In 1955, the International Olympic Committee selects Rome as the seat of the XVII Olympiad. It is an important opportunity for Italy, and one of redemption for the Capital. For the games, it becomes clear that the city lacks the adequate infrastructure to host the event but the nation’s building technology lags behind. Therefore, the government directly commissions the design and construction of sports facilities to established designers and construction firms.
The only exception is the competition for the Olympic Velodrome, to be built in the suburban EUR district. It is a particularly complex project, for which there very little direction given; the competition brief only provides specifications concerning the flexibility of the facility, visibility and the connection to the external thoroughfare in order to facilitate direct access to the participants in possible cycling races. The only physical constraint manifests as a material specification for the track, which is to be built in wood. Among the 30 entries, the jury selects the one of the Roman architect Cesare Ligini. Built between 1957 and 1959, the Velodrome is designed to offer visual comfort and access to the 18,000 seats. The facility works beautifully. However after the Olympics, the last public event held there is the 1968 World Cycling Championship, after which any maintenance ceases and forty years of neglect bring about the demolition of the complex in 2008.