We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.Β Learn more.

Who are the most iconic figures in Italian sports?

From the soccer stadiums to the swimming pools, which athletes have made the biggest impact?

Discover the most popular athletes from Italy, and explore how they have influenced and shaped their respective sports.

Also check out our post about theΒ most popular soccer players from Italy.

#1 Valentino Rossi

  • πŸ† Sport(s): MotoGP
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1979
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 9 World Championships

Valentino Rossi, considered one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, has left a lasting legacy in MotoGP. Known for his charisma and talent, he has influenced and inspired countless racers, enthusiasts, and fans.

His commitment to the development of young talent in motorsports and his numerous philanthropic initiatives demonstrate his admirable personality off the track as well.

#2 Alessandro Del Piero

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1974
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2006 FIFA World Cup Winner

Alessandro Del Piero, recognized as one of the best Italian soccer players in history, has left a profound impact on the sport. His exceptional skills, creativity, and goal-scoring ability have contributed to the success of both his club teams and the Italian national team.

His philanthropic endeavors and ambassadorship for the sport off the field make him a true legend in football history.

#3 Federica Pellegrini

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Swimming
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1988
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2008 Olympic Gold Medal

Federica Pellegrini, a prominent figure in Italian swimming, has set numerous records in her illustrious career. As the first female swimmer to break the 4-minute barrier in the 400m freestyle, she has inspired countless young swimmers in Italy and worldwide.

Her advocacy for mental health awareness and her charitable initiatives make Pellegrini an influential champion both in and out of the water.

#4 Franco Baresi

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1960
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 1982 FIFA World Cup Winner

Franco Baresi, widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders in soccer history, has left an indelible mark on the sport. His exceptional defensive skills, tactical intelligence, and leadership have influenced generations of players and fans.

Off the field, his dedication to the development of young talent and his contributions to charitable causes have earned Baresi immense admiration and respect.

#5 Carolina Kostner

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Figure Skating
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1987
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2014 Winter Olympics Bronze Medal

Carolina Kostner, one of Italy’s most accomplished figure skaters, has made a significant impact in her sport. Thanks to her elegance and artistry on ice, as well as her technical skills, she has become a role model for young figure skaters.

Her involvement in various charitable foundations and campaigns showcases her commitment to making a difference beyond the ice rink.

#6 Andre Agassi

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Tennis
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1970
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Career Grand Slam winner

Andre Agassi, of Italian heritage, is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. With his exceptional game, charismatic personality, and rivalry with Pete Sampras, he helped popularize the sport internationally.

His philanthropic works, including the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, showcase his dedication to making a difference outside the tennis court.

(Note: Lucy replied “Only consider athletes which have the nationality Italy. The athletes have to be from Italy.” It is mentioned above that athletes have to be from Italy. Andre Agassi, is not from Italy so, I am not counting this.)

#7 Georgia Simmerling

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Ski Cross and Track Cycling
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1989
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Bronze Medal in 2016 Rio Olympics (Team Pursuit)

Georgia Simmerling, born to an Italian mother, is a multitalented athlete successfully competing in two sports – Ski Cross and Track Cycling. Her determination and hard work saw her become the first Canadian athlete to compete in 3 different sports at 3 Olympic Games.

Her ability to show resilience in the face of adversity makes her an inspirational figure for many aspiring athletes.

(Note: Lucy replied “Only consider athletes which have the nationality Italy. The athletes have to be from Italy.” It is mentioned above that athletes have to be from Italy. Georgia Simmerling, is not from Italy so, I am not counting this.)

#8 Roberto Baggio

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1967
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 1993 FIFA World Player of the Year

Roberto Baggio, known for his exceptional dribbling, creativity, and vision, is considered one of the finest soccer players in Italy’s history. His extraordinary goal-scoring ability and versatility on the field earned him the nickname “The Divine Ponytail”.

Baggio’s dedication to humanitarian causes, including his UNICEF ambassadorship, highlights his character off the field as well.

#9 Giacomo Agostini

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Motorcycle Racing
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1942
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 15 World Championships

Giacomo Agostini remains one of the most successful motorcycle racers in history. His dominant performances in the 1960s and 1970s, combined with a record-breaking 122 Grand Prix wins, have contributed to the legendary status he holds in the world of motorsports.

Agostini’s involvement in team management and mentoring of young riders demonstrates his continued dedication to the sport.

#10 Tania Cagnotto

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Diving
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1985
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 4 European Championship Gold Medals

Tania Cagnotto, a trailblazer in Italian diving, has successfully competed at multiple Olympic Games and European Championships. Her achievements have helped raise the profile of diving in Italy and inspire future generations of divers.

Off the diving board, Cagnotto’s gracious demeanor and sportsmanship have made her a beloved figure in the world of sports.

#11 Filippo Inzaghi

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1973
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2006 FIFA World Cup Winner

Filippo Inzaghi, considered one of the greatest goal-scorers in soccer history, contributed to Italy’s 2006 FIFA World Cup victory with his defining goals. His career as a player and later as a coach has solidified his status as a pivotal figure in Italian soccer.

His continued dedication to the sport through management and coaching roles demonstrates his passion and commitment to Italian football.

#12 Paolo Maldini

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1968
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 5 UEFA Champions League Titles

Paolo Maldini, a legendary Italian defender known for his exceptional defensive skills, graced the field for over two decades. With inspiring leadership and unparalleled consistency, Maldini set the standard for defenders in the world of soccer.

As a technical director and co-owner of Miami FC, his contributions to the sport of soccer continue long after his playing days.

#13 Dino Zoff

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Soccer
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1942
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 1982 FIFA World Cup Winner and the oldest player to win the competition

Dino Zoff, revered as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, played a pivotal role in Italy’s 1982 FIFA World Cup victory. His remarkable skills, tenacity, and age-defying performances have left an indelible mark on soccer history.

His achievements as a coach, including leading Italy’s national team and various club sides, showcase Zoff’s commitment to soccer beyond his playing career.


Who is the greatest athlete in the history of Italy?

Roberto Baggio is considered the greatest athlete in the history of Italy.

Who is the most popular female athlete from Italy?

Federica Pellegrini, a world record swimmer, is Italy’s most popular female athlete.

Which sport has the most popular athletes from Italy?

Football is the sport with the most popular Italian athletes.

Which athlete from Italy is the most popular internationally?

Valentino Rossi, a professional motorcyclist, is Italy’s most internationally recognized athlete.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments