Stadio Via del Mare

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Stadio Via del Mare
Lecce fans in Curva Nord
Location Lecce, Italy Italy
Broke ground 1966
Opened 1966
Renovated 1976
1985
Owner Municipality of Lecce
Surface Grass
105x68m
Capacity
33,876
Tenants
U.S. Lecce

Stadio Via del Mare is a multi-purpose stadium in Lecce, Italy. It is mostly used for football matches and is the home of U.S. Lecce. The stadium was built in 1966 and holds 33,876.[1] It takes its name from the street leading to the sea.

History[edit]

Lecce supporters during Lecce vs. Roma, April 2012

Built by Costantino Rozzi, the Via del Mare was inaugurated on September 11, 1966 during a friendly between U.S. Lecce and Spartak Moscow. The stadium replaced the old Stadio Carlo Pranzo, which was named after a young fatality of World War I from Lecce. On October 2 of that year, the first match between teams from Italy was played with Lecce beating local rivals Taranto 1-0. In 1967 Lecce played a friendly match against famous Pelé's Santos here.

The initial capacity was 16,000 spectators. In 1976, the capacity was increased to 20,500 seats. With the historic first promotion of Lecce to Serie A in 1985 the stadium was almost completely rebuilt and capacity greatly increased to 55,000. Both the Curva Nord, now the terrace of the organized fan groups led by the Ultrà Lecce, and Curva Sud, where Gioventù are based were rebuilt. The tribuna and Distinti were also upgraded and then, to ensure that all seats were numbered, capacity was reduced to the current 40,670 seats.

The seats are colored red and yellow (the colours of U.S. Lecce) and on the Tribuna Est is an inscription of "U.S. Lecce". After this almost total renovation, the stadium in Lecce, along with the Stadio Friuli in Udine, was the only stadium ready for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. However the venue allocated to the Puglia region went to the Stadio San Nicola in Bari, which caused some controversy.

During the first day of the Serie B 2007-08 championship, the press room of the stadium was named after the local journalist Sergio Vantaggiato, who died in tragic circumstances in August 2007. The plaque was presented by his son, Martino, in the presence of various local authorities, the management of U.S. Lecce and some journalists of different newspapers.

On November 1, 2007, during a regular training session, lightning struck the ground and killed Antonio De Giorgi, an U.S. Lecce equipment manager.

Other events[edit]

The stadium hosted a speech by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 40°21′55″N 18°12′32″E / 40.36528°N 18.20889°E / 40.36528; 18.20889