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Official Review by Stefano Romagnoli, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Viareggio Cup World Football Tournament (Coppa Carnevale) began in 1948 at the behest of the Centro Giovani Calciatori di Viareggio and its first president Torquato Bresciani.
The first edition was an experimental edition reserved for Café of Viareggio city, with the final disputed between the Bar Lencioni and Bar Fattore. From February 24-28, 1949 the first official edition took place and was attended by 10 teams from three different countries (Olimpique Nizza and Rapid Mentone for France; Bellinzona for Switzerland; Fiorentina, Lucchese, Lazio, Sampdoria, Milan and two local representative for Italy).
The first winning team of the tournament was AC Milan who today is tied with FC Juventus for the largest number of trophies on the board, with nine.
Among the famous players who have participated in the Viareggio Cup, there are the champions of 2006 FIFA World Cup Alessandro Del Piero and Andrea Pirlo, as well as Sebastian Giovinco and former MLS MVP Landon Donovan.
The final of the Viareggio Cup takes place every year at the Stadio dei Pini of Viareggio, a multipurpose facility which since February 1997 has been named after Torquato Bresciani. The structure was designed in the early 1950’s. The construction work began in April 1955, and on July 18, 1959 the opening ceremony was held. The initial capacity of the stadium was 15,000 seats.
In 1969, an eight lane athletics track was installed. In August 1987 Alessandro Andrei, a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, set the world shot put record.
As recalled by Pino Frisoli in his book “La TV per sport,” in 1976 the Bresciani stadium in Viareggio and Viareggio Cup were used by RAI, the Italy’s national public broadcasting company, to experience the simultaneous transmission of several matches.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
It is not a facility used to host matches of the main Italian championships. However, just after the entrance gates there is a food court where you can buy sweets or salty packaged snacks (2.50 euro), water (1 euro), coffee (1 euro) or other drinks.
The walls of this small bar are covered with old photos (in one of these Pele is also present) and with the jerseys of the Football Club Esperia Viareggio, the local football team that plays in the non-professional championships, but in the past has also played in Serie B.
Outside the stadium there are the classic peddlers of hot dogs and hamburgers (5 euro). Other cafes and restaurants are within walking distance from the Bresciani stadium.
The facility is situated in the Levante pine forest, a few hundred meters from the sea, surrounded by dozens of trees. Numerous murals reminiscent of the local carnival themes and sea blanket the inside of the enclosure wall.
The facility has an oval shape. Seating is composed of a grandstand (covered) and a staircase (discovered), while there are no curves. A transparent barrier divides the public from the running track and the field. Visibility is good from all sectors.
Around the Bresciani stadium there are cafes, restaurants and hotels. Viareggio is a city of about 60,000 inhabitants, which is full of tourists especially during the summer and during the carnival.
The seafood cuisine that you can taste in Viareggio and in the surrounding communes are well worth exploring.
Fans of the teams that reach the final of the Viareggio Cup are generally the parents and friends of the players. In the history of the tournament there were finals which attracted 15,000-20,000 spectators. Especially when competing for the trophy they found themselves face to face Juventus FC and ACF Fiorentina.
But among the spectators there are also many talent scouts from Italian and foreign professional clubs.
The city of Viareggio is located in the northwestern part of Tuscany and is easily accessible via the A11 motorway, between Florence and Pisa, and A12, connecting Genova to Rosignano.
The international airport of Pisa is about 25 kilometers. In town there is also a train station.
Reaching the Bresciani stadium from any of the Viareggio area is quite simple. There are several car parks in the area of the stadium.
Tickets to attend the Viareggio Cup - World Football Tournament - Coppa Carnevale are on sale exclusively at the ticket office of the stadium and the prices vary depending on whether you want to attend a match valid for the group stage, fourth round, quarterfinals, semi-finals or final of the tournament.
The areas available to the public are the Central Tribune, Lateral grandstand, or Staircase. In addition there are offers and reductions reserved for certain categories of viewers. All information for ticket purchases are available on the official website of the event.
Versilia is a flap of the province of Lucca overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is known throughout Italy for the many night clubs and the many discos that enliven nights all year. The Capannina in Forte dei Marmi, founded in 1929 by Achille Franceschi, and Bussola di Focette, created by Sergio Bernardini and inaugurated in 1955 are some of the most well known..
Torre del Lago Puccini, a neighbourhood of Viareggio, known for hosting the composer Giacomo Puccini and offers an arts festival dedicated to him each summer.
In Viareggio each February one of the most important carnivals in Europe is staged. The beginnings date back to 1873, hosting the traditional parade of wagons in paper mache.
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