Istrian Peninsula – Aldo Drosina

Located on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, Pula is known for its protected harbour, beach-lined coast and spectacular Roman amphitheatre.   Today the city of Pola or Pula is officially bilingual with Croatian and Italian spoken by many locals.

Since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Pula has been part of the Republic of Croatia although up to 1918 it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.   Pula then became part of Italy as the Province of Pola. 

Occupied by the Germans during World War II the city was bombed intensely by the allies before the post war reconstruction period saw it officially become part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Unsurprisingly Pula is lesser known for the Aldo Drosina Stadium, the football home of the local side NK Istra 1961.  With a capacity of 9,800 the stadium has undergone reconstruction in recent years which allowed it to host the Croatian national team in a 2011 friendly international when they played the Czech Republic.

The stadium was named after a local football coach, Aldo Drosina but is also known as “Pula’s chocolate box.”   The Aldo Drosina Stadium grew out of the fabric of the former Campo del Littorio site which was located on the same land as the current stadium.

That friendly match between Croatia and the Czech Republic on February 9th 2011 marked the official opening of the new stadium.  But the opening ceremony for proud fans of the home club took place ten days later, when the Green and Yellows of NK Istra 1961 hosted Dinamo Zagreb.

Local fans of the club the ‘Demoni’ are as part of the fabric of the stadium as the team despite locals witnessing numerous team name changes over the years.   That feeling in part comes from the club playing in the traditional local yellow (local ‘she goat’ symbol) and green (symbolic of the Istrian interior) of the Istrian region.  Moreover the club badge features the amphiteatre the modern symbol of the city of Pula.