Storia e attualità del rugby nel contesto veneto e internazionale

[A historical and contemporary view of rugby in the Veneto and on the international scene]

edited by Andrea Passerini and Andrea Rinaldo

Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche-Viella

Treviso-Rome, forthcoming

68 pages

15 illustrations in colour and 7 black and white

(Ludica Minima, 2)

A historical and contemporary view of rugby in the Veneto and on the international scene is a concerted exploration of the socio-anthropological and sporting phenomenon of rugby in Treviso and the Veneto in the context of the ambitions of Italian rugby.

The rationale of the game no longer frames it as an opportunity to put gentlemanly virtues and values to the test. Nor does it embody the core principles of ludic activity: refraining from creating goods or wealth, admitting only shifts of property between players, has not been applicable to sporting professionalism since the days of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. Strange encrustations link the past and the future: in the Veneto the popularity of rugby is driven by rivalry between cities that may be neighbours but have quite different social origins and cultural references, and which have been in competition for centuries (with Venice against the Carraresi, the Scaligeri and the Ezzelini, families whose power bases were Padua, Verona and other cities in the region, though not Treviso, which remained faithful to the Serenissima). Everything stems from the anomalous roots of Italian rugby, which are strong but somewhat limited and insecure in the bigger Italian cities.

The book’s publication marks the over-ninety-year history of rugby in Treviso and covers its development in the 20th century and the sport’s later dimensions. It takes note too of Italian rugby’s recent performance, which gives good grounds for healthy optimism.



Preface by Andrea Passerini e Andrea Rinaldo, 7

Gherardo Ortalli, Giochi di battaglia e processi di civilizzazione: la lunga storia del rugby, 9

Umberto Curi, Tra forza e violenza, 21

Gianluca Barca e Luciano Ravagnani, Evoluzione del rugby veneto, italiano e globale, 23

Andrea Rinaldo, Pensiero veloce e selezione naturale: ecologia del rugby, 31

Andrea Passerini, