Why does the Italian national team have a blue shirt if the tricolor is green, white and red?

The tricolor is green, white and red, but the national football team and the Italian sports selections they wear the blue shirt. Why? Due to a monarchical legacy: the color was chosen in 1911a year after the debut of the men’s national football team, in homage to house of Savoy, which had adopted blue as its symbol since the 14th century to recall Mary’s blue mantle. When the Republic was born, in 1946, the color was not changed because it now identified Italy as a whole and not just the monarchy. The blue, moreover, is not only used by the national football team, but has also been adopted by the selections of almost all other sports and is present in some national non-sporting symbols.

The history and origins of the blue shirt

Light blue is the color of the shirt of the Italian national football team and of many other Italian sports teams because it was the “official” color of the House of Savoy, the ruling dynasty in Italy from 1861 to 1946. The sporting use started from men’s football and then extended to other sports. The national team made its debut in 1910, in a friendly match against France at the Arena Civica in Milan, but played with a white uniform. Even in the second match, played against Hungary, the Football Federation chose white. Only in the third match of the national team, played on January 6, 1911 again against Hungary and again at the Arena Civica in Milan, they chose to use a blue shirt accompanied by the Savoy shield.

The matches of the time were not even remotely as important events as the current national team matches: in the stands there was at most a few thousand spectators and newspapers generally limited their reporting to a few paragraphs. However, from the 1911 match the blue remained inextricably associated with the Italian national team. Color “resisted” during the twenty years of fascismdespite the regime favoring the black. On the shirts, however, theemblem of the fasces.

Tricolor origin

Gradually the blue was also adopted by the representatives of other sports and after the institutional referendum of 1946, with which the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic established, it was decided to continue using blue, both in sport and in other areas, because it was now associated with Italy. Nowadays this fact is so well established and known that we are identified in the world as the “Blues”.

Why was blue the color of the Savoys?

The House of Savoy identified itself with blue from the 14th century. She chose it because it is the color in which the cloak of the Madonna. The first certain attestation dates back to 1366, when Count Amedeo VI, engaged in a crusade, wanted a blue banner on his ship. It is possible that the color was also used earlier. Even today a particular shade of the color, between peacock blue and periwinkle, is known as Savoy blue.

Where blue is used

Blue has become the color of Italian sports teams. First of all, it has been extended to all national football teams: in addition to the “major” team, all youth teams, the women’s team, etc. they wear blue shirts. It is also used in other sports, both in team ones and in the Italian selections of some individual disciplines: in cycling at the world championships; in tennis at the Davis Cup, etc.

Outside of sport, the Italian Republic has continued to use light blue in some official symbols. First of all, it is the color of the border of the presidential banner. Furthermore, the blue scarf, introduced by the Savoys since the 16th century, is still today a symbol of the officers of the armed forces, who wear it during ceremonies. It should be noted, however, that there is not one unique color coding and each sports organization or selection chooses the shade of blue it prefers.

The Italian presidential banner

Other colors instead of blue

In the sporting field, the main exception is the automotive sector: as we all know, the main Italian manufacturer, the Ferrariis identified with red (more precisely, the “Racing red”). Furthermore, on many occasions the Italian teams use one white uniform, which often also features blue inserts. White is also the color of the second shirt of the national football team.