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9 Sports That Are Popular in Italy

When thinking of sports played and watched by Italians, it is usually soccer that springs to mind. However, Italians love to participate in or watch many different sports. Regardless of what their favorite sport is or which team they support, the Italians are very passionate and enthusiastic players and fans. Here are the top ten sports enjoyed by Italians.

When thinking of sports played and watched by Italians, it is usually soccer that springs to mind. However, Italians love to participate in or watch many different sports. Regardless of what their favorite sport is or which team they support, the Italians are very passionate and enthusiastic players and fans. Here are the top ten sports enjoyed by Italians. 

1. Soccer

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Soccer is almost a religion in Italy and their teams are some of the best performers in the world. The national team is often the favorite to win both European and international soccer events. Thousands of people attend matches at the weekend in Italy and it is a hot topic of conversation at work on Monday mornings. 

2. Cycling

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Italy has won the second highest number of World Cycling Championships and their results are only beaten by the Belgians. Italy hosts the Giro d’Italia, a long distance bicycle race. In addition to being a popular competitive sport, cycling is also a popular pastime amongst the Italians.

3. Basketball

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Until 2000, Italy’s basketball league was considered the best domestic league in Europe and second only to the United States on an international level. It still ranks highly amongst its European competitors.

4. Rugby

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Rugby is particularly popular in the northern regions of Italy. This sport was first introduce in Italy between 1890 and 1895 by British communities.

5. Volleyball

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Volleyball is a sport that many Italians enjoy recreationally. The professional Italian Volleyball League is one fo the most respected volleyball teams in the world. 

6. Golf

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Some top level golf players come from Italy, including Constantino Rocco and Francesco Molinari. There are over 9,000 registered golf players in Italy.

7. Wrestling

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Although some people do not consider wrestling to be a sport, it is a very popular activity in Italy. So much so that the American pro wrestling promotions often visit Italy during their tours. 

8. Tennis

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If you take a look at the tennis rankings, there are often many players from Italy included in the list of the top 150in the world. Italians enjoy both watching tennis on the television and visitng the courts to catch the action live. 

9. Water Polo

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The Italian international volleyball team is frequently ranked in the top four teams in the world. There is a huge following for this sport in Italy and it is something that many Italians enjoy o an amateur level in their free time.


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