Italy have a relatively short sporting tradition but as with most European countries, they love football. It is their most popular sport with basketball, cycling and volleyball being runners-up.
The Italian football team won the 2006 FIFA World Cup and is widely considered as the second best team in the whole of World Cup history, next only to Brazil who has won five championships. Italy has taken a total of four FIFA World Cup's (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006). They also were once the European champions (1968) as well as a two-time Central European International Cup winners.
Italy also has a strong foothold in a number of sports such as rugby, athletics, tennis, fencing, as well as winter sports. Italian riders are well-known in the cycling circuit for winning more World Cycling Championships than any country, with exception to Belgium. The Giro d'Italia is one of the three Grand Tours that is held every May. It normally runs or three weeks, much like the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France. Italy has participated in most of the modern Olympic Games since 1896, missing only the 1904 Games. They are one of the most successful nation to ever join either the Summer or Winter Games and have hosted the Games in three separate occasions.
Italians have a long sporting history. Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Italy. See also the list the most popular internet searches for "sports" in Italy.
Popular sports of Italy (see more)
Traditional or Regional Sports
- Calcio Fiorentino — an early form of football. Games are played annually in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence.
- Palla is an Italian word for ‘ball’ and is a traditional street game played in villages of Italy.
- Hitball — an indoor team sport from Italy in which players strike the volleyball sized ball into the opponent’s goal post only using the upper limbs.
Italian Sporting Success
- FIFA World Cup Champions: 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006.
Great athletes from Italy
- Mario Andretti (motorsports)
- Roberto Baggio (football)
- Fabio Cannavaro (football)
- Pietro Mennea (athletics)
Italy Sports trivia
- Volata was a short lived ball game that was developed in fascist Italy as a substitute for association football and rugby union. It was played by eight-man sides to rules that were a hybrid of those for football and handball. Basically the ball could be played by using the hands and feet, but for not more than three seconds.
- Italy has won the FIFA World Cup four times.
- Italy has competed at most of the modern Olympic Games, missing only the 1904 Summer Olympics.
Italy at major events
- Italy at the Summer Olympics
- Italy at the Winter Olympics
- Italy at the FIFA World Cup
- Italy at the Rugby World Cup
- Italy women's football team at the FIFA Women's World Cup
Past sporting events hosted in Italy
- 1934 FIFA World Cup was hosted in Italy
- 1956 Winter Olympic Games hosts Cortina d'Ampezzo
- 1960 Olympic Games summer host Rome
- 1960 Paralympic Games in Rome
- 1968 UEFA European (Euro) Football Championship
- 1980 UEFA European (Euro) Football Championship
- 1990 FIFA World Cup was hosted in Italy
- 1994 World Swimming Championships Rome
- 2006 Winter Olympic Games host Torino
- 2009 World Swimming Championships Rome
- 2009 Men's World Boxing Championships in Milan
- 2015 Mediterranean Beach Games in Pescara
Upcoming sporting events in Italy
- 2025 Special Olympics World Winter Games Turin, Italy
- 2025 Winter World University Games (Universiade) Turin, Italy
- 2026 Winter Olympics Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo
- 2026 Winter Paralympics Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo
Annual sporting events held in Italy
- Giro d'Italia (cycling)
- Marcialonga ("the long march") - 70km cross-country skiing event
- Serie A — the top level football league in Italy.
Sporting Facilities in Italy
- Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
- San Siro stadium (Milan)
- Stadio San Paolo (Naples)
Is there something missing? If you know of something that should be listed here, please let me know.
- List of the most popular sports in Italy
- Sport in the Vatican City
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