The blue shirts worn by Italy can be considered one of the most iconic in international football.

Italy, known as the Azzurri, have won four World Cups and a European Championship adorned in blue and have rarely strayed from their traditional strip throughout their history.

Most national football teams are instantly recognisable by the colour of their shirts.

For example, the Brazilian National team plays in the famous Yellow jersey and blue shorts, echoing the colour scheme of the countries flag.

Spanish players pull on a red shirt with yellow trim, again these colours are taken from their flag.

However, Italy’s football team wear blue jerseys; a colour which doesn’t feature on the Italian flag!

So why do Italy play in blue? Well, let me explain in more detail.

Why So Blue?

White Italian Shirt
Italy’s first international game was against France in 1910 when the Italian players took to the field wearing a white jersey.

For their second International fixture, they once again wore white. However, for their third match, the Italians sported their now familiar blue shirts. But why the switch?

Blue might not seem like a natural colour choice for the Italian team. However, blue is the colour used by the House of Savoy.

Amedeo VI of Savoy (aka Conte Verde) displayed a large blue flag in tribute to the Madonna next to the banner of Savoys while on crusade organised by Pope Urbano V.

Born in 1344, he was a notable historical figure from the 14th century. He was also a member of the House of Savoy, a dynasty that played a significant role in the history of Italy and Europe.

From reasonably humble beginnings, the House of Savoy grew to become the rulers of Sicily.

Later, through the Savoy-Carignano branch of the family, they became absolute rulers of Italy until the declaration of the Italian Republic in 1946.

Italy Winning The World Cup 1934 - Blue Shirt

The House of Savoy had a coat of arms that prominently featured the colour blue (azzurro in Italian).

When the Italian national football team, also known as the “Azzurri” (the Blues), was formed, they adopted the colour blue in honour of the royal family and as a symbol of their national heritage.

The National football team wore blue shirts for the first time in January 1911. The blue has been a constant feature ever since.

Even though this colour is not represented on their flag, the blue Italian shirt is one of the most instantly recognisable in world football.

Blue Italy Shirt - 1960s

Official Italian Shade Of Blue

Savoy Blue is a gorgeously deep blue. It has the hex code #0A36AF. The equivalent RGB values are (10, 54, 175), which means it is composed of 4% red, 23% green and 73% blue.

The CMYK colour codes, used in printers, are C:94 M:69 Y:0 K:31. In the HSV/HSB scale, Savoy Blue has a hue of 224°, 94% saturation and a brightness value of 69%.

Other Unusual National Team Colours

The Italians are not the only side with a strange colour combo.

Netherlands (Orange)

The Dutch national team is famously known as “Oranje” because of their bright orange kits, which represent the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange-Nassau.

The national flag of the Netherlands is red, white, and blue, but the colour orange holds a special place in the nation’s identity.

Germany (Black & White)

The German national team traditionally wears white and black, colours derived from the flag of Prussia, which played a significant role in German history.

The modern German flag is black, red, and gold, but the football team has retained the traditional Prussian colours.

Australia (Green and Gold)

Australia’s national team wears green and gold, which are the national colours of Australia.

These colours are derived from the country’s floral emblem, the golden wattle, rather than the national flag, which is blue, red, and white.

New Zealand (All Whites)

New Zealand’s national football team is known as the “All Whites” because of their all-white kit. This choice is in contrast to the country’s flag, which is predominantly blue with red stars.

The all-white kit is a simple and distinctive choice that contrasts with the more famous black kit of the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks.

Japan (Samurai Blue)

The Japanese national team is often referred to as “Samurai Blue,” wearing blue kits that differ from the country’s predominantly white and red flag.

The choice of blue is said to represent the vastness of the ocean surrounding Japan.

Ivory Coast (Les Éléphants – Orange)

The national team of Ivory Coast, known as Les Éléphants, wears a predominantly orange kit. This is different from the national flag’s colours of orange, white, and green.

The choice of orange is likely due to it being the top band of the flag and a symbol of the nation’s post-colonial independence.

Conclusion

We started this by asking why do Italy play in blue and now we know the answer.

Like many international teams, the choice of kit colour isn’t as simple as replicating the national flag.

Team choices often reflect historical, cultural, or symbolic aspects of the respective countries.

They demonstrate how sports kits can be used to express national identity beyond the more obvious colours.