The football field known as “Campo Testaccio” was inaugurated on the 3rd of November 1929, so two years after the foundation of the A. S. Roma - the professional football club from Rome -, following up the request made by the President Italo Foschi to the Governor of Rome, to let the team have its own field. Thus the area between via Zabaglia and via Caio Cestio was given them for twenty years; it was a part of the municipal store called “magazzino dei selci” and it stood in front of the Monte dei Cocci and the acatholic cemetery, where originally the roman meadows so-called “prati del popolo romano” and recently found in the excavation of 2010, took place. The “Campo Testaccio”, whose project also involved the engineer Silvio Sensi, Franco’s father, was built using as a model the English stadiums: it had four independent stands around the playing field, almost totally made up of wood and painted with the club colours, having a capacity of 20,000 spectators. The main stand, situated on the long side of the pitch next to via Zabaglia, and the stand of “distinti”, in front of it, were provided of holding beams with a “crowding-meter”: some indicators scrolled down to show the capacity reached.

The popular stands, situated behind the goal, were built in wood on a masonry basement. Between them and the field, there were two inclined parterre. The structures rapidly fell into decline. In 1937-1938 the crumbling wooden stands “popolari/distinti” were demolished and respectively replaced with one in cement and two others embankments, which reduced the stadium capacity. In 1936 the Governor Bottai revoked the grant because the urban development plan had predicted in this area the realization of the Parco Cestio. In 1940, the year before the first championship field (1941-1942), the building where the Roma football Club had played 214 matches, was definitely demolished and the club moved to the current Flaminium Stadium. The Campo Testaccio remained beloved in the memory of the supporters and the quarter which it took the name from. In the 2000 the Campo Testaccio revived, housing today the “Testaccio Calcio” , which had its 1st field, since 1968, in the area of the New Market Testaccio, in front of the ex-slaughterhouse.


(A. Contino)