The Italian Serie A, officially known as the Lega Calcio Serie A TIM, is the top level of domestic football in Italy. It is considered as one of the three best dometic leagues in entire Europe and has a worldwide following. The Italian top flight is comprised of 20 teams.
The Serie A’s current structure took shape from 1929. Between 1898 and 1922 it was played in regional groups but from 1929 it has been played as a nationwide domestic league. The championship title is known as the scudetto (little shield) because since the 1924-25 season the winning team will bear a small coat of arms with the Italian tricolour on their strip in the following season.
For most of the history of the Serie A, it has been contested by 16 or 18 teams. Since 2004-2005 however, 20 teams have been featuring in the Italian top flight.
The season usually runs from August to May of the following year with each team having to play 38 matches, 19 at home and 19 away from home. The winner of the league is the team with the maximum points.
The top two teams in the league qualify for the UEFA Champions League while the third and the fourth ranked team have to go through a qualifying round to enter Europe’s top tier club competition. Teams finishing in fifth and sixth in the Italian Serie A feature in the Europa League. The bottom three clubs are relegated to Serie B, Italy’s second tier.
The most successful club in the history of the Italian Serie A are Juventus, who have won a total of 36 championships. AC Milan and Inter Milan are next in line with 18 each.
In 1958, thanks to Umberto Agnelli, the honor of Golden Star for Sports Excellence (“Stella d’Oro al Merito Sportivo” in Italian) was introduced to recognize sides that have won multiple championships or other honours by the display of gold stars on their team crests and jerseys (one star for ten titles).