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Official Review by Stefano Romagnoli, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The stadium of Spezia Calcio is the oldest among those of Serie B. It opened in 1919, and is approaching its 100th anniversary.
The facility is named after Alberto Picco, the first player to score a goal with Spezia Calcio and a man who tragically died during World War I, as remembered with a plaque placed near the Tribuna Centrale.
Reaching the stadium from Viale Nicolň Fieschi the arc in gray stone with two columns and two statues of athletes that is among the sectors Distinti and Curva Piscina is what will catch the eye of fans. The work dates back to the 1930s, the same period as the Tribuna Centrale (in which there is also the sector Tribuna VIP). Its architecture is reminiscent of those of British stadia.
Completing the Stadio Picco are the two curves. One is called Ferrovia and is reserved for the home fans. It is formed by concrete steps and was built in the 1960s. The area for the visiting fans is called Piscina. It is formed by a metal prefabricated structure that was erected in the 1980s.
During the 1990s, the sectors Distinti and Curva Ferrovia were renovated.
With the return to Serie B in 2006/2007 (the Spezia Calcio had played for the last time in the second series of the Italian league in 1950/1951) more work was performed on the stadium to adapt to the lighting, the field, and for overall safety.
The pitch of Stadio Picco was completely replaced before the 2011/2012 championship. Initially with a synthetic field then between December 2013 and January 2014, a field with a mixture of synthetic and natural. In Serie B 2014/2015 only three other facilities have a synthetic pitch: Pro Vercelli, Trapani and Virtus Entella.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Between the Curva Ferrovia and the Tribuna Centrale is a small refreshment point that fans in the tribune can visit before the kickoff and during the halftime break.
All drinks are served in paper cups. The coffee costs 1 euro, while the sandwiches (which are not very big) cost 2.5 euro. There are also the classic sweet or salty snacks available.
If you want to avoid standing in queue for most of halftime to get something to eat, then you have to reach the concession area just before the break or the beginning of the second portion of the game. It may be worth missing some of the first half of the match to get a snack if you need it.
Outside the stadium, before and after the match, there are the classic peddlers available.
Each sector is detached from the others. The Centrale and VIP Tribune are most reminiscent of the architecture of the British stadia. They have gray numbered seats. The only downside of this part of the stadium is the columns that support the roof and can present an obstructed view.
The sector Distinti, which is also covered, is characterized by orange plastic seats and are white at the ends of the structure. This area also hosts the positions reserved for television cameras, while journalists are placed in the Tribuna Centrale.
The capacities of the individual sectors are Tribuna Centrale (1,064); Tribuna VIP (112); Distinti (3,100); Curva Ferrovia (4,014); and Curva Piscina (area reserved for guest supporters, 2,000).
In the advertising billboards on the sides of the two ports there are also clocks that show the minutes left in the match.
The Stadio Alberto Picco is located in the area of the city where there is the Naval Arsenal, one of the most important and ancient bases of the Italian Navy.
It is characteristic that the silhouettes of ships will pop up behind sectors Distinti and Curva Piscina. However, the center of the city is only a few hundred meters away so there are plenty of places to eat or drink in the neighborhood.
The most ardent fans of Spezia Calcio follow home games from the Curva (although in the 1980s, before the restructuring of Distinti and Ferrovia, the fans occupied the Curva Piscina). Scarves, flags and banners with the team colors of black and white are seen throughout the venue.
The train station of La Spezia Centrale is situated just over one kilometer and is therefore easily accessible on foot. The nearest motorway exit is to La Spezia-Santo Stefano Magra on the A15 (connects La Spezia to Parma) and A12 (connecting Genoa to Livorno) and is a few kilometers away.
Ticket prices to watch a match at Stadio Alberto Picco range from 40 euro in Tribuna Centrale to 15 euro in the two curves. If fans are less than 14 years old, then the price is only one euro for Curva Ferrovia, Distinti and Tribuna Centrale.
This is the cost in euros of season tickets to follow all home games of Spezia Calcio for 2014/2015: Tribuna Centrale (430); Distinti (260); and Curva Ferrovia (130). There are great deals to reduce the season price that can be found on the team's website.
During the Second World War, between December 1943 and July 1944, central and northern Italy played a football tournament involving 60 teams. For the city of La Spezia a section of the 42nd Corps of Firemen took part and won the final round playing against Torino and Venezia. A plaque on the outside wall of the Stadio Picco remembers that team. In January 2002 the FIGC, the Italian Football Federation, awarded Spezia Calcio with an honorary patch that commemorates the victory in the tournament.
The nearby Cinque Terre, a World Heritage Site, is a stretch of the Ligurian coast that goes from Riomaggiore to Monterosso.
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