Italy is known for its rich history of inspiring art, culture, and architecture, and it is no surprise that its football history follows suit. Calcio, as football is known in Italy, has played a significant role in the lives of Italians. Being one of the founding members of both the European governing body, UEFA, and world governing body, FIFA, Italy has carved itself a niche in the world of football and produced an assortment of historically significant kits and shirts.
The Italian Football Federation, known as Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC), was formed in 1898. However, the national team did not play their first official match until 1910. Since then, the Italian national team, known as Gli Azzurri, has been a force to be reckoned with, bagging four FIFA World Cup titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and one UEFA European Championship (1968).
Throughout its history, retro Italy shirts have reflected the spirit of the nation, even taking inspiration from its flag, which features the colours green, white, and red. The national team’s primary colour, however, is blue (Azzurro), which comes from the House of Savoy, the Italian monarchy dating back to the 19th century. This connection to Italy’s past can be seen in their iconic Azzurri shirts, which have graced the backs of numerous legendary players representing the national team.
Over the years, Gli Azzurri’s iconic uniforms have been sported by some of the biggest names in football, with Italian brands like Macron, Kappa, and Diadora also having a hand in producing these famous shirts. However, the partnership between the FIGC and Puma, formed in 2003, has been especially fruitful, leading to a plethora of classic designs that wearers cherish today.
One of the earliest known retro Italy shirts dates back to the 1934 World Cup held in Italy. The team wore a stylish V-neck shirt, with the Italian emblem of the time (the House of Savoy shield) embroidered on the left chest. The team would go on to win the tournament, firmly establishing the blue shirt as a symbol of their historical victory.
As time progressed, the iconic Azzurri blue shirt continued to be modernised. The shirt worn in the 1982 World Cup, held in Spain, is particularly memorable. As Italy captured their third World Cup trophy, playing an attractive brand of attacking football, the slightly more turquoise Azzurri shirt featured white collars and cuffs, and a small, embroidered FIGC badge on the chest. Some might say that this design was a turning point for the national team, as captain Dino Zoff lifted the trophy high above his head.
The 1990 World Cup held in Italy is regarded as one of the finest editions of the tournament, and the retro shirt worn by the host nation certainly left a mark on football enthusiasts and collectors. Designed by Diadora, it featured a classic collared design with large cuffs and the Italian tricolour flag detailed on the chest, just below the FIGC crest.
As the Italian national team entered the 21st century, its shirt designs evolved accordingly. One shirt that readily comes to mind is the Italian shirt worn during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This iconic Puma design used a revolutionary shimmering material that reflected the Azzurri colours during matches. Apart from its captivating aesthetic, this shirt also holds immense sentimental value, representing Italy’s crowning as world champions for the fourth time.
The Stadio Olimpico in Rome has long been the epicentre of Italian football. Built as part of the Foro Italico sports complex in the 1930s, this 70,634-seat stadium has played host to numerous legendary moments, including the 1960 Olympics, multiple UEFA Champions League finals, the 1990 World Cup, and countless Serie A matches.
The thunderous roars of the spectators and the relentless passion exhibited by Italian fans make the Stadio Olimpico an imposing place for any visiting team. The unyielding support of the fans is undoubtedly inspired by the rich footballing history proudly worn on the Azzurri shirts of the national team.
Italy has produced a plethora of exceptional footballers throughout the years, who have filled football fans around the world with awe and wonder. Greats such as Dino Zoff, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, and Francesco Totti have dazzled on the international stage, donning the iconic blue shirt and leaving an indelible mark on the history of the sport.
These legendary players have not only contributed to the team’s success on the field but have also left an inimitable legacy in the hearts of adoring fans and the fabric of the retro Italy shirts that have become emblematic of the country’s rich footballing heritage.