The newly-improved Stadio San Paolo was unveiled in the opening ceremony of the Universiadi, with lights, screens and above all transformed seats.
Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis had famously referred to the crumbling arena as “a toilet” and has been battling for years with the local council to get improvements made.
The funding finally came through for some adjustments because Naples is hosting the 2019 Universiadi, a form of Olympics involving only university students rather than professional athletes.
Wednesday night’s opening ceremony was the opportunity to see the changes in action, as in the weeks since the Serie A season concluded, the Stadio San Paolo has undergone refurbishment work.
Giant screens were installed along with a new lighting system that allowed them to create patterns in the night sky.
The biggest change is in the seats, as the peeling orange plastic benches were removed and seats in shades of blue and white installed, meant to replicate the waves of the sea in the Bay of Naples.
These are also, of course, the colours of Napoli Calcio.
There was another Napoli element to the ceremony, as the final torch bearer was captain and local hero Lorenzo Insigne.
Before // After at Stadio San Paolo. pic.twitter.com/p6vB49tZU2— Far From Vesuvius - Napoli News and Podcast (@FarFromVesuvius) July 3, 2019
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