Marelli is one of the world’s leading global suppliers to the automotive sector, with around 60,000 employees worldwide.

With a focus on innovation and manufacturing excellence, it is also committed to creating a safer, greener and healthier world.

At its powertrain plant in Bari, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, the commitment to healthier employees and public green spaces manifested itself in a soccer pitch dedicated to its hundreds of staff members.

In a reflection of its standing as a prestige quality turf variety, when this international leader in its field researched the best options for its new soccer pitch, Village Green was chosen specifically.

Marelli (formerly Magnetti Marelli) is a major employer in Bari and the wider Puglia region. It’s emphasis on a healthy workforce led to the development of a soccer pitch used by employees who compete in a local league and train during the week.

Head curator Mario Grieco said Village Green had proven itself a perfect surface that is enjoyed by all players.

“Village Green has delivered a good balance between root growth, shoots and cold temperature resiliency and has required minimal maintenance, which is important for a corporate pitch owner that by necessity is conscious of costs,” Mr Grieco said.

Pitch perfect

With its first year behind it, the pitch has developed perfectly with minimal but crucial attention from its curator and grounds staff.

“As the first year is the most delicate, we looked after the pitch closely, applying some initial sand dressing to improve the ground level,” he said.

“We fertilised all through winter to give Village Green a good balance between growth and toughness, while at the same time oversewed with rye grass.

“It was important to establish the rye grass root system without smothering too much Village Green during the winter months.

“As soon as the temperatures rose in early Spring, rye grass was vertimowed and kept at low mowing levels to ensure the pitch is always playable and presentable.”

Bari’s Mediterranean climate, with its mild, relatively rainy winters and hot summers, is ideally suited to the Village Green turf variety.
Although generally mild, during the winter, there can be cold days when the winds blow from Eastern Europe, and it can even snow. In summer, on the other hand, it can get very hot when the sirocco blows from Africa, with temperatures exceeding 40°C. Village Green has a proven track record in southern Europe and Australia of coping and thriving within these fluctuations.

Mr Grieco said its durability had even been demonstrated in the high traffic pitch goalmouth.

“That area is deliberately overseeded and experiences the usual damage but Village Green recovers quicker than other turf types due its plentiful rhizomes,” he said.

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