popular sport in Italy is football, or soccer. Although the game
has not come from a long line of tradition, as for example, as judo
is in Japan, it is famous for being the country's national
There are various teams all over the country,
but the top league is made up of the Lega Nazionale Professionisti
(National Professional League) which has two divisions, A and B.
Division A has 20 clubs nationally and division B has 22 clubs.
Below this league is the Lega Professionisti (Professional League)
which is seperated into five divisions, the top two divisions having
18 clubs each. Under these are 5 more levels each divided into regional
divisions, so it is apparent that soccer is taken extremely seriously
The game was first started in Genoa, in 1900,
where the Championship was won five times, before joining the official
FIFA body in 1905. After the First World War, the game grew hugely
in popularity and smaller clubs joined, making soccer in Italy the
well known game it is today. The national team has won the World
Cup in 1934,1938 and in1982 and recently Italy hosted the event
in1990, when it finished third.
Cycling is another sport enjoyed by many Italians.
There is the famous Giro d'Italia, the race inspired by the
Tour de France, which was started in Milan in 1909. These days you
cycle eight stages, cycling 2448 kilometres, starting and ending
in Florence. Along with the Tour de France and the World Cycling
Championships, Giro d'Italia makes up the Triple Crown of
Watersports are many and varied. Italy's
first surfing school was opened in Mauro, Sardinia; Diving can be
had on the Tremitti Islands off Puglia, and along the coast of Tuscany.There
are yachting regattas in Genoa, and sailing on any of the five largest
Horseriding is a great favourite, both the actual
riding and the watching of races. The most famous race being the
biennial Palio, which is the bareback horse race that has taken
place in Sienna since the fouteenth century. Rome houses the International
Horse Show in May, and through out the year there is flat racing,
starting in February for a two month season.
With the perfect climate, golf can be played all
the year round, and there are hundreds of golf courses all over
Italy, by the lakes, by the sea and in the mountains. Golf was first
played by the Romans, being called 'Paganica', and they used a stick
and leather ball filled with feathers!
In 1922 the Monza autodrome near Milan became
the first country, after France to host a motor race using the name
Grand Prix. It is still home to Italy's motor racing and is
enjoyed by thousands of Italians year after year.
The ‘prancing horse' of Ferrari is of course now synonymous
culture and the yearly Grand Prix at Monza, north of Milan, is a
festival in itself, any car racing aside!