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Popular Italian Ball Games

Popular Italian Ball Games

Although the Italians are famous for their enthusiasm for sporting in general, soccer has most definitely been elevated to somewhat of a national obsession.

This article, however, outlines some other popular Italian ball games.

Riveting Rugby Union Games

Although not nearly as popular as soccer is in Italy, the national rugby union team has been competing at international events since the late 1920, and this list includes the Rugby World Cup.

Starting in the early 1900s, rugby has attracted growing numbers of supporters every year, and is particularly well-liked in the Northern Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy.


Brilliant Basketball Entertainment

Not many people associate Italy with basketball, but, surprisingly, it is one of this country’s fastest-growing sports, with many athletes training hard to make it in the international arena.

While many other nations have since eclipsed Italy’s former dominance of basketball in the European continent, the Italian basketball league, known as Lega Basket Serie A, was founded in 1920, and remains one of the top leagues.

In fact, it ranks as third-best worldwide, just after America’s NBA, and Spain’s ACB. The Italian basketball team managed to win gold medals at the Eurobasket games of 1983 and 1999, and silver at the Olympic Games of 2004.

Captivating Cricket Matches

Cricket has been played on Italian soil since at least the 1700s, but was eventually eclipsed by soccer. In 1980, Italy formed the Cricket Federation, and the national team started competing internationally.

The Italian cricket team regularly takes part in international matches, and has gone on to win several European cricket tournaments, earning a worldwide rank of 25th place.

They also achieved third, second, and fourth place in the World Cricket League tournaments between 2008 and 20011, and fifth and sixth place in the European Championships between 2006 and 2010.

The popularity of this game when it comes to betting sites should not be underestimated either, with many markets provided for by a series of the world’s best bookmakers.

More Traditional Ball Games in Italy

Some of Italy’s more time-honoured ball games are now managing to find a wider audience as well, and this list outlines those gaining popularity globally.


1. Sferistici

Sferistici is actually an assortment of team-based ball games, and these have been played since 1555. As time has gone on the games have developed into many variations, and these include tamburello, palla elastic, pallone col bracciale, pallapugno, and pallapugno leggera. These are all played often on a national as well as international basis.

2. Bocce

Perhaps the best-known of the traditional Italian ball games is bocce, which is a kind of lawn bowling that has roots stretching back right to the days of the Roman Empire! This game is well-liked in Europe as well as other countries that have seen Italian migrants settling.

Umberto Granaglia, 1931 to 2008, was a champion player, and eventually got voted in as the Player of the 20th Century by the Confédération Mondiale des Sports de Boules. Over the course of a very long career, Granaglia won a record of 47 National Championships in Italy, 12 titles in the European Championships, and 13 World Championships.

3. Cue Sports

Italians are also famous for enjoying various cue-sports, played on traditional billiard tables. Five-pin games, nine-pin games, boccette and goriziana are among the most popular of these, and increasing numbers of people are starting to compete on national and international circuit levels.


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