The logo is split in half and contains the emblems of Alfa’s hometown Milan and
the one of the great Milanese ‘Visconti’ family.
On the left is the red cross on a white background, which refers back to the days of the First Crusade, when many Milanese soldiers
were amongst the Lombards who followed Giovanni of Rho to the Holy Land. The red cross was their symbol, whilst the white background symbolised the white shirts they were forced to wear under their armour to protect them from the fierce
On the right of the badge are the arms of the Visconti family, which
later became recognised as those of the City of Milan.
There are several stories on were the serpent came from. Some says it
represents the snakes that the Lombards used to wear round their necks in a little case as a lucky
charm, – or the dragon which, at the start of the fifth century, plagued Milan
and was finally killed by Uberto, Squire of Angera, and founder of the Visconti
family, – or it could be the symbol of Ottone Visconti who fought a victorious duel with the
Saracen leader, Voluce, during the First Crusade.
The city of Milan, however, claims that the serpent has nothing to do with the
What’s certain, though, is that the Visconti family emblazoned its red cross and serpent coat of arms over the great door of Castello Sforzesco in Milan – and
this is where the Alfa Romeo association begins.
Essentially, the Alfa badge consisted of the emblems of Visconti and Milan reversed and placed on a circle instead of a shield. Surrounding the circular
motif was placed a dark blue ring containing the inscription ‘ALFA’ at the top
and ‘Milano’ at the bottom. Completing the badge was a Savoy dynasty knot on
either side of the blue ring, separating the wording.
When the famous P2 Grand Prix cars won the first ever World Championship in 1925, the badge was encircled with thick silver laurel leaves in embossed
metalwork. Over the years, these leaves lost their prominence and became less
luxuriant, and when the monarchy was abolished and Italy became a republic, the Savoy dynasty knot was replaced by two wavy lines.
In 1972 the whole badge was simplified to what it is today. The word ‘Milano’ was dropped following the opening of the Pomigliano factory in the
south – and the manufacturing of the first Alfasuds.
For the hardcore Alfisti, read the complete history by Dana
Loomis & Arthur Kempat, or Pat
Braden’s Alfa Romeo history
In the beginning the external diameter of the shield was 65mm. ALFA
and MILANO were separated by two knots.
When Nicola Romeo took over in 1915 the logo had a small steel circle
with ROMEO added. The diameter was still 65mm.
After the Alfa P2 won the first world Motor Racing Championship the badge was surrounded by a laurel
The diameter increased from 65mm to 75mm. In 1930 it
was reduced to 60mm and remained unchanged until 1945.
When the monarchy was abolished and Italy became a republic, the two Savoy dynasty knots were exchanged
with two wavy lines and the diameter was reduced to 54mm.
Since the new Alfasud factory was built in Pomigliano, the word MILANO
disappeared from the logo, even though the two original Milanese
symbols, the snake and the cross, still remains.