Sports in Italy

Italy’s rich tradition in sports spans a wide array of activities, making it a hub for both spectators and participants. Football might dominate the landscape, but basketball, volleyball, tennis, and cycling also hold significant places in the hearts of the Italian people. This article explores the most popular sports in Italy, providing details on where you can watch these sports and participate in local clubs.

Overview of Sports in Italy

Sport is not just a pastime in Italy; it is an integral part of the national culture and contributes significantly to the country’s economy. As reported by the Istituto per il Credito Sportivo (ICS), the sport sector added around €24.5 billion to Italy’s GDP in 2022. Whether it’s catching a Serie A football match or attending the high-speed Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza, Italy offers numerous opportunities to experience world-class sports performances.

Football (Calcio)

Undoubtedly Italy’s most popular sport, football, or ‘calcio’ as it is locally known, is deeply ingrained in Italian culture. The national football team, La Squadra Azzurra, has won four FIFA World Cup titles. Domestic leagues like Serie A attract massive local and international followings, with clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan leading the pack.

Basketball (Pallacanestro)

Italy’s basketball scene is robust, with both men’s and women’s teams achieving significant success in international arenas. The Lega Basket Serie A is the top-tier men’s basketball league, popular amongst local and expatriate communities.

Volleyball (Pallavolo)

This sport enjoys wide popularity, with numerous fans following local clubs and the national team’s exploits in international championships.


Italy has produced top-tier tennis talents who have competed fiercely in Grand Slam tournaments. The Italian Open, held in Rome, is one of the most prestigious clay court tournaments in the world.


With events like the Giro d’Italia, Italy is a key player on the global cycling stage. The scenic Italian landscape provides the perfect backdrop for this grueling sport that captures the interest of fans worldwide.

Calcio Storico

This ancient game, blending elements of football, rugby, and wrestling, originated in 16th-century Florence and continues to be celebrated with traditional fervor today.

Winter Sports

From skiing in the Alps to ice skating, Italy’s diverse geography makes it an ideal location for various winter sports, especially with Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo set to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Watching Sports in Italy

For those looking to catch live sports action, Italy offers numerous options:

  • Cable and Satellite TV: Channels like Sky Italia provide comprehensive coverage of various sports, including football and Formula 1.
  • Online Streaming: Platforms such as DAZN offer flexible, on-demand streaming services for a wide range of sports, accessible via multiple devices.
  • Public Viewing: Enjoy matches in local sports bars or community centers which often host viewing parties for major sporting events.

Participating in Local Sports Clubs

Expatriates interested in actively participating in sports can join local clubs that offer various activities, from amateur football leagues to sailing clubs. These clubs not only provide a way to stay active but also help new residents integrate into the community.

To find a local sports club in your area, check community boards, local social media groups, or ask for recommendations from neighbors and work colleagues.

Further Resources

For those moving to or living in Italy needing comprehensive sports coverage, subscribing to services like DAZN can keep you connected to your favorite sports. Visit DAZN for more information.

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