On this day in 1927
On 29 May 1927, the Littoriale, Bologna’s stadium, was inauguarated. It was then given the name “Comunale” before then becoming known as the Renato Dall’Ara.
The opening game was a prestigious friendly between Italy and Spain. The latter had the legendary Zamora between the sticks, a goalkeeper so good that it is said he was able to hypnotise opposition forwards. In front of King Vittorio Emanuele III and Infante Don Alfonso of Spain, the Azzurri won 2-0 in front of 60,000 people thanks to a goal from Baloncieri and an own goal from Prats. Italy fielded four Bologna players (Gianni, Genovesi, Giordani and Della Valle) plus Fulvio Bernardini, at the time an Inter player but destined to lead the Rossoblu to the Scudetto title in 1964 as their Coach.
ITALY: Gianni (Bologna), Bellini (Inter), Caligaris (Casale), Genovesi (Bologna), Bernardini (Inter), Giordani (Bologna), Munerati (Juventus), Baloncieri (Torino) (cap.), Libonatti (Torino), Della Valle (Bologna), Levratto (Genoa).
SPAIN: Zamora, A. Olaso, Zaldua, Prats, Gamborena, Peña, Sagarzazu, L. Regueiro, Yermo, Echeveste, L. Olaso.
Goals: 31’ Baloncieri, 50’ (own goal) Prats.
Referee: Rous (England).
The Azzurri prior to the match. Standing from left to right: Giuseppe Zanetti (FIGC secretary), Gianni, Genovesi, Ferraris IV, Baloncieri, Bortolotti ( Bellini, Della Valle, Schiavio, Munerati, Bernardini, Levratto, Bortolotti (massage therapist); on knees or sitting down: Pastore, Burlando, Libonatti, Caligaris, Giordani, Magnozzi and Borgato.
The captains Zamora and Baloncieri
The Tribuna d’Onore. King Vittorio Emanuele III, Infante Don Alfonso of Spain and the Cardinal Nasalli Rocca in the centre
Mario Gianni gets ready to launch the ball forward
The Marathon Tower is conspicuous by its absence. It was added in 1929. Another interesting fact: There are no shirt numbers on the players' backs. Numbers were only added in 1939.
A photo of a packed out Curva
All the parking spaces around the stadium were taken up too
The front page of the Corriere dello Sport on the day of the game and the same page the day after
King Vittorio Emanuele travelling to the stadium by car.
Vittorio Emanuele III had already visited Bologna on 12 June 1925 as the stadium's foundations started to be laid. This is the lunch menu for the King put on by the Municipality of Bologna
The game and its extraordinary setting will live long in the memory. Here is a school exercise book cover from the 1930s. The designer has added the Marathon Tower in the background
Lamberto and Luca Bertozzi