149 fun sports terms in Italian to help you kick language goals



Imagine you’re touring Italy with a bunch of friends. You’re visiting one of its thousand beautiful beaches, you want to have a great time and to meet new people.

By chance, you and your buddies see some girls playing volleyball – you immediately want to join them, to play with them, but you don’t speak a word of Italian and you get lost in the panic.

The solution? You can learn to gesticulate like real Italians do! Or you can just learn how to talk about sports in Italian.

The second option is a more practical way to communicate without language barriers. So we’ll teach you how to say “volleyball” in Italian - as well as many other sports. At the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be confident talking about exercise, sports, games, and recreation in Italian - as well as have far more opportunities to make new friends!

How do you say sports in Italian?

It's easier than you may think. In fact, you don’t even have to translate it! In Italy, we say “sport”, too - just without the final “-s”.

There is indeed no difference between the singular and the plural form - like for all the other foreign words we imported into our language. How original, right?

Well, the first step is done.

How to talk about sports in Italian

Talking about sports is an easy way to start a conversation with pretty much anyone. Here are some key expressions that will help you chat about sports in Italian in a fluent and simple way:

Fai qualche sport?

Tranlsation: “Do you do any sport?”
This will help you get in touch with people and learn about their hobbies and interests!

Ti piace il calcio?

Translation: “Do you like football?”.
You can actually change “calcio” with whichever sport you prefer. Use this expression to find out if you and your new Italian friend share a passion for the same sport!

Facciamo una partita?

Translation: “Do you want to play a match?”
Be honest – is there any better way to socialize than by sharing a moment of play together? 

Sport-related verbs

The great thing about these verbs is that they can apply to pretty much all of the sports you can think of.

Wait! Who said Italians are lazy?

English Italian IPAPronunciation
To playGiocared͡ʒokˈareJoh-cah-re
To do sportsFare sportfˈare spˈɔrtFah-reh Sport
To practiceAllenarsiallenˈarsɪAhl-leh-nahr-see
To winVincerevˈint͡ʃereVeen-cheh-reh
To tiePareggiarepared͡ʒːˈarePah-reh-jah-re
To losePerderepˈɛrderePehr-deh-reh
To passPassarepas͡sˈarePah-sah-reh
To shootTiraretirˈareTee-rah-reh
To beatBatterebˈatːereBat-teh-reh
To dribbleDribblaredribːlˈareDree-bla-reh
To dunkSchiacciareskjat͡ʃːˈareSki-ah-cha-reh

List of sports and games in Italian

At this point, you will definitely want to know how to say soccer in Italian. Or “basketball”. Or any other sport. So here’s a little help.

Outdoor sports in Italian

These are outdoor sports - or “sport all’aperto” in Italian. Yet, nobody forbids you to play them indoors! Clearly, it will be difficult in some cases - unless you live right into San Siro stadium!

Outdoor sports such as tennis in Italian.

English Italian IPAPronunciation
American footballFootball Americanofˈʊtbɔːl amerikˈano(Football) Ah-meh-ree-kah-noh
Outdoor basketballPallacanestro all’apertopallakanˈɛstro ˈal’apˈɛrtoPahl-lah-kah-neh-stroh
Road cyclingCiclismo su stradat͡ʃiklˈizmo sˈu strˈadaChee-clee-smoh
Mountain bikingCiclismo di montagnat͡ʃiklˈizmo dˈi montˈaɲɲaChee-clee-smoh dee mohn-tah-nee-ah
ArcheryTiro con l’arcotˈiro kˈon ˈɛlle’ˈarkoTee-roh con lahr-coh
Horse ridingEquitazioneekwitat͡siˈoneEh-quee-tah-see-oh-neh
Mountain climbingAlpinismoalpinˈizmoAhl-pee-nee-smoh
Beach volleyBeach volleybˈiːt͡ʃ vˈɑːli(Beach volley)
Australian footballFootball australianofˈʊtbɔːl aʊstraliˈano(Football) ah-oo-strah-lee-ah-noh
Disc golfDisc golfdˈisk ɡˈɔlf(Disc golf)
Beach tennisTennis da spiaggiatˈɛnnis dˈa spjˈad͡ʒːa(Tennis) dah spee-ahj-jah
Paddle tennisPaddle tennispˈædə͡l tˈɛnnis(Paddle tennis)
Platform tennisPlatform tennisplˈætfɔː͡ɹm tˈɛnnis(Platform tennis)
Football tennisCalcio-tenniskˈalt͡ʃo tˈɛnnisKahl-choh (tennis)
Car racesCorse d’autokˈorse d̪ˈiː’ˈaʊtoKohr-seh dah-oo-toh
Ice climbingArrampicata sul ghiaccioarɾampikˈata sˈul ɡjˈat͡ʃːoAhr-rahm-pee-kah-tah sool ghee-ah-choh
Mixed climbingArrampicata mistaarɾampikˈata mˈistaAhr-rahm-pee-kah-tah mee-stah
Speed climbingArrampicata di velocitàarɾampikˈata dˈi velot͡ʃitˈaAhr-rahm-pee-kah-tah dee veh-loh-chee-tah
Rope climbingArrampicata su cordaarɾampikˈata sˈu kˈɔrdaAhr-rahm-pee-kah-tah soo kohr-dah
Pole climbingArrampicata su paloarɾampikˈata sˈu pˈaloAhr-rahm-pee-kah-tah soo pah-loh
Miniature golfMinigolfminiɡˈɔlf(Mini golf)
Horse racingIppicaˈipːikaE-ppee-kah
Gaelic footballCalcio gaelicokˈalt͡ʃo ɡaˈɛlikoKahl-choh gah-eh-lee-koh

