Football in Rome

Rome has two football teams, AS Roma and SS Lazio. Both teams are in Serie A, the top division of Roman football, and both share the same stadium, the Stadio Olimpico. Naturally there's a great deal of rivalry between the two teams, which comes to a head when they face off in the annual Rome Derby. The Italians call football calcio.

Racism is something of a problem in Italian football. Following an incident in January 2006 when Roma fans displayed neo-nazi and anti-semitic banners during a match, the team was ordered to play their next match at a neutral venue without fans. Il Romanista, the Roma fan newspaper responded by distributing free DVDs of the Roberto Benigni anti-holocaust film La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful).

SS Lazio

Lazio are the oldest of the two teams. They were formed as an athletics and gymnastics club in 1900, and began playing football in 1902. They play in blue and white, colours intended to recall the Greek flag and thereby the spirit of the Olympics.

SA Roma

Roma were founded in 1927. Up to this point there had been four football teams in Rome: Alba, Fortitudo, Roman & Lazio. It was decided to merge the teams in order to combine their strengths. Talks with Lazio fell through but Alba, Fortitudo and Roman combined to form Roma. They kept the red and yellow strip of Roman, from which they get their nickname giallorossi.

The Rome Derby

Once a year the two teams meet in the Stadio Olimpico for a showdown known as the Rome Derby. Feelings at the Derby run high; in 2004 the match had to be called off after it degenerated into a riot following rumours that a boy had been killed outside the stadium by a police car.