Stadio Armando Picchi is a multi-use stadium in Livorno, Italy, mostly used for football matches by Serie B side A.S Livorno. It is named after Armando Picchi the legendary Inter footballer who started his career at the club and has a current capacity just under 20,000 seats.
Stadio Armando Picchi is a municipally owned stadium which first opened in 1935 after three years of planning. The fact that A.S Livorno Calcio needed a stadium fortuitously coincided with the period of Italian Fascism which sought to stoke a sense of Nationalist pride through sporting competition. As a result, the creation of a ground was relatively straightforward, and numerous Olympic Stadiums sprang up around the country including in Rome, Bologna and Torino.
Designed by Raffaello Brizzi, upon opening the stadium was named after Il Dulce’s daughter, Edda Ciano Mussolini, although the name fell out of use immediately after World War 2. Generally referred to as Stadio Communale Livorno, or Yankee Stadium, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it would receive a proper name.
Renamed in honour of Armando Picchi who died in 1971, the former defender was closely associated with the 1960s Grande Inter side, however first and foremost he was born in Livorno and made over 100 appearances for his boy-hood club.
Livorno’s stadium underwent a slight renovation when it was chosen to host football matches of the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, however it was overlooked as one of the venues of Italia 90 – The FIFA World Cup. As a result Stadio Armando Picchi remains very much an old-school football ground with an extensive use of reinforced concrete which has fallen out of fashion.
Although the legacy of the running-track still remains, it is no longer in use and has been partially built on with the extension of the gradinata, and the two curvas. There are currently no plans to relocate A.S Livorno to a new stadium so it appears that renovation of Armando Picchi is much more likely in the future.
Stadio Armando Picchi is comprised of four stands: North, East, South and West.
Click the thumbnails above to enlarge an image of each stand and to read a more detailed description of each part of the stadium.
Livorno’s Fans are famous for their left-wing sympathies which in the past has sparked violent clashes with idealogical opposing right-wing ultras of clubs such as Lazio, Internazionale and Verona. When Paolo Di Canio made a notorious fascist salute into the crowd at the Stadio Olimpico, can you guess who the opposition was? That’s right for once, Livorno. As the birthplace of Italy’s Communist Party, you can forgive the Livorno fans for often displaying banners of Che Guevara and referring to the club as L’Unione for their politicals is in their blood. Coincidentally red, or Amaranto which is another nickname of the club.
Although named Armando Picchi fans often refer to the city as Ardenza which is the neighbourhood it is located in, similar to how fans refer to the Giuseppe Meazza as San Siro. Although not quite as large, the stadium has also had it’s fair share of renovations over the years with the club’s entrance into the Uefa Cup in 2006 prompting refurbishment of existing seating arrangements, making the stadium more comfortable which sounds slightly bourgeois as I type.
Since the club’s heyday in the mid 2000s spearheaded by the goalscoring exploits of Curva icon Cristiano Lucarelli (Capocannerie 2004-5 beating the likes of Luca Toni, Shevchenko and a prime Adriano), Livorno have been unable to establish themselves within Serie A, often facing relegation battles or coming back up from Serie B. Still the club are a unique footballing treasure and have a special set of fans which makes a trip to see them a very enticing proposition.
Food and Drink
The area of Ardenza is a mixture of residential and sporting facilities with low entertainment prospects so don’t expect much in the way of food or drink. Even at the stadium the range of matchday refreshments will pale in comparison to English football clubs whose menus you can pretty much take for granted (Burgers, sausage rolls, pies, warm lager etc), so it’s probably best to eat before or after the match in Livorno city centre with the seaside restaurants offering a scenic dining experience of the Mediterranean.
According to Livorno’s Google Plus Page the stadium is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm and then from 3.00-6.00pm in the evenings. There is a strong chance that this could be referring to a shop, but it also could just be in reference to a ticket office. For now until there is more information it’s probably best for you to save your Livorno gift buying for matchdays.
