Reason #5373 to love Rome: Basketball

Virtus basketball, Rome, ItalyMost people know that Italians really only have one true sport. Call it soccer, calcio, football. It’s all the Italians love.

Yes, when the Olympics roll around, Italians tend to do well in fencing, swimming and water polo. In the winter, the German minority in Italy’s Alto Adige region pile up the medals in skiing, but those are mere blips on the overriding national passion that is soccer.

Amidst this soccer frenzy, I was happy to finally discover another spectator sport in the Eternal City -basketball.

Virtus basketball, Rome, ItalyI recently took my kids to see Rome’s Virtus play against Avellino. But there are actually two Roman teams: Virtus Roma and Stella Azzurra.

We came early and watched the team warm up. Unlike soccer, it’s a very low-key environment, and fans generally behave well (alas, not always true at the soccer stadium across the Tiber).

Virtus plays at the Palazzetto dello Sport, in Rome’s Flaminio neighborhood. It can be reached easily by public transport. From the Flaminio metro stop, the #2 tram drops you off just outside the entrance.

It wasn’t a very good night for Roma Virtus, but it was a still a good game – and the kids and I had a lot of fun cheering on our home team. I’ll be happy to get back next season to see Virtus play. And I’ll enjoy the respite from Roman soccer to watch a sport I’ve always enjoyed more.

Enjoy basketball on your next visit to the Eternal City!



  1. wordfoolery on April 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Top tip, Kimberly. I associate Rome with another sport – rugby – because they play in the Six Nations with Ireland. I’ve even seen them play in Dublin. No crowd issues there either, thank goodness. So Flaminino only means one thing to me – Stadio Flaminino.

    • kimberlysullivan on April 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

      True Grace! Rugby’s only caught on in the last few years as a spectator sport. The rugby teams are also quite active getting out and promoting their sport to young Italians, with demonstrations, chance to learn the rules and practice, etc.

  2. Holiday Velvet Rome Apartments on April 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Great post Kim! Europe (and most of the world) is wholly consumed with soccer, so it´s interesting to know that other sporting activities are enjoyed as well!

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