Water sports in Italian

Are you a real lupo di mare (“sea wolf” in Italian) or just a water sports lover? If the answer is yes, then these words will definitely help you share your passions with Italian people!

Water sports such as swimming in Italian.

English Italian IPAPronunciation
FreestyleStile liberostˈile lˈiberoStee-leh lee-beh-roh
Water poloPallanuotopallanʊˈɔtoPahl-lah-noo-oh-toh
Synchronised swimmingNuoto sincronizzatonʊˈɔto sinkronid͡zːˈatoNoo-oh-toh seen-kroh-neez-zah-toh
WaterskiingSci d’acquaʃˈi dˈakːwaShee dah-quah

Indoor sports in Italian

Indoor sports are the best in wintertime. In Italy, we call them “sport al chiuso”. The most widespread is definitely “calcetto” (futsal), which we also play outdoors in summer. It shows how much we generally love soccer!

Indoor sports such as billiards, snooker and pool in Italian.

English ItalianIPAPronunciation
Indoor soccerIndoor soccerˈɪndoː͡ɹ sˈɑːkɚ(Indoor soccer)
Ice-skatingPattinaggio sul ghiacciopatːinˈad͡ʒːo sˈul ɡjˈat͡ʃːoPaht-tee-nahj-joh sool ghee-ah-choh
Table tennisTennis da tavolotˈɛnnis dˈa tˈavolo(Tennis) dah tah-voh-loh
Indoor cyclingCiclismo al chiusot͡ʃiklˈizmo ˈal kjˈuzoChee-clee-smoh ahl kee-oo-soh
Mixed martial artsArti marziali misteˈartɪ mart͡sjˈalɪ mˈisteAhr-tee mahr-zee-ah-lee mee-steh
Wheelchair basketballPallacanestro in carrozzinapallakanˈɛstro ˈiːn karɾot͡sːˈinaPahl-lah-kah-neh-stroh ee-nkahr-rohz-zeenah
Prison ballPalla prigionierapˈalla prid͡ʒoniˈɛraPahl-lah pree-joh-nee-eh-rah
Mongolian wrestlingWrestling mongoloɹˈɛsə͡lɪŋ mˈoŋɡolo(Wrestling) mohn-goh-loh
Kung FuKung Fukˈuŋɡ fˈuKoong foo
Muay ThaiMuay Thaimʊˈai tˈajMoo-ah-ee tah-ee
Krav MagaKrav Magakrˈav mˈaɡaKrahv Mah-gah
8-ball poolPalla 8pˈalla 8Pahl-lah oht-toh
Acrobatic gymnasticsGinnastica acrobaticad͡ʒinnˈastika akrobˈatikaJeen-nah-stee-kah ah-kroh-bah-tee-kah
Rhythmic gymnasticsGinnastica ritmicad͡ʒinnˈastika rˈitmikaJeen-nah-stee-kah reet-mee-kah
Parallel barsParallele simmetrichepaɾallˈɛle simmˈɛtrikePah-rahl-leh-leh seem-meh-tree-keh

Other games in Italian

It’s not just about sports. You can find joy in so many other areas related to games and strategy. Here are some words that will help you talk about your hobbies, activities, and passions in Italian!

Monopoly is a popular board game in Italian.

English ItalianIPAPronunciation
Board gamesGiochi da tavolod͡ʒˈɔkɪ dˈa tˈavoloJoh-kee dah tah-voh-loh
Hide and seekNascondinonaskondˈinoNah-skohn-dee-noh
Playing an instrumentSuonare uno strumentosʊonˈare ˈuno strʊmˈentoSoo-oh-nah-reh oo-noh stroo-mehn-toh
Jump ropeSaltare la cordasaltˈare lˈa kˈɔrdaSahl-tah-reh lah kohr-dah

Sports-related vocab in Italian

Last but not least - some words that will help you master your sports and exercise terminology in Italian!

English ItalianIPAPronunciation
CourtCampo da tenniskˈampo dˈa tˈɛnnisKahm-poh dah (tennis)
Sports venueImpianto sportivoimpjˈanto sportˈivoE-mpee-ahn-toh spohr-tee-voh
Sports equipmentAttrezzatura sportivaatːret͡sːatˈura sportˈivaAht-trehz-zah-too-rah spohr-tee-vah

Example conversations in Italian

Want to make small talk about sports, but still don’t know where to start? Here are three simple conversations in Italian to get inspired!

