Like many European countries, the most famous sport is association football, and Italy is not left out of this list. Italy is one of the numerous countries in the world that is genuine about football, and this is typified by the passion the fans display across the numerous stadia in the country on match days.
You only needed to see how Italian football fans flocked to Turin to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo to their country during his transfer to Juventus to know how passionate Italians can be about soccer in their country.
Facts about the Italian National Team
Some of the oldest football clubs in the game of football today are based in Italy. Its football league (the Serie A, pronounced say-ree-ah) is one of the top five leagues in the whole wide world.
To cap it all off, the Italian national football team has won the World Cup four times. This feat places them second with Germany on four World Cup wins – only Brazil has more. It is no surprise they are considered one of the best national teams in the world.
However, recent times have not been the best for them, as they have largely underperformed on the world stage and have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, although they won the Euros 2020 that was played in 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The best teams in Italy are also not left out. Italian teams have won eight major European competition trophies, making Italy one of the most successful European nations in club football.
The Italian Football League System
The Italian football league system is the interconnected system of association football in Italy. The country has many football clubs in its soccer league setup, with about 594 divisions having over 3000 teams. All leagues adopt the promotion and relegation system, and a team from San Marino competes in the Italian football league system.
The first tier of the Italian league system is Serie A, which comprises 20 teams. The Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie A governs this league. The next league is Serie B, governed by the Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie B. All cities in Italy have teams in both leagues.
The third league is the Lega Pro and was formerly named Serie C. The Lega Pro comprises three leagues of twenty teams each and is governed by the Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico. All Lega Pro, Serie B, and Serie A teams are professional.
Choosing the best teams in Italy was never going to be an easy task. While the key factor will be the number of trophies won, other factors such as players produced/acquired and interesting gameplay will be selected.
So, here are the best soccer teams in Italy starting from the least:
One of Italy’s first professional football teams, it was formed as Genoa Cricket and Football Club S.p.A. in 1893, hence the acronym. Il Grifone (the griffin) and I Rossoblu (the Red and Blues) are their nicknames. Genoa has ten trophies, although all of these trophies are domestic (nine Serie A trophies and one Coppa Italia title).
Genoa was founded as Genoa Cricket and Athletic Club in 1893 as the first Italian football team. It is the oldest active Italian football team, with more than 125 years of history. Most of Genoa’s league titles were won in their heydays – their first title was in 1898, and the last was in 1924. Genoa is also the first Italian football team to be involved in an international match.
Currently, the team plies their trade in Serie B after finishing 19th the previous season. Genoa plays their football at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, which has been their home since 1911. Stadio Luigi Ferraris has a capacity of 36,536 and is also the home ground of Sampdoria.
Currently playing in the second tier, Parma Calcio 1913 is one of Italy’s oldest professional football teams. Strangely, they do not have a single league title/Scudetto to their name, but they do have some domestic and international trophies in their trophy cabinet. This places them above Genoa in this list. Parma was in a rich vein of form (and luck), winning most of their trophies between 1992 and 2002, and beating big teams while doing that.
After the 2001-2002 season, financial issues cropped up when they achieved their best league finish (second place). This caused the team to relegate three divisions in less than four years and was declared bankrupt in 2015, but by 2018, they were back in Serie A. Recently, players like the Ivorian Gervinho have helped the team enormously.
Crociati (translated as The Crusaders) have won three Coppa Italia titles, two UEFA Super Cups, one European Super Cup, one Supercoppa Italiana, and one UEFA Cup Winners.
Parma plays their home matches at the Stadio Ennio Tardini and is seventh on the Serie B log. Parma academy graduate and Italy’s long-serving goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is currently back with the squad to push the club back to its rightful place – the Serie A.
With ten major trophies to their name, Bologna Football Club 1909 S.p.A. had much of their trophy success in the twenties and the forties, winning six of seven league titles or Scudetti. However, they have been relegated to Serie B four times. More specifically, they have spent 12 seasons in the second tier of football through the last thirty-four years.
Ownership of Bologna has changed multiple times, especially in the early parts of the previous decade, due to financial mismanagement. Joey Saputo finally purchased the club through a Canadian consortium, which has brought some peace ever since.
Bologna competes in the Serie A and plays home games at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. This stadium has a capacity of 38,279 and is the tenth-largest stadium in Serie A since 1927. They have participated in over 75 Serie A seasons, the ninth-longest Serie A participation streak. Their nicknames are Rossoblu ((the Red and Blues), Il Vecchio Balordo (The Old Fool), I Veltri (The Greyhounds), and I Petroniani (The Petronians).
Bologna has ten national and international trophies – seven Italian Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Il Toro was established in 1906 as Foot-Ball Club Torino and played its home games at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino in Turin. In 2005, the club’s name was changed to Torino Football Club.
