Italian Volleyball League
The Italian Male Volleyball League is structured in several levels of importance; the highest of them is Serie A1. Many of the best volleyball players in the world play in the A1 and the overall level of competition is considerably higher.
- Serie A1 (highest level, 15 teams, two relegations);
- Serie A2 (second level, 15 teams, one promotion and three relegations);
- Serie B1 (third level, 48 teams separated in three divisions, four promotions, twelve relegations)
- Serie B2 (fourth level, 112 teams separated in eight divisions, twelve promotions, 32 relegations)
- Serie C, organized by regional committees
- Serie D, organized by regional committees
- Campionati provinciali, organized by provincial committees.
Since 1982, the championship consists of two phases:
- a round-robin tournament (regular season) which picks out the clubs admitted to the second phase and the teams destined to relegation;
- a playoff tournament, which assigned the trophy.
Just in few occasions relegation playouts were disputed.
Volleyball made its first appearance in Italy after the end of World War I. In 1929 a Federazione Italiana Palla a Volo (FIPV) was founded. During the 1930s several tournaments were organized by youth or workers movements within fascist associations like GIL and OND.
After the end of World War II and the overthrow of fascist regime, a new association, called Federazione Italiana Pallavolo, were founded in 1946. Later that year the city of Genoa hosted the first official male championship.
Quickly volleyball became popular in northern regions like Piedmont, Lombardy and especially Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany: clubs based on Ravenna, Modena, Parma, Bologna and Florence regularly won all the championships for more than thirty years. By the 1970s outsider clubs from centre-south cities (Rome, Catania) were more competitive.
In the 1980s the growth of Italy men's national volleyball team led volleyball to a peak of a popularity. After a period in which Turin's CUS and Parma's Santal dominated, great entrepreneurial companies (like Fininvest in Milan, Montedison in Ravenna and Benetton in Treviso) decided to support and invest in volleyball, equipping strong teams which often won European and Intercontinental trophies.
Today volleyball is diffused all over the country but, as a consequence of the enormous popularity of other disciplines (football above all) in big cities, it finds its highest popularity in medium-to-large cities.
1936–1941 (OND tournaments)
- 1936: Azogeno Vado Ligure
- 1937: Azogeno Vado Ligure
- 1938: Torti Alessandria
- 1939: Azogeno Vado Ligure
- 1940: not held
- 1941: Lanerossi Schio
1946–today (FIPAV tournaments)
- "". www.coni.it.
- "Dietro il calcio sport da godere". La Repubblica. 20 September 1992. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "Bravi e ricchi, il volley all'italiana". La Repubblica. 11 March 1997. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "Volley, quando vince la provincia". sport.it. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "". www.coni.it.
- Almanacco Illustrato del Volley - 1987, Panini Edizioni, Modena, 1986