Earlier this week, Florence mayor Dario Nardella confirmed to Sky Italia that the city plans to refurbish the Stadio Artemio Franchi starting in summer 2024, with the work expected to continue into 2026. While the venerable arena desperately needs work—the concrete is literally crumbling and it’s only a matter of time before it goes from embarrassment to hazard—this does leave Fiorentina with a dilemma: Where will it play its home games?
The options are fairly limited. Empoli has already turned down an offer to share the Carlo Castellani. Siena, Livorno, Arezzo, Pisa are the other Tuscan sides with stadia seating more than 10,000, that meet Serie A and European capacity criteria, although the byzantine rules for top flight arenas—numbered seats; sufficient entrances with turnstiles, restrooms, and media facilities; large enough dugouts; and VAR and goal line technology—could eliminate some of them from contention.
The news, of course, is tailor-made to irritate Rocco Commisso, whose obsession to remodel the Franchi on his own terms and with his own money (which, for the record, VN completely supports) is well-known. He’s spoken previously about how quickly he intended to finish the work on the remodel or on a new stadium, and he can’t be happy that he’ll now lose ticket revenue as the city bureaucracy takes on the massive job.
All of the Tuscan options have positives and negatives. Siena’s arena is also called the Artemio Franchi and is just an hour away, but the rivalry between Robur and Fiorentina could spell trouble and the stadium seats just 15,000. Livorno is 80 minutes away, but the Armando Picchi seats just 14,000 and the club’s left-wing politics could rub Rocco the wrong way. Pisa’s Romeo Anconetani holds an impressive 25,000 but is 90 minutes from Florence. Arezzo is just an hour away but seats a paltry 13,000.
All of these options would likely require a lot of work to meet Serie A requirements, especially in terms of extending media facilities and VAR/goal line technology options, and Fiorentina would doubtless be on the hook for those costs. It would also be a bummer to lose the fantastic atmosphere of the Franchi, as the travel costs would likely tamp down the atmosphere. Finally, the scheduling could lead to some rough surfaces as the stadium will likely be used at least once a week and maybe more.
Going on the road for “home” games for at least a year and a half (and likely more, given the habit of Italian construction projects to drag on) is obviously a big problem and could pose Fiorentina major financial hurdles as it tries to become a European regular. But the club brass will have to make the best choice from a bunch of unappealing options regardless.
The menu isn’t appetizing, but which would you choose?
This poll is closed
Stadio Città di Arezzo
Livorno’s Stadio Armando Picchi
Pisa’s Stadio Romeo Anconetani
Siena’s Stadio Artemio Franchi
Move it out of Tuscany entirely because I’m a numpty