Showing posts with label Renzo Piano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Renzo Piano. Show all posts

7 July 2018

1990 World Cup - Italy’s consolation prize

Azzurri beat England for third place

The Italian team that faced England in Bari to decide which nation finished third at the 1990 World Cup
The Italian team that faced England in Bari to decide
which nation finished third at the 1990 World Cup
Italy beat England 2-1 in Bari to claim third place in the World Cup finals, of which they were the host nation, on this day in 1990.

It was a small consolation for the team, managed by Azeglio Vicini, who had played some of the best football of all the competing nations to reach the semi-finals, only to be held to a 1-1 draw by Argentina in Naples and then lose the match on a penalty shoot-out.

Their heartbreak mirrored that suffered by England, who had also suffered a defeat on penalties in their semi-final against West Germany in Turin.

Many neutrals believed that Italy and England would have been more worthy finalists, particularly in retrospect after West Germany had beaten Argentina by a penalty five minutes from the end of 90 minutes in a match of cynical fouls and attritional football that is seen as the poorest World Cup final in the competition’s history.

Azeglio Vicini was Italy's head coach for the 1990 World Cup on home soil
Azeglio Vicini was Italy's head coach for the
1990 World Cup on home soil
The play-off for third place lacked the intensity of a final, reflecting the heavy weight of disappointment each set of players was carrying.

Yet it was important to the Azzurri to finish on a high note and a crowd of 51,426 inside the Stadio San Nicola - a new stadium built specially for Italia ‘90 - saw the game decided with three goals in the final quarter.

The decider was particularly significant - a penalty converted by Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci in the 86th minute.

The goal gave the Sicilian striker, an inspired choice for Vicini’s team who had been the revelation of the tournament, his sixth goal in Italia ‘90, earning him the coveted Golden Boot as the highest goalscorer, ahead of the Czechoslovakia forward Tomáš Skuhravý, whose tally of five included a hat-trick against Costa Rica in the round of 16 but whose team did not progress beyond the quarter-finals.

Italy’s first goal had been scored by Roberto Baggio, then with Fiorentina, who had been another of Italy’s stars. The brilliant playmaker had scored one of the best goals of the tournament against Czechoslovakia in the group stages.

Vicini’s team, in fact, was packed with exciting talent.  With one of the best defences in international football - comprising the AC Milan players Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, and the Internazionale duo Giuseppe Bergomi and Riccardo Ferri - the coach could afford to attack with gusto and in addition to Baggio and Schillaci, he told the likes of Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Donadoni and Gianluca Vialli to express their creative instincts whenever there was opportunity.

The Azzurri's brilliant playmaker, Roberto Baggio, scored against England
The Azzurri's brilliant playmaker, Roberto
Baggio, scored against England
The match was the first between Italy and England at a World Cup finals. The second, at the Brazil 2014 tournament, also ended in a 2-1 win for the Azzurri, although in the event neither qualified for the round of 16.

Of 27 international meetings in total, eight of them in competitive championship matches, Italy have 10 wins to England’s eight.

Today, England play Sweden in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, hoping to reach the semi-finals for the first time since Italia ‘90.

Italy, meanwhile, have been absent from the finals for the first time since 1958, their 60-year run of qualifying ended coincidentally by Sweden, who beat them in a two-leg play off last November.

Their new coach is Roberto Mancini, who was a member of Vicini’s squad at Italia ‘90 but did not play.

Renzo Piano's Stadio San Nicola, built especially for the  1990 World Cup finals, is now the home of FC Bari
Renzo Piano's Stadio San Nicola, built especially for the
1990 World Cup finals, is now the home of FC Bari
Travel tip:

The Stadio San Nicola in Bari was designed by the award-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano, whose other creations include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and the Shard in London.  He saw the stadium as resembling an open flower, with spectators housed in 26 petals separated from one another by eight-metre wide void spaces. Purpose-built for the 1990 World Cup, it has a capacity of more than 58,000. After the World Cup it was the venue for the 1991 European Cup final between Marseille and Red Star Belgrade and became the home of FC Bari, who currently play in Serie B, the second tier of Italian domestic football.

