The history of San Siro: La Scala of Italian football

San Siro milan inter

The San Siro Stadium is undoubtedly one of the most famous and iconic football temples in the world. Located in Milan, Italy, this extraordinary sports venue has become synonymous with Italian football and the passion that surrounds the sport. With its majestic architecture and history full of epic events, the San Siro Stadium is a tangible testimony of the love of the Italian people for football, so much so that it is nicknamed “La Scala of Italian football”.


old San Siro stadium

The origin of the stadium dates back to the 1920s, when the idea of building a large sports facility in Milan took shape. The project was entrusted to the architects Piero Puricelli and Ulisse Stacchini, who conceived an avant-garde work for the time. On September 19, 1925, the San Siro stadium was inaugurated with a friendly match between Inter Milan and Milan, the two main teams in the city.


Over the years, the stadium has undergone several transformations and renovations to adapt to the needs of the times and safety regulations. One of the most significant changes was made for the 1990 World Championships, when the facility was completely renovated to host some matches of the tournament. This refurbishment resulted in an increase in the stadium’s capacity from around 85,000 seats to over 90,000, making it one of the largest stadiums in Europe.

Precisely for this occasion the third ring was added, supported by the colossal columns that until today characterize the perimeter of the stadium. The four corner columns support the iconic roof made of red steel beams.

san siro dall'alto

Out of football

In addition to football matches, the San Siro Stadium has also hosted other major sporting events and concerts. Over the years, internationally renowned artists such as U2, Madonna and Coldplay have performed in this magical place, giving fans unforgettable moments. San Siro’s ability to transform itself from a football stadium into a large concert arena was one of the features that made it even more special.

San Siro Coldplay

Theater of epic battles

However, it is football that holds pride of place in the history of the San Siro. The stadium is home to two of Italy’s most prestigious teams, Inter Milan and Milan. These two teams have written important pages of their history inside this stadium, challenging each other in heated derbies and playing matches of international level. Football fans from all over the world look to San Siro as a sort of cradle of Italian football, a place where the art of the game was celebrated and legends were born.

One of the hottest derbies in history was certainly the return match of the Champions League quarter-finals in 2005, which was suspended by the referee. In fact, firecrackers and smoke bombs were thrown from the northern curve which hit and stunned the AC Milan goalkeeper, Nelson Dida. Victory assigned to the Rossoneri on a table which allowed Carlo Ancelotti‘s Milan to continue their journey in the Champions League. This story is remembered with one of the most iconic photos in football history that immortalizes Materazzi and Lui Costa as they observe the flames of hell unleashed by the fans.


A glorious moment for Italian football was certainly the final of the 1964-1965 Champions Cup between Inter Milan and Benfica. Inter managed a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Jair in the first half of the match. This victory marked an important moment for Inter as they clinched their second consecutive European Cup title.

The legacy

Despite its glorious history, the San Siro stadium is now in a transition phase. In 2019, a plan was announced to demolish and rebuild the facility to meet modern standards. This decision has sparked controversy among football fans, as the San Siro represents a historical and cultural heritage for the city of Milan. However, the reconstruction project aims to preserve the legacy of San Siro, creating a new state-of-the-art stadium capable of hosting sporting events and being a symbol of modernity.

Read the article on the diatribe between Milan and Inter over the future of San Siro: Farewell to San Siro: are Inter and Milan going to split?

The history of the San Siro Stadium is a fascinating tale of passion, competition and emotions. For over a century, this facility has been the scene of unforgettable moments in the world of Italian and international football. Whether through its iconic architecture or the feats of the athletes who have played there, San Siro will forever remain a place of worship for football lovers, a symbol of the unifying power of the sport that enthralls millions around the world.

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