The 2023 European Women’s and Men’s Cups, which our national teams won in the 2021 edition, were paraded in the Arena on Thursday, June 8. The city of Verona is preparing to host the Women’s Eurovolley competition in August, which will see the “Azzurre” (the Italian team, “Azzurro” being the colour of their playing kit) make their European debut in the picturesque location of Arena.
It’s been 35 years since an international sports competition was held in the Arena, in fact, in 1988 the Soviet Union and the United States competed in a volleyball match in the Verona Amphitheater. It was the night of May 23rd and the two superpowers of the Cold War brought thousands of spectators for men’s volleyball to the Scaliger city.
It was just a friendly match for the opening ceremony of Mondovolley, but the match’s historical significance ensured that it was inscribed in the pages of volleyball history. The tension was palpable even before the whistle blew. The Berlin Wall was still impenetrable, and the Olympic Games would be staged in Seoul in a few months. The 3-0 triumph of Kiraly and Timmons in the Arena of Verona served as a prelude to the end of the Soviet Union’s volleyball leadership, which followed in another defeat in the Korean Games against the United States, when Karch Kiraly and his teammates climbed to the top of the podium.
The history of women’s Eurovolley
The European Women’s Volleyball Championships were held for the first time in Prague in 1949, with only seven national teams participating, and saw the victory of the then Soviet Union. Sixty years later, in 2019 there were twenty-four nations involved.
The Russian presence was strong in the women’s volleyball championships, with a total of 26 medals, 17 of which were won by the USSR, and 13 crowns per record. Following Russia, Italy, the only national team, together with Serbia, reached the top step of the podium three times, two times consecutively in the championships in 2007 and 2009, while also earning two silvers and three bronzes.
The 2023 Blue Calendar starts in the Arena of Verona
A setting full of historical references. Eurovolley will start with the opening match in the Arena on August 15th against Romania. The Azzurre, defending champions, will then move to Monza on August 18th to face Switzerland and, again in Monza, will face Bulgaria the following day. On August, 22nd, the Italian National will play against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Torino, which will also host the match against Croatia on 23rd August.
The pools will be run in a round-robin format, with the top four from each group progressing to the round of 16. Italy, which has the national team in Pool B, will also host the Eighth and Quarter Finals in Florence, and all matches will be broadcasted live on Rai Sport and Sky Sport channels.
This year, the Eurovolley tour will make a stop in all nine Italian cities that host the matches; travelling in a personalized van that becomes a stage for everyone to take a selfie with the cups. In Verona city, a three-day event started on the evening of Wednesday, June 7th at the Dogana Veneta in Lazise with the official presentation of the game Italy-Romania taking place on August 15th. On Thursday 8th June, the venue was the Istituto Comprensivo di Via Bassini in Vigasio, where Manuela Leggeri met the students, and in the evening the Cups were exhibited at the Pala AGSM AIM during the award ceremony of the Veronese volleyball clubs.