The Stadio delle Alpi in Turin was unpopular with fans for a variety of reasons
The Stadio delle Alpi in Turin was unpopular with fans
for a variety of reasons
Travel tip:

Work on the Stadio delle Alpi in Turin began in 1988 and was completed in time for the World Cup.  Apart from hosting matches in the Italia ‘90 tournament it was to be the new home of Juventus and FC Torino following the closure of the Stadio Olimpico. But it was never popular. Apart from its out-of-town location - 8km (5 miles) from the city centre - compared with the Olimpico, fans disliked the stadium for giving them a poor viewing experience, mainly because of the distance between the stands and the pitch, with an athletics track surrounding the playing area. Advertising hoardings also affected the view.  Many fans boycotted it. One Coppa Italia match between Juventus and Sampdoria attracted just 237 spectators. It was demolished in 2006. Torino moved to a redeveloped Stadio Olimpico, which they shared with Juve until a purpose-built Juventus Stadium, with no running track, was built on the site of the Stadio delle Alpi.

More reading:

Was Roberto Baggio Italy's greatest player?

Azeglio Vicini and the heartbreak of Italia '90

The golden moment of Salvatore Schillaci

Also on this day:

1573: The death of architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola

1901: The birth of film director Vittorio De Sica


16 March 2018

Emilio Lunghi - athlete

Italy's first Olympic medallist 

Emilio Lunghi in his Sport Pedestre Genova club vest
Emilio Lunghi in his Sport Pedestre
Genova club vest
Emilio Lunghi, a middle-distance runner who was the first to win an Olympic medal in the colours of Italy, was born on this day in 1886 in Genoa.

Competing in the 800 metres at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, Lunghi took the silver medal behind the American Mel Sheppard. In a fast-paced final, Lunghi's time was 1 minute 54.2 seconds, which was 1.8 seconds faster than the previous Olympic record buts still 1.4 seconds behind Sheppard.

It was the same Olympics at which Lunghi's compatriot Dorando Pietri was controversially disqualified after coming home first in the marathon, when race officials took pity on him after he collapsed from exhaustion after entering the stadium and helped him across the line.

A versatile athlete who raced successfully at distances from 400m up to 3,000m, Lunghi was national champion nine times in six events and is considered the first great star of Italian track and field.

An all-round sportsman, Lunghi was a talented gymnast, swimmer and boxer, but after winning a 3,000m-race in his home city he was encouraged to develop his potential as a runner by joining Sport Pedestre Genova, at the time the most important athletics club in Liguria.

In June 1906 in the historic city of Vercelli in Piedmont, Lunghi took his first national title in the 1500m. In the next six years, he was at different times Italian champion over 400m and 400m hurdles, 800m, 1000m (three times), 1500m (twice) and 1200m steeplechase.

Piazza di Siena in Rome's Borghese Gardens, where Lunghi won the 400m and 700m events to qualify for the 1908 Olympics
Piazza di Siena in Rome's Borghese Gardens, where Lunghi
won the 400m and 700m events to qualify for the 1908 Olympics
The qualifying competition for the 1908 Olympics took place on a track round the Piazza di Siena within the Borghese Gardens in Rome, watched by members of the Italian royal family. Lunghi won both the 400m and 1000m events, the latter in a world record time of 2 min 31 sec.

In London, Lunghi should have participated in the 1500m as well as the 800m, but the qualifying rules were that only the winners of the eight heats could take part in the final and Lunghi was beaten into second place in his by the Englishman Norman Hallows, although his time was quicker than any of the other seven heat winners.

As it was he had to content himself with the 800m, which Sheppard won after deciding to run a very fast first lap and building such a lead that Lunghi was unable to catch him, even though the American's second lap was almost seven seconds slower than his first.

After the Olympics, Lunghi spent a profitable year in North America, where he participated in 31 races and won 27, setting world records at 700 yards, 880yds and 1320yds (two-thirds of a mile).

Lunghi spent a year racing in the USA and Canada
Lunghi spent a year racing in
the USA and Canada
He had been invited to America by the Irish-American Athletics Club, for whom Sheppard raced. His accomplishments during his time there were recognised with honorary life membership of the club, on whose own track at Celtic Park stadium in Queens, New York, he set the world's fastest time for the 700yds.

His 880yd record came only eight days later at the Canadian championships Montreal.

Returning home, he continued to collect national titles, but his second Olympics was a disappointment.  At the Stockholm Games in 1912 he was eliminated at the semi-final stage in both the 400m and 800m events.

