The 10 best soccer teams in Italy

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Jason Ence

January 28th, 2022

Italy is one of the most passionate soccer nations in the world, and its club teams evoke feelings of intense love. Here are the 10 "calico" teams you should know about, both for their recent success and historical significance.

10. Bologna

Nickname: I Rossoblù (The Red and Blues)
Founded: 1909
League: Serie A

Winners of 10 major trophies, Bologna’s success is rooted in the distant past. They have been relegated to Serie B four times, spending 12 seasons in the second tier over the past 34 years. However, they were Italy’s dominant team between the 1920s and 1940s, winning six of their seven Scudettos in that span. Bologna have also won two Coppa Italias, including their last major trophy in 1974.

9. Parma

Nickname: I Crociati (The Crusaders)
Founded: 1913
League: Serie B

Currently residing in Serie B, no list would be complete without this club. While Parma have never won a Scudetto, their eight major trophies are 11th-most in Italian history, and they include two UEFA Cup trophies and a UEFA Super Cup. Between 1992 and 2002, they were one of the best clubs in Europe.

Financial issues and bankruptcy saw Parma relegated a few years later, and in 2015 they were in Italy’s fourth division. However, they returned to Serie A in 2018 before getting relegated last year, but legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon returned there this season to try to help return them to the top flight. Unfortunately, they sit 13th in the table and are unlikely to return anytime soon.

8. Torino

Nickname: Il Toro (The Bull)
Founded: 1906
League: Serie A

Torino have won 12 major trophies in their history, all of them coming domestically. In their early years, Torino were a power, before tragedy struck in 1949 when their entire team was killed in the Superga air disaster.  Their seven Serie A crowns are the fifth-most of any club, and they have also raised the Coppa Italia a total of five times. However, their last trophy win came all the way back in 1993.

Over the past few decades, Torino have bounced between Serie A and Serie B, but have enjoyed decent success of late. Right now, they are currently fighting to avoid relegation yet again. Il Toro play in Turin and are fierce rivals with Juventus, with the Derby della Mole being one of the oldest derbies in Italian football.

7. Napoli

Nickname: Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
Founded: 1926
League: Serie A

With 10 major trophies to their name. Napoli’s greatest success came during the 1980s and 1990s with Diego Maradona leading their attack. During that time, they won two Serie A titles, a Supercoppa Italiana, and the UEFA Cup. However, they suffered hard times afterwards and were relegated to Serie B in 1998, and despite promotion two years later they declared bankruptcy in 2004.

In 2007, they returned to Serie A, and have had a rise in fortunes over the past decade. They have won three Coppa Italia trophies in the past decade, as well as another Supercoppa Italiana, and currently sit second in the Serie A table. They are the fourth-most supported team in Italy, and have no major rivals.

6. Fiorentina

Nickname: Viola (The Purples)
Founded: 1926
League: Serie A

While success has evaded them in recent history, Fiorentina were a soccer power in the 1950s and 1960s as they finished in the top-two of Serie A every season between 1956 and 1960. Winners of 10 major trophies, they claimed the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961, and were runners up the following year. They have also reached the final of both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup, falling short in each instance.

The club declared bankruptcy in 2002, and were relegated two levels to Serie C. However, they returned to Serie A just two years later and have remained since. Their biggest rivals are Juventus, and they are one of just two clubs to reach the finals of all three major European competitions.

5. Roma

Nickname: I Giallorossi (The Yellow and Reds)
Founded: 1927
League: Serie A

As their name indicates, AS Roma play in Rome and are the fifth-most supported team in the league. Roma have won 15 major trophies in their history, but none since they lifted the 2008 Coppa Italia for the ninth time, second-most in the country behind Juventus.

The Wolves of Rome have won the Scudetto three times, the last one back in 2000-01, but they have not achieved European success. Their fans are passionate, but their ultras have been involved in numerous stabbing incidents with opposing fanbases over the last 15 years.

4. Lazio

Nickname: I Biancocelesti (The White and Sky Blues)
Founded: 1900
League: Serie A

Winners of 15 major trophies in their history, Lazio won the 2018-19 Coppa Italia for the seventh time. They have won Serie A twice, the last one coming in 1999-2000 when they were one of the best teams in Europe. It came the year after they won their only continental awards as they won the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup and UEFA Super Cup. This came after they spent six seasons in Serie B following a match-fixing scandal.

Lazio are the sixth-most supported club in the country, and the capitol club are fierce rivals of Roma. The two clubs share the Stadio Olimpico as their home ground, and the Derby della Capitale has often been marred by fan violence. Unfortunately, Lazio’s ultras have often been associated with some of the uglier parts of the beautiful game.

3. Inter Milan

Nickname: I Nerazzurri (The Black and Blues)
Founded: 1908
League: Serie A

The reigning Italian champions, Inter Milan won their 19th Serie A title in 2020-21 and are leading the table again this season. It was the first trophy for the Nerazzurri since winning their seventh Coppa Italia back in 2010-11, as they have been rejuvenated over the past few years. As a club, they have won a total of 41 major trophies, including six Supercoppa Italianas.

To go along with their domestic success, Inter have won three Champions League trophies, three UEFA Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups. Inter was the dominant team in Italy and Europe in the 1960s, and won a whopping 14 trophies between 2005 and 2011. This including Italy’s first-ever treble, as Jose Mourinho’s men won the Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Champions League during the 2007-08 campaign.

2. AC Milan

Nickname: I Rossoneri (The Red and Blacks)
Founded: 1899
League: Serie A

Hard times have fallen on the Rossoneri over the past decade, but AC Milan is undoubtedly the second-best club in Italian history. Winners of seven Champions League trophies, including four in the last 31 years, Milan have a storied history littered with the names of legends like Maldini, Kaka, Pirlo, and Baresi. They have won 48 major trophies, including five Coppa Italias and five UEFA Super Cups.

Milan’s 18 Serie A titles are second-most in league history, but they have won just one since 2004 as they fell on hard times financially. They have been experiencing a resurgence under new ownership the past two years, and are contending for the Serie A title this season. A win would give them their first trophy since the 2016 Supercoppa Italiana, which they have won seven times.

Milan are one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of fan base, and they share their stadium with Inter Milan. The Derby della Madonnina between the two clubs is one of the most intense rivalries in Europe, with both the Curva Sud and Curva Nord creating elaborate and stunning tifos for each match.

1. Juventus

Nickname: La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady)
Founded: 1897
League: Serie A

There is no doubt as to the most successful team in Italian calico, as the 70 major trophies won by Juventus are far and away the most of any club. Referred to as La Vecchia Signora, or The Old Lady, the Bianconeri have won 36 Serie A crowns, including seven straight Scudettos between 2012 and 2020.

Juventus have claimed 14 Coppa Italia crowns, including last year. They also have nine Supercoppa Italiana trophie, two Champions League trophies, three UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups.

Today, Juventus are one of the biggest clubs in the world, both financially and in terms of popularity. They have won at least one Scudetto in each of the last eight decades, this one included, and should continue to challenge for years to come.