Former Hippodrome owner Gaetano Papalia spoke to ‘Te la do io Tokyo’ and Centro Suono Sport on the flooding in the area and condition of the decaying hippodrome/horse track.

On Friday, 23/2/2017, questions will be answered on the uncertainty of Stadio della Roma. With President James Pallotta exclaiming that a failure to approve the stadium would be a “catastrophe for Rome and for A.S. Roma,” the pressure is on the city council to approve the project. However, Mayor Virginia Raggi and Cinque Stelle leader Giuseppe “Beppe” Grillo have been advocating for a new location.

On Thursday, Grillo claimed “Selling tickets at Tor di Valle? They better come with a life preserver.” Such inefficiency and disapproval by the cabinet towards the plan has angered the club’s office, the citizens of Rome, and the millions of the Giallorossi fans.

The former partner-owner of the property that sold it to Parnasi shed light on the supposed flooding and environmental issues.


The Tor di Valle is known by everyone in Rome. How did you come into contact with Parnasi about the sale?

In the mid 2000s we started considering selling the property because we could no longer pay its bills. We started to test the waters in 2003, but the idea of the stadium came about in 2008 when I had the opportunity to meet with representatives of Rosella Sensi. They seemed put off by the amount of investment needed to revitalize the infrastructure and road system. A year later there was a proposition from an English company, but the British withdrew a day before the 50 million euro deal was supposed to close because the Capitoline Assembly blocked their planned usage.


Is it true that in two out of the five surveys there was asbestos found? 

Absolutely not because between 2000 and 2001 we paid for a service to come and clean out all the asbestos in the roof and in the foundations. The removal was made into seven different boxes and cost around 700 million euros.


Has there ever been flooding?

No, and this concern has amazed me because these environmental associations were never concerned when we had 700 race horses using the track. There was no overflowing of the Tiber, and even when there were heavy rains – when the Ostiense was submerged – the two de-watering pumps in Tor di Valle were used. They worked automatically and drained everything. We never had to cancel a day because of bad weather, in 50 years. Even when there was snow we were equipped.


Have you ever met with the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage?

Absolutely not. In 2013, when the building was 50 years old, I remember Parnasi acquired a certificate in which the superintendent excluded the cultural value of the artifacts within the district. It was even reassured  by the notary.



This article is an adaptation from @ForzaRoma