The First World War denied him a third Olympics and at the end of the conflict he announced his retirement from competitive running. A seaman by trade, he helped set up a trade union for dock workers and merchant seamen, his talent as an administrator earning him a role at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, where he was a judge and assistant to the newly-created Athletics Technical Commissioner.

He died in 1925 in Genoa at the age of just 39, having contracted a severe bacterial infection in the days before antibiotics had been discovered.

The Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Vercelli
Travel tip:

Vercelli, where Lunghi won his first Italian track title, a city of around 46,500 inhabitants some 85km (53 miles) west of Milan and about 75km (46 miles) northeast of Turin, is reckoned to be built on the site of one of the oldest settlements in Italy, dating back to 600BC. It is home to numerous Roman relics, the world's first publicly-funded university and the Basilica of Sant'Andrea, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Romanesque buildings in Italy.

The Porto Antico in Genoa
The Porto Antico in Genoa
Travel tip:

Genoa is Italy's sixth largest city, with an urban population of more than 500,000 and up to 1.5 million living along the coastline.  The city's historic centre consists of numerous squares and narrow alleys, while there are also many fine palaces.  The waterfront area around the Porto Antico has been redeveloped to designs by Renzo Piano as a cultural centre, with the Aquarium and Museum of the Sea now among the city's major tourist attractions.

More reading:

Dorando Pietri and the most famous Olympic disqualication

How Luigi Beccali brought home Italy's first track Gold

Valentina Vezzali - Italy's most decorated female athlete 

Also on this day:

1940: The birth of controversial film maker Bernardo Bertolucci

1978: Italy in shock as Red Brigades kidnap former PM


14 September 2017

Renzo Piano – architect

Designer of innovative buildings is now an Italian senator

Renzo Piano was born into a family of builders
Renzo Piano was born into a family of builders
Award-winning architect Renzo Piano was born on this day in 1937 in Genoa.

Piano is well-known for his high-tech designs for public spaces and is particularly famous for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, which he worked on in collaboration with the British architect, Richard Rogers.

Among the many awards and prizes Piano has received for his work are the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for architecture in 1995, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2008.

Piano was born into a family of builders and graduated from the Polytechnic in Milan in 1964. He completed his first building, the IPE factory in Genoa, in 1968 with a roof of steel and reinforced polyester.

He worked with a variety of architects, including his father, Carlo Piano, until he established a partnership with Rogers, which lasted from 1971-1977.

The Shard in London is one of Piano's landmark buildings
The Shard in London is one of
Piano's landmark buildings
They made the Centre Georges Pompidou look like an urban machine with their innovative design and it immediately gained the attention of the international architectural community.

In Italy, Piano designed a new look for the old port of Genoa to transform it from a rundown industrial area into a cultural centre and tourist attraction. Other important commissions in Italy were the San Nicola Stadium in Bari, started in 1987 and completed in time for the 1990 football World Cup, and the Auditorium Parco della Musica, built between 1994 and 2002 in Rome.

One of his most celebrated 21st century projects, notable for its green architecture, was a new building for the California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was completed in 2008.

Piano converted a massive Fiat factory in Turin into a convention centre and venue for the city’s trade fair. His design for the Shard in London made it the tallest building in western Europe when it was completed in 2012 and it now towers above the historical skyline of London.

In 2013 Piano was appointed Senator for Life in the Italian Senate by President Giorgio Napolitano.

Piano currently lives in Paris with his wife, Milly. They have four children.

Piano's harbour development in his native Genoa
Piano's harbour development in his native Genoa
Travel tip:

The old harbour in Genoa, porto antico, is the ancient part of the port which served the city when the main access to it was from the sea. Renzo Piano redeveloped the area for public access, restoring the historic buildings and creating new landmarks such as the Aquarium and the Bolla (Sphere).

The 'armadillo shells' of the Auditorium Parco della Musica
The 'armadillo shells' of the Auditorium Parco della Musica
Travel tip:

The Parco della Musica in Rome is a complex of music venues located in the part of Rome that hosted the 1960 summer Olympics. Piano designed it to have three theatres, covered with what New York Times critic Sam Lubell described as 'weathered, armadillo-like steel shells', and an outdoor theatre set in a park. During construction, excavations uncovered the foundations of a villa and an oil press dating from the sixth century BC. Piano adjusted his design to accommodate the archaeological remains and included a small museum to house the artefacts that were discovered.