Livorno do not currently offer tours of the Stadio Armando Picchi and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, not until they commercialise the facilities in the way Juventus have and Roma are planning to do. As a staunchly left wing club such proposals might be slightly controversial, so don’t hold your breath…
Tickets to see Livorno play are available to purchase by the usual means in Italy:
- Online – The club favours Bookingshow and listicket.it with numerous other sellers out there such as Viagogo who offer the option to prebook tickets and in some cases have them delivered to your Hotel which saves a lot of stress.
- At the Stadium – There is a club shop at the Ardenza which sells tickets, although there are some Italian laws which prohibit sales without ID and a few hours before kickoff..
- Around the City – The club partners with various shops, bars and cafes throughout the city to increase it’s coverage and to make ticket buying convenient for fans. You can see an updates list of sellers for each match here.
Prices are quite fluid as it depends on the perceived profile of the opposition but generally expect to pay anywhere from €18.00-€25.00 for the curva and €30.00-€130.00 for the central tribune/VIP.s.
For more information regarding tickets you can email [email protected] who will be happy to help.
Stadio Armando Picchi is located 2 miles South of the city centre in an area known as the sports district due to the large number of sporting facilities based in the area, including basketball courts, rugby pitches and the giant horse racing track. A stones throw away from the beautiful Mediterranean Coast, you could certainly visit worse stadiums in the world.
Train and Bus
There are no regional or smaller train stations near to Stadio Armando so catching a bus is your only option if you plan to use public transport. The two buses to use are listed below and should take no more than 15 minutes:
- Bus/Route Number 1 – Departs from either the railway station or city centre. You can get off at either Barriera Margherita or Viale Italia, San Leopoldo but Livorno’s official website recommends Ardenza Sea which is 100 metres from the stadium.
- Bus/Route Number 8R and Line 5 – The two buses form one part each of the same journey and aren’t substitutable, unless of course you’re at Piazza XI Maggio (Piazza San Marco) which is where line “5” departs from. You will know when to get off at Via Dei Pensieri as you will see the stadium!
Stadio Armando Picchi is easily accessible via car with the Livorno website offering the following instructions from the A12 (North of the city):
- Drive until you see the sign for “Livorno Port”, and exit left, continuing along to the Aurelia for 10km.
- When you see the sign for Livorno South, turn right and continue driving on the SP 5.
- Turn off when you see signs for SS – Viale Giovanni Boccaccio.
- Continue along Viale Nazario Sauro but take a left when you see signs for Via dei Pensieri
- Turn right and Arrive at Piazzale Montello which is the large plaza outside the stadium.
For parking fans are directed to “La Rosa” neighbourhood with a dedicated carpark located on Via dei Penieri which is the road surrounding the eastern stand of the stadium, although there are limited spaces. Alternative there may be some “offroad” parking near the north stand but check local regulations and whether or not everyone is doing :)
Note: Whilst I have done my best to translate these directions, do not trust them 100% – Use Satnav if driving!
Airports and Flying
Livorno is served by Pisa International Airport which is 25km north of the city and the main airport of Tuscany. From Pisa Central Station, Stazione Ferroviaria Pisa Centrale, you can travel on the Pisa-Livorno-Rome line which will take you no more than 20 minutes to get to Livorno Centrale Railway Station. Train numbers 2 and 4 are the most frequent services to Livorno, but occasionally numbers 9 and 10 will also take you.
The undeniably closet hotel to the Armando Picchi stadium is Hotel Atleti which is cheap and cheerful, with the second closet being the 20th century Art Nouveau designed Hotel Gennarino which is near the Italian Naval Academy. With the city centre only 1.9 miles away there’s also plenty of options there with the Hotel Ariston and Hotel Touring receiving decent reviews. Lastly, if you’d rather be near the station then unsurprisingly Hotel Stazione is your companion.