Bologna to offer unique experience at temporary home

Visitors to Bologna’s temporary stadium will be offered a unique experience combining Serie A football with the best of Italian cuisine, according to fresh details that have been revealed about the project.

Bologna’s Stadio Renato Dall’Ara is set to undergo significant redevelopment, leaving the club needing a temporary home whilst this work is taking place. This temporary venue is set to be situated at the Agri-Food Centre of Bologna (CAAB), a site which also houses FICO Eataly World (pictured), dubbed the world’s largest agri-food theme park.

While plans have yet to be officially disclosed on the temporary stadium, Stefano Cigarini, CEO of FICO Eataly World, said that it will be named FICO Arena. Cigarini told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: “While FICO is the indoor park, the FICO Arena, with a capacity for 16,000 spectators, will become the outdoor part of a modern structure that will be open to families, children, Bologna fans and others, even tourists who want to watch a Serie A match.”

Cigarini said FICO Eataly World has been responsible for 11% of the increase in tourist visits to Bologna over the past three years, adding that with a Memorandum of Understanding having been agreed on the stadium project, only the final signatures are needed.

The temporary stadium is expected to cost between €12m (£10.4m/$14.7m) and €15m to develop. “The investment is made only by Bologna,” said Cigarini. “We enter by providing parking lots, around 3,400 stalls, infrastructure, connections, logistics, entertainment and everything that will become an embrace between football and FICO.”

He continued: “In the meantime, it’s a great idea. To develop and create a sort of big party at every sporting event that will take place in the FICO Arena. The idea of ​​combining football and the agri-food park includes several ‘assets’. The first is the football team, Bologna, another is FICO which will make available everything through which it is considered a mark of excellence in the agri-food sector.”

Cigarini said that with one ticket, visitors will be able to spend a day taking in a Bologna match and experiencing FICO Eataly World. Earlier this month, Bologna delivered the final plan for the redevelopment of its Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

The plan was filed by Bologna Stadio, a company formed by the club in February 2020 to oversee the redevelopment. It was submitted to the Municipality of Bologna, owner of the stadium, including changes requested for the project, plus financial guarantees.

Opened in 1927, the Dall’Ara underwent redevelopment for Italy’s staging of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The latest project will seek to remove the superstructure introduced in the last renovation, scaling back the facility to create a fully-covered 30,000-seat stadium that has its stands closer to the pitch.

Work is expected to start on the redevelopment of the Dall’Ara by the end of 2022. The temporary stadium will be reduced to a capacity of 3,000 for use by Bologna’s women’s and youth teams, once the new-look Dall’Ara is complete.

Cigarini added: “The facility will remain but will be reduced in capacity. It will be used for concerts but also for the Bologna youth teams and women’s football, without forgetting a museum part for Bologna and the store.”

Image: Gianni Careddu/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size