In northern Rome, surrounding a discreet soccer field, more than 60 erotic - both naked and adorned - Carrara marble Olympic athletes tower above, preening themselves or staring seductively at each other across the stadium.
The Stadio dei Marmi (Italian: "Stadium of the Marbles") is a sport stadium in the Foro Italico, a sport complex in Rome, central Italy.
It was designed as a complement to the annexed Academy of Physical Education (now the seat of CONI, Italian Olympic Committee), to be used by its students for training. The incredible Stadio dei Marmi, in the large Foro Italico sports complex, was a centerpiece of Mussolini's fascist Italy.
Perhaps that is why the Stadio, with its statues, field, and running track, is absent from most travel books, gay or straight, and is known and used mostly by locals. Like the entire complex, this stadium was designed by Enrico Del Debbio and built in 1932.
Part of its beauty is its surroundings with the Monte Mario and the banks of the Tiber, but most of its attraction is derived from its architectural elegance; in particular the enormous tiers topped by 60 white marble statues that were gifts from Italian cities in commemoration of 60 athletes.
The formidable 12-foot size statues of the Stadio dei Marmi is surreal, made more interesting by time: over the last 75 years, bronze fig leaves have been added to cover some of the chiseled penises, creating an embarrassed modesty; but luckily, many of the athletes still stand proud in all their naked glory.