Torino Football Club fans call the team the Bull, which can be found on the team’s badge. This is the traditional symbol of the city in which the club is located; however, the maroon color of the club’s home jersey is not. They maintain a fierce rivalry with fellow city club Juventus, and this is one of the first derbies in Italy (Derby Della Mole). Currently, they are ninth on the Serie A table.
Torino was a force to reckon with in their first years, but an air crash killed the whole team in 1949. The team was coming back from a friendly with Benfica when the plane carrying the team crashed into the wall of the Basilica in Turin, commonly referred to as the Superga air disaster. The crash was credited to thick fog and a faulty altimeter in the plane.
Toro has twelve trophies in their cabinet at the moment, all domestic – although they have the 1991 Mitropa Cup to their name and finished second in the 1991-92 UEFA Cup. They have seven Italian Serie A titles – the fifth-most of any club – and five Coppa Italia titles. Five of these league titles were won consecutively between 1944 and 1949.
S.S.C. Napoli was first created as Associazione Calcio Napoli in 1926 and is presently referred to as Gli Azzurri (The Blues) and I Partenopei (the Partenopeans) by their fans. Currently, they play their home games at the renamed Estadio Diego Armando Maradona (formerly known as Stadio San Paolo), which has a capacity of 60,023. The stadium was renamed after Maradona’s death in 2020.
S.S.C. Napoli has ten major trophies to their name and had their glory days in the eighties and nineties. With the diminutive Diego Maradona, Napoli swept teams and titles aside en route to two Scudettos, a UEFA Cup, and one Supercoppa Italiana. However, financial mismanagement, a common trend in Italian football teams at the time, caused the club to relegate. While they were able to come up to the top tier after two seasons, they declared bankruptcy.
By 2007, however, they were back in Serie A, where they had established themselves as one of the best teams, with one Supercoppa Italiana and three Coppa Italia. Currently, they are joint-first on the table.
S.S.C. Napoli is the fourth most supported team in all of Italy and has no major rivals. Under new president Aurelio De Laurentiis, the club was ranked the fifth-highest earning club in Italy, with over $180 million in revenue during the 2017/18 season. Forbes ranked the club as the fifth most valuable football club in Serie A and is a member of the European Club Association (E.C.A.).
Trophies won are six Coppa Italia titles, two Italian Serie A titles, two Supercoppa Italiana titles, and one UEFA Cup.
Founded in 1926 due to a merger, A.C.F. Fiorentina is a well-respected Italian football club. While they might not have had solid success recently, they have shown a will and tenacity only common to certain other Italian teams. They finished in the top two of the Serie A for four consecutive seasons between 1956 -1960, winning two league titles and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup but failed to win the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League (they got to both finals).
A.C.F. Fiorentina calls the Stadio Artemio Franchi home which has a capacity of 43,147. After several reconstructions, makeovers, and renovations, the stadium has been renamed many times and is nicknamed the Viola (Purple) by fans and football enthusiasts. Like some other Italian teams, the club was declared bankrupt and was relegated to the third tier of Italian football in 2002/03.
Fiorentina’s biggest rivals are Juventus, although it can be difficult to tell as Vlahovic, Viola’s top young striker, left for Juventus last season. There have been other transfers, but none as heart-breaking and surprising as Dusan’s, although in fairness, he wanted more.
Excluding the new Europa Conference League, Fiorentina and some other teams have played in the final of all major continental competitions. They won the 1961 UEFA Cup Winners Cup and finished second the next year. Trophies won include; six Coppa Italia, two Italian Serie A titles, one Supercoppa Italiana, and one UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
Had Roma not won the Europa Conference League some months ago, Lazio would be fourth on this list. Societal Sportiva Lazio S.p.A., formed in 1900 and formerly called Societa Podistica Lazio, shares the Stadio Olimpico with Roma while maintaining a high and frenetic rivalry. Hence, it is not surprising that violence is high when these two teams clash in their derby, called the Derby Della Capitale, or capital Derby, and possibly in cup competitions.
Lazio enjoyed their best run in 2000 when they conquered Europe, winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup. However, all has not been so smooth as Lazio was relegated the year before their success due to their purported role in a match-fixing scandal.
Lazio is the sixth-most followed Italian team in Serie A. Biancocelesti have won sixteen trophies in total; two Italian Serie A titles, five Suppercoppa Italiana titles, seven Coppa Italian titles, one UEFA Super Cup, and one UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
One of the two biggest Italian football clubs based in Rome, the Giallorossi are the club with the fifth-biggest following in Serie A. Roma’s first European cup success came in 2022, with the Yellow and Reds beating Feyenoord to claim the inaugural Europa Conference League. Experienced Roma coach Mourinho crying when Roma qualified for the final would forever remain in the hearts of fans and football enthusiasts alike.
