Today, football is generally recognised as being the most popular sport in Italy. Italy is also able to boast the most successful European football team, winning a total of 27 trophies. However, the origins of football within Italy date back centuries.
The earliest form of football thought to be play in Italy was known as Harpastum, which was popular during the times of the Roman Empire. In the same way, the game of football was starting to resemble the game which we see being played today. However, it was still at a relatively primitive stage.
During the sixteenth century, a type football called Calcio Fiorentino gained notoriety within Florence, although this still featured a number of major differences from the modern game. A number of players began to make a name for themselves at this time, including a number of Popes, as the sport also gained popularity within the Vatican.
It was still some time before the first modern variation of the game was to be played within Italy. In 1893, the Genoa Cricket and Football Club formed as the first team to compete internationally. However, other sources suggest that the first club was, in fact, formed by Edoardo Bosio, a worker in the British textile industry who had been to the UK and experienced the game. When it returned to Italy in 1887, he was keen to help spread football in his homeland.
In 1891 this organisation joined forces with Nobili Torino to form the Internazionale Football Club Torino. Seven years later, the FIGC had also been formed, with the Italian Football Championship being put into action soon after. The clubs to compete within this league were amongst the first to be recognised as having formed a modern day football championship within Italy.