Example 1:

Beatrice:Lucia, ti va di giocare a tennis domani?Lucia, would you like to play tennis tomorrow?
Lucia:Certo! Ho solo bisogno di comprare l’attrezzatura.Of course! I just have to buy the equipment.
Beatrice:Non preoccuparti, te la presto io!Don’t worry, I’ll lend it to you!
Lucia:Perfetto, grazie mille!Perfect, thank you very much!

Example 2:

Marco:Qual è il tuo sport preferito, Federica?What’s your favorite sport, Federica?
Federica:Amo la pallavolo… ci gioco da quando ero bambina! Ed il tuo?I love volleyball… I’ve been playing it since I was a child! What’s yours?
Marco:Non ne ho uno preferito, ma mi piace molto la pallacanestro!I don’t have a favorite one, but I really like basketball!

Example 3:

Claudio:Hai visto la partita ieri, Eleonora?Have you seen the match yesterday, Eleonora?
Eleonora:No, mi sono dimenticata! Chi giocava?No, I forgot! Who was playing?
Claudio: Milan e Inter. Ti sei dimenticata del derby!Milan and Inter. You forgot about the derby!

Example conversations whilst playing sports

Well, once you start to play a match of basketball with your new Italian friends, you’ll want to look like you know what you’re doing. And not knowing how to communicate with your teammates may not be your greatest shot. So trying practising examples of conversations in Italian whilst playing sports. We’ve provided a couple of scenarios below.

Example 1:

Matteo:Passamela!Pass it to me!
Emanuele:Non posso, sei marcato!I can’t, you’re being marked!

Example 2:

Martina:Ragazze, posso tirare io il rigore?Girls, can I take the penalty?
Giulia:Sei sicura? Questa è la nostra ultima occasione per arrivare in finale.Are you sure? This is our last occasion to qualify for the final.
Martina:Si! Fidatevi di me.Yes! Trust me.

Example 3:

Filippo:Ragazzi, non possiamo perdere ancora! Dobbiamo impegnarci di più!Guys, we can’t lose again! We have to try harder!
Mario:Stiamo facendo del nostro meglio, ma sono troppo forti per noi.We’re doing our best, but they’re too strong for us.
Filippo:Niente scuse. Andiamo a prenderci quei tre punti!No excuses. Let’s go take those three points!

Most popular sports in different Italian-speaking countries

When it comes to picking a favorite sport, Italians won’t seem very imaginative. Ask them about their favorite sport and half of them will answer soccer. You just can’t separate us from calcio - it’s the most beloved and widespread sport in our country! We usually say it’s our “first love”.

In Italy, you pick a favorite club when you’re a child, and you never leave it for your whole life! This will be no different in other Italian-speaking countries like San Marino or Switzerland, or countries with large groups of people of Italian descent, like Brazil and Argentina: everyone loves soccer!

Soccer is the most popular sport in Italy, here is a professional soccer game played in Torino Italy.

Some tips for great sports experiences in Italy

When visiting a new country, getting in touch with the local culture is a fundamental part of the experience - every traveler knows it! Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not, there are some great experiences you won’t want to miss for a great stay in the Bel Paese.

Here are some tips for amazing sport activities in Italy:

1. Join the youngsters for a soccer match at Italy’s thousand old oratorios

An “oratorio” is a very typical place in Italian culture. It usually consists of some small futsal or soccer fields made of concrete or grass, owned by the local church. Pretty much every town or city has at least one!

Here you can join youngsters for an old-school, fun, and authentic soccer experience. Just remember one rule of thumb: who owns the ball, makes the rules!

2. Enjoy Calcio Fiorentino, Italy’s most crazy and violent sport

Every year, in the third week of June, the city of Florence gets ready for one of its most ancient and beloved traditions: Calcio Fiorentino. Calcio Fiorentino literally translates to “Florentine soccer”, but if you expect to see a common soccer match, you’re definitely out of the way!

In this old and crazy sport, players from four teams - one for each of Florence’s historic boroughs - will try by any means necessary to get the ball into the opponent’s goal, including being violent against each other. Don’t worry though, a referee will be there to calm down the players when fights occur!

In the past, the winning team used to receive a Chianina, a pure-bred cow. Nowadays, the price has been reduced to a free dinner for the 27 winning players.

3. Discover Italy’s “Path of the Gods”

Italy is run through by two major mountain ranges: the Alps in the north, and the Apennines in the center-south. They both include fantastic places to go hiking!

One of the best picks is Via degli Dei (Path of the Gods), a 130 km (80 miles) path that runs from old and lovely Bologna to the city of Florence. You can walk between the two historic towns on amazing roads in nature, and stop at the numerous old inns along the way!

One last, important thing…

Italians are warm-hearted and welcoming people. Don’t be shy to approach us with a hello in Italian, even if you don’t feel comfortable with the language – we’ll appreciate your effort and surely find a way to understand each other!

Are you ready for fun and authentic sport experiences in the ‘boot’-country?  If you’re excited to kick more language learning goals, continue the fun for free, on our Italian blog vocabulary lessons.

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