The Municipality of Venice has unveiled plans for a €333.8m (£278.4m/$367.5m) investment project which will be underpinned by a sports complex featuring a new 16,000-seat stadium for Serie A football club Venezia, plus a 10,000-seat arena.

The funding will be distributed for ventures across the local region, with its driving force being the ‘Bosco dello Sport’ project. Bosco dello Sport will be built in Tessera and along with the stadium and arena, will include the completion of a road network linking up Ca’ Tessera Venice Airport, internal urbanisation, landscape works and an educational area. 

The vision is for a multi-functional complex, active seven days a week and capable of guaranteeing economic and financial sustainability. This part of the overall scheme will be granted €93.5m of funding from Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), plus €189.9m from the Municipality itself.

A previously envisioned scheme has been revised with particular focus placed on its setting within a green area of almost 79 hectares, a large ecological and sustainable structure, the Municipality said, in which sports facilities will “rise in the middle of wooded areas”. The project is intended for completion by 2026, with a view to its facilities being utilised for that year’s Milan-Cortina Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Municipality said the stadium is mainly conceived for football, but will also be developed with a view to hosting other sports such as rugby union. In July 2018, Venezia and the Municipality of Venice unveiled plans for a new 18,000-seat stadium to replace the team’s historic current home.

Venezia currently plays at the Stadio Pierluigi Penzo, which opened in 1913 and is notable through its primary means of access being by boat. Upgrades to the Penzo were made for the club’s return to Serie A this season.

Commenting on the Municipality’s plans, Venezia said: “Venezia FC wishes to express all its appreciation for this initiative, convinced that this project in support of sport has a social impact of vital importance for the growth of the Venetian territory.

“The club also wants to reassure all its fans that, until a new facility is available, it will continue to do what is necessary to invest in the Penzo in order to constantly improve the experience of its supporters at the stadium.”

The arena is intended for indoor sports and entertainment events, and will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 people seated. Meanwhile, the educational and sport area is intended to include smaller sports facilities, plus an Olympic-standard aquatics facility. However, the Municipality said this element is subject to separate funding agreements being reached.

Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, said: “The Bosco dello Sport, which will rise in Tessera, is the heart of the project and holds everything together – health, physical activity, but also knowledge and development of people.

“Professional sport is the driving force for all sporting activities in the area. We are the only city in Italy that does not have sports facilities, has never had them. We have been asking for them for 40 years and will finally be able to realise a dream of many Venetians, creating a sports centre that lives seven days a week. 

“I am also very happy with the fact that the project focuses on greenery and the environmental aspect, this is an important element and I think it can be widely shared.”

Brugnaro added: “Having a stadium with a capacity of 16,000 people and a 10,000-seat arena will make it more attractive to organise events that today find it difficult to take place in our territory and move to nearby provinces and cities. 

“Furthermore, the environmental impact aspect should not be forgotten. This new design completely eliminates a previous design that provided for the introduction of 600,000 cubic metres of commercial, management and tourist-hotel elements. We wanted to keep only the sports facilities and expanded the green area to a total of 115 hectares.”

Images: Municipality of Venice