ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Alfa Romeo Badge and Grille History

Updated on July 14, 2011

The craftsmanship of the Alfa Romeo isn’t all in the engine itself. Well, sure, the engine is one of the most finely tuned and powerful pieces of metal you’ll find on the road, but the actual look of an Alfa Romeo is just as much a part of the brand’s legacy as the way it drives.

Original 1910 Alfa Romeo badge - note the missing "Romeo"

The first time you take a look at the Alfa Romeo badge, you’ll probably scratch your head in puzzlement. It’s a fascinating design, to say the least.

With a bizarre looking serpent and Milan’s city emblem, you might think it looks more like a family crest than a car badge…

Well, yes, actually. Legend has it that the car badge was inspired by the family crest of the great Visconti family.

Milan crest

(c) pixelthing at
(c) pixelthing at

In 1910, draughtsman Romano Cattaneo was hired to design a badge for the company then known as ALFA, and, while waiting for a train at the Plazza Castello terminus in Milan, he glanced at the Visconti crest on the great door of the Castello Sforzesco, and said “Hey, that would make a great badge for a car brand!”

The serpent on the badge is actually a Biscione, a creature of myth known as the “human child eating viper”. The same design has been used for the Inter Milan football club, and even by Bezzera, an espresso machine manufacturer.

To this day the badge has only changed 5 times.

Alfa Romeo Badge 1915(ish) to 1925

When Nicola Romeo bought the company in 1915, their chief car designer Giuseppe Merosi helped to redesign the badge, adding the emblem for the City of Milan and putting them both into a circular motif.

He then went on to add a border of a dark blue metallic ring reading “ALFA – ROMEO” and “MILANO”, with the two separated by a pair of Savoy dynasty knots in honour of the Kingdom of Italy.

Alfa Romeo badge 1946-1972

Alfa Romeo Badge 1925-1946

When an Alfa Romeo P2 won the Automobile World Championship inaugural in 1925, a laurel wreath was added around the logo. That wasn't unique - Mercedes-Benz did the same thing to their radiator badge for the same reason.

In 1932 for that year only Alfa were screwed into a deal by the French that saw exported cars going to France shipped with badges that said "Alfa Romeo Paris" rather than Milano.  These rarities are highly sought after by collecters.

1946 saw the Savoy knots replaced with two curvy lines in honour of the Italian Republic victory.

Finally, the name MILANO and the lines were eliminated altogether when Alfa Romeo opened their Naples factory in Pomigliano d’Arco in the early seventies, and that brings us to the logo we have today: Simple, bold and striking.

Now you come to mention it, it's not that good a likeness, is it?

The Alfa Romeo "Star Wars" Grille

The grille of the Alfa Romeo is just as much a signature piece of the car’s look as the badge and the general design rules followed for creating the body. Such an iconic and recognizable piece of the Alfa is the grille that many collector’s items such as t-shirts and posters feature nothing but an image of the grille itself, and still, fellow Alfista who see it will say “Ah, you must be an Alfa lover, eh?”

Often referred to as the "Star Wars Grille" because it resembles Darth Vader's mask, the Alfa grille is certainly unmistakeable on the road.  The shape of the grille itself necessitates an offset numberplate, even in countries (like the UK) where central numberplates are the norm.

Alfa Romeo Grille

(c) Jukka1 at
(c) Jukka1 at

Originally Designed by Giuseppe Merosi as merely a simple squared shape, the look of the grille simply evolved for reasons of pragmatism and style to become more and more distinctive over the years, until it had become such an icon of the brand that to look at the grille alone was to look at an Alfa Romeo.

This is thanks partly to Giuseppe Merosi’s initial design, but perhaps more responsible are the various design firms who have gotten ahold of the brand over the years, including Pininfarina, Bertone, Italdesign and Zagato, who have made efforts to honour Merosi’s original designs while stylizing them further and further to create an artistic, distinctive look that is one hundred percent Alfa Romeo, preserving the brand identity while creating an even more popular and head-turning visual component to the brand.

Alfa Romeo Grille

(c) Adam Pniak at
(c) Adam Pniak at

When you drive an Alfa Romeo, you’re not only driving a car that handles like a dream, you’re also buying into the legacy of James Bond’s favourite car, and you’re flaunting one of the most beautiful car brands in existence. The aesthetic element to the Alfa Romeo is just as integral a piece of the brand as the engine itself.

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency

Why not create your own HubPages? It's fun and you can make revenue from Adsense and other revenue streams on your pages. JOIN HUBPAGES NOW - SIMPLY CLICK HERE...  (or contact me to write one for you!)

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      My Name 

      12 months ago

      It’s Aston Martin the creators of 007 makes him drive, also because the pay the biggest commission. Not Alfa Romeo, you really haven’t a clue what driving an Alfa is all about.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello interesting explanation of the Alfa Romeo badge/crest.

      However, very sad to see that you did not mention the significance of the serpent eating a human child.

      Besides the fact that this badge clearly advertises the murder of a child, you did not even take the time to look into this.


    • J  Rosewater profile image

      J Rosewater 

      9 years ago from Australia

      I am fascinated by heraldic art, because it combines history with graphic design... although it couldn't have been perceived like this in the middle ages!

    • HarperSmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Intersting article, I've always wondered where the design came from. I does raise the question, "Are there copyright laws in Italy." Thanks for the Hub.

    • knell63 profile image


      9 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Great Alfa article, I have always loved their badge and only when writing a blog recently about manufactures names did I find the true history behind it. The old style marques just seem to have a class all of their own.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)