Created in 1927 due to a merger as Associazione Sportiva Roma S.p.A. (Rome Sports Association) by Italo Foschi, the club plays its home games at the Stadio Olimpico, which it shares with Lazio. The stadium has a capacity of 70,634, and the current kit colors were originally worn by Roma F.C., which was one of the mergers for the club.
The club has a passionate following, and meetings with seven sisters (top seven Italian clubs) are often marred by violence that results in numerous injuries. Other names for the Giallorossi are Lupi (Wolves), La Lupa (The She-Wolf), Lupetti (Little Cubs), La Magica (The Magic One), and Capitolini (Capitoline).
Roma has lifted 16 major trophies, which are: three Italian Serie A titles, two Suppercoppa Italiana titles, nine Coppa Italia titles (second only to Juventus), one Europa Conference League, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
Football Club Internazionale Milan (also called Internazionale or simply Inter) is the third biggest club in Italian football, after AC Milan and Juventus. Founded in 1909, Inter is the only team to have never been relegated from the top tier of Italian football.
Inter largely conquered Europe in the sixties and amassed 14 titles between 2005 and 2015. Current AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho was instrumental in the 2005 run, helping Inter to her first ever treble in 2008.
Inter shares San Siro (called Stadio Giuseppe Meazza), the largest stadium in Italy, with fierce rivals AC Milan. Derbies with Milan and Juventus can be such exciting and passionate encounters, and each team and fans struggle to outdo themselves on the pitch and in the stands; San Siro seats more than 75,000 people at once.
I Nerazzurri (The Black and Blues), La Beneamata (The Well-Cherished One), or Il Biscione (The Big Grass Snake) have won 42 domestic and international trophies, which are: nineteen Italian Serie A titles, seven Coppa Italia titles, five Supercoppa Italiana titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, three UEFA Europa League titles, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Italian football giants AC Milan (formerly Milan Cricket and Football Club) are undoubtedly the second-best team in Italy. With 49 titles, Milan has featured quality footballers who have made their mark on world and Italian football. However, most of these have been in the past, but the future looks promising with Stefano Pioli at the helm. Milan is the current defending Serie A champion and looks good enough to retain the league title this year.
Founded in 1899, Milan currently plays in Serie A and is nicknamed I Rossoneri (The Red and Blacks) and Il Diavolo (The Devil) due to their strip colors. Milan has a storied past filled with legends such as Kaka, Baresi, Pirlo, and Maldini; except for two seasons (1980/81 and 1982-83), Milan has always played in Serie A.
Milan is one of several clubs worldwide with a large global following. The derby match between Inter and AC Milan is one of the most passionate derbies in the world and is called the Derby Della Madonnina. Many of these derbies feature club fans at either end of the stadium creating elegant tifos for display during the match.
Because Milan has won more than ten Scudetti, they can have a star on their bag, and they are allowed to display a special badge in honor of their 5 European Cup wins.
Milan is one of the wealthiest in club and world football and is a member of the European Club Association. Milan has nineteen Italian Serie A titles (two Serie B titles included), five Coppa Italia titles, seven Supercoppa Italia trophies, seven UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Cup Winners Cups, five UEFA Super Cups, three Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup.
If you thought a team other than Juventus was going to take the top spot, you would, of course, be wrong. Looking at what they have achieved in past years and very recent seasons, there is no doubt from any angle. Juventus are nicknamed La Vecchia Signora (the Old Lady), Le Zebras (the zebras), and I Bianconieri (the black and white).
Juventus have won seventy competitive trophies (international and national) since the club was founded. This means they are the only Italian football team with over 50 trophies. This also makes them one of the most successful football teams in Europe.
Below is a breakdown of their seventy trophies:
- 36 Italian Serie A titles (record holder),
- 14 Coppa Italia titles (record holder),
- 9 Suppercoppa Italiana titles (record holder),
- 3 UEFA Europa League titles,
- 2 UEFA Champions League titles,
- 2 Intercontinental Cups,
- 2 UEFA Super Cups,
- 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup, and
- 1 Intertoto Cup.
Juventus have used many grounds in recent years, with their current ground being Juventus Stadium. They have also displayed a propensity to bring in star performers over the years, typified by the number of Ballon D’Or and FIFA Best Player of The Year winners that have passed through the club. Examples are Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Baggio, Pavel Nedved, and, more recently, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Juventus is one very big club in terms of fan popularity and finances. With one Scudetto won each decade for the past eight decades, Juventus is surely one to look out for in coming years. Their gameplay might not look like that of champions at the moment, but surely, they will improve; they always do.
So, there you have it, the best football teams in Italy. From this list, you will not only discover that Italy as a country loves football, but also that they have produced some of the best teams and players in the game. While the country has recorded many successes at a national level, several football clubs have also retained the country’s pride. Players from all parts of the world get delighted when listed on the radar of Italian teams because it’s a good league to be in.