Sports in Italian: 45 Essential Vocabulary Words for Athletes and Fans [with Audio]

Whether it’s thousands of people chanting in a stadium or a dozen in a restaurant, there’s no denying that Italians are hugely passionate about sports.

Along with football, Italians enjoy tennis, cycling, basketball and rugby… just to name a few.

If you’re a fan, you can follow along with your favorite sport or team by learning some Italian sports vocabulary!

In this post, you’ll learn 45 sports in Italian, plus some common questions and responses about sports you can use in casual conversations.


Popular Sports in Italian

1. Atletica leggera — Athletics/Track and field

2. Calcio — Soccer/Football

3. Pallacanestro — Basketball

4. Tennis — Tennis

5. Pallavolo — Volleyball

6. Nuoto — Swimming

7. Ginnastica — Gymnastics

8. Ciclismo — Cycling

9. Sci — Skiing

10. Hockey su ghiaccio — Ice hockey

11. Pugilato — Boxing

12. Pallamano — Handball

13. Golf — Golf

14. Rugby — Rugby

15. Pattinaggio artistico — Figure skating

16. Pattinaggio su rotelle — Roller skating

17. Pattinaggio di velocità — Speed skating

18. Equitazione — Horseback riding

19. Canottaggio — Rowing

20. Pallanuoto — Water polo

21. Scherma — Fencing

22. Alpinismo — Mountaineering

23. Arti marziali — Martial arts

24. Sollevamento pesi — Weightlifting

25. Badminton — Badminton

26. Canoa — Canoeing

27. Triathlon — Triathlon

28. Baseball — Baseball

29. Softball — Softball

30. Surf — Surfing

31. Arrampicata — Rock Climbing

32. Acrobatica aerea — Aerial acrobatics

33. Motocross — Motocross

34. Curling — Curling

35. Tiro con l’arco — Archery

36. Kayak — Kayaking

37. Vela — Sailing

38. Tuffi — Diving

39. Arrampicata sportiva — Sport climbing

40. Salto in alto — High jump

41. Salto in lungo Long jump

42. Tiro a segno — Shooting

43. Freccette — Darts

44. Automobilismo — Auto racing

45. Motociclismo — Motorcycle racing

If you’re interested in learning more sports-related terms and other useful Italian vocabulary, you could try using the FluentU program.

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Talking about Sports in Italian

Here are some basic questions and example responses related to sports. You may need to review your Italian grammar and pronunciation, and then study these examples to be fully prepared to talk about sports with any Italian speaker.

Qual è il tuo sport preferito? (What’s your favorite sport?)

Il mio sport preferito è il calcio.” (My favorite sport is soccer.)

Giochi a qualche sport? (Do you play any sports?)

Sì, gioco a tennis.” (Yes, I play tennis.)

No, non pratico nessuno sport.” (No, I don’t play any sports.)

Che sport ti piace guardare? (What sport do you like to watch?)

“Mi piace guardare il basket.” (I like to watch basketball.)

Qual è la tua squadra preferita? (What’s your favorite team?)

“La mia squadra preferita è il Real Madrid.” (My favorite team is Real Madrid.)

Quando hai iniziato a giocare a questo sport? (When did you start playing this sport?)

“Ho iniziato a giocare a calcio quando avevo 6 anni.” (I started playing soccer when I was 6 years old.)

Hai mai partecipato a una competizione sportiva? (Have you ever participated in a sports competition?)

“Sì, ho partecipato a una competizione di nuoto l’anno scorso.” (Yes, I participated in a swimming competition last year.)

No, non l’ho mai fatto.” (No, I never have.)

Quali sono i tuoi atleti preferiti? (Who are your favorite athletes?)

“I miei atleti preferiti sono Roger Federer e Serena Williams.” (My favorite athletes are Roger Federer and Serena Williams.)

Che tipo di attrezzatura sportiva hai? (What kind of sports equipment do you have?)

“Ho una racchetta da tennis e un pallone da calcio.” (I have a tennis racket and a soccer ball.)

Hai mai assistito a una partita dal vivo? (Have you ever attended a live game?)

“Sì, ho assistito a una partita di calcio dal vivo lo scorso anno.” (Yes, I attended a live soccer game last year.)

“No, ma lo vorrei.” (No, but I’d like to.)

Qual è il tuo momento sportivo più memorabile? (What’s your most memorable sports moment?)

“Il mio momento sportivo più memorabile è stato quando ho segnato il gol della vittoria in una finale.” (My most memorable sports moment was when I scored the winning goal in a final.)


If you’re a big sports fan, or just want to participate in the many conversations about sports, now you have the vocabulary to do so!

Practice these Italian words and phrases and you’ll soon be using them to bond with others over the universal love of sports.

And One More Thing...

If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!

Learn Italian with funny commericals, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:


FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.


Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.


Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.


FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words. Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!

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