The scudetto (Italian for: "little shield") is a decoration worn by Italian sports clubs that win the annual championship of their respective sport in the previous season.
The scudetto was created in the 1920s to honour the winner of the national association football league (which eventually become Serie A in 1929) and the first ever team to wear it was Genoa C.F.C. in 1924.
Later, it was adopted by the teams of other sports.
Sources generally agree that the inventor of the scudetto was the Italian poet and playwright Gabriele D'Annunzio. In his youth, D'Annunzio was a keen follower of football and in 1887 he bought in London a leather ball from the same manufacturer that used to supply the Football League and used to play football with his friends on the beach of Pescara, his native place.
Later in 1920, once the former Austro-Hungarian city of Fiume (now the Croatian Rijeka) was annexed to Italy, D'Annunzio proposed that the local football team wear on its jerseys a small shield with the tricolore (green, white and red) to symbolize the Italian sovereignty over the city.
In 1924, the Italian Football Federation approved the decision to honour the defending champion allowing them to wear the scudetto on their jerseys. Since then, the scudetto has become the symbol of the defending champions of every sports league in Italy.
The Italian rugby union championship which started in 1928 also adopted the scudetto on the champion team's jerseys and so did the other team sports in Italy.
- Paolo Pierangelodate=8 April 2013. "150 anni di D'Annunzio, l'ideatore dello scudetto sulle maglie da gioco" [D'Annunzio's 150th Birthday: He Was the Inventor of the scudetto on Sports Jerseys]. la Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Milan. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
- Roberto Graziosi (25 April 2016). "Chi ha inventato lo Scudetto?" [Who Invented the scudetto?]. Focus. Retrieved 9 December 2016.