Italy to move Six Nations games from Rome to Florence

Italy fans at the Stadio Flaminio
Fans of Italian rugby may now have to watch the national team in Florence

Italy's home Six Nations matches are set to be played in Florence after rugby bosses lost patience with owners of Rome's Stadio Flaminio.

The Italian rugby federation has long bemoaned a lack of improvement work on its ageing facilities.

It has now cited an "absence of a definitive and rapid resolution of the problems with the Stadio Flaminio".

Florence's Stadio Artemio Franchi hosted its first test against Australia in November.

The Azzurri caused a memorable shock when beating France at the Stadio Flaminio in March, with the party atmosphere at the decaying arena highlighted as one of the reasons behind the success.

But the Italian Rugby Federation board has now decided that home matches in the Six Nations must be transferred to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Federation officials were left embarrassed in 2009 when plans to play world champions South Africa in a Test in Florence were ruined by the city's football team, Fiorentina, having a game on the same day in the same stadium.

The rugby match was switched to Udine at late notice.

Italy sold out the 80,000-seater San Siro in Milan for a New Zealand Test in 2009 but because both of the city's football clubs - AC Milan and Inter Milan - use the venue almost every weekend during the season, the rugby side cannot play there in the Six Nations.

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