish national sport hurling.

The city's funding application for the restoration of Stadium Flaminio comes as it undertakes a €1.9 million redevelopment of the Palazzetto dello Sport, a nearby sporting facility which was also designed by Nervi for the 1960 Olympics.