It was a setting for circus events, cycling and the recreation of mock naval battles but that wasn’t all. The Arena in Milan was the home of Inter for almost 20 years as they played there regularly between 1930 and 1947. The pitch on Via Ripa Ticinese was the Nerazzurri’s first home on paper but in reality it was a total swamp with reports describing long waits to get the ball the back after it went off and matches suspended due to its unsuitability. The more elegant Arena therefore became the solution, especially for the winter seasons but essentially for all home matches. It had been opened in 1807 in the heart of Parco Sempione, replacing the historic Spanish fortifications that had been demolished by Napoleon.
It was a backdrop to great events including the first Italy match in 1910 (a 6-2 win over neighbours France) and the Derby d’Italia on 12th November 1933 which brought in record gate receipts of 400,000 Lire. Everything happened in the second half. Inter had gone two up through Meazza and Frione, Juve came back before Levratto scored the winner to make it 3-2. Nerazzurri history is strongly intertwined with the stadium where Inter won the Scudetto twice in 1937 and 1940 and the Coppa Italia. The great Italian champions of Helenio Herrra were immortalised with a team photo in the 1962-63 season at the Arena Civica. A tribute to where it all began.