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Why do Lazio and Roma share Stadio Olimpico?

The Stadio Olimpico is located in the Italian capital, Rome, and is home to two Serie A clubs, Roma and Lazio. It wasn’t officially opened until 17 May 1953, despite being built nearly 30 years previously in 1927. The Second World War was the main reason behind the delay.

The first football match was played on that day to mark the opening of the stadium. Italy took on Hungary, with Hungary winning the game, 3-0. 

Why do Roma and Lazio share Stadio Olimpico?

Why do Roma and Lazio share Stadio Olimpico
Photo by Icon Sport

Both Roma and Lazio made the stadium their home in 1953, while the Italian men’s national team has also used the stadium throughout the years for important qualification matches. 

The capacity of the stadium is 70,634 and is the host venue for the Coppa Italia final, the Italian football's major domestic cup. 

It was rebuilt back in 1990 when Italy hosted the World Cup, with the venue being used to host the final between Argentina and West Germany. 

Before being called the Stadio Olimpico, the stadium was named the Stadio del Cipressi and then the Stadio del Centomila until the 1960 Olympics, when it was given the name Stadio Olimpico.

The European Cup final has been hosted on three occasions at the stadium, with English sides playing in all three. The first was in 1977 which saw Liverpool lift the trophy after beating German side, Borussia Monchengladbach, 2-1. 

The next final to take place saw Roma themselves play in their home stadium in 1984, against Liverpool. The match ended 1-1 and Liverpool went on to win lift the trophy after winning on penalties. 

It wouldn’t be until 2009 that the Stadio Olimpico would host another European Cup final. This time it was the Champions League final between Spanish side Barcelona and English club Manchester United. Barcelona ran out 2-0 winners on the night. 

How do Roma and Lazio share a stadium?

AS Roma fans at Stadio Olimpico
Photo by Icon sport

Both Roma and Lazio use the stadium, with one club playing at home one week, while the other plays away. But both sets of fans have their sections.

The Roma Ultra can be found in the Curva Sud on matchdays, providing plenty of color with their red and yellow flags and flares on show. It has a capacity of 8,486.

SSC Lazio Fans at Stadio Olimpico
Photo by Icon Sport

In contrast, the Lazio Ultras can be found in the Curva Nord. Their colours of light blue and white are seen in that section which has a slightly larger capacity of 8,520.

When playing each other, both sets of fans fill these ends and the games, known as the Derby delle Capitale, can be fiery and intense affairs, with little love lost between both sets of fans. 

Why do so many Italian clubs share stadiums?

AC Milan fans at San Siro
Milan fans at San Siro | Photo by Icon Sport

Plenty of football clubs around the world share football stadiums, however, the two most high-profile examples of this happen to be in Italy. The San Siro in Milan is the home of both AC Milan and Inter Milan, while Roma and Lazio also share the Stadio Olimpico. Genoa and Sampdoria also share their stadium.

There is no real reason behind this other than it makes both logistical and financial sense for clubs to share their stadiums. It makes it easy for all the fans of each club to attend games if there is one, the ground is centrally located stadium in the city and clubs can halve the costs of matchday and seasonal expenses with another club. 

Inter Milan fans at San Siro
Inter fans at San Siro | Photo by Icon Sport

Who is the bigger club, Lazio or Roma?

Different football fans will have different opinions when it comes to answering which one Lazio or Roma is the bigger club. In regards to supporters, Roma is the most followed of the two and is the fifth highest-supported club in Italy, behind Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Napoli. 

Lazio is recorded as the sixth, so there isn’t a huge difference in regard number of fans for each club.

If we were to measure each club as in who is bigger in regards to winning honours, then Roma would also come out on top, with three Serie A titles to their name. Amazingly they have fourteen runners-up places as well, while also lifting the Coppa Italia nine times in their history.

Lazio are just behind them with two Serie A titles to their name while winning the Coppa Italia seven times in their history. Lazio does have something their city rivals do not have, however, and that is a major European title. They lifted the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998/99, meaning they are the only club in the City of Roma to have lifted a European trophy so far.  

Why is Lazio called Lazio?

Rome itself is the capital city of Italy, however, it is also the capital of the Lazio region in which it is located. Lazio is a region in central Italy, beside the Tyrrhenian Sea. So, Rome is situated in Lazio and it is why you sometimes see Roma being called Roma Lazio, although Roma fans detest this.

What is the biggest rivalry in Italy?

Italian football fans
Photo by Icon Sport

It is a matter of opinion, but in regards to the number of followers each club has and the success both clubs have had in their history, AC Milan and Inter Milan share Italian football’s biggest rivalry. 

Roma and Lazio would argue their derby is more intense, however, you would probably find all derby matches in Italian football are like that, with little love lost between the city and regional fans of each club in Italy.

For example, Napoli is a one-club city, with no local derby to contest in the league, however games versus Inter Milan, AC Milan, Roma, Lazio, and Juventus have seen their fans grow a hatred for all of the rival clubs fans they face. This type of rivalries have been heightened over the past few years after fighting has broken out between fans after games, resulting in injuries and even deaths.

Despite all these rivalries, the Derby d'Italia, ‘the Derby of Italy' is contested between clubs in different cities: Inter (Milan) and Juventus (Turin). This is a competitive rivalry, and probably Italy's most intense.

Philip O'Rourke

Philip O Rourke is a Dublin-based journalist and author of Forgotten Football Clubs, 50 Clubs Around the World. He appears on the Forgotten Football Clubs podcast and, in his spare time, travels around Europe to different football stadiums, trying to watch as many different clubs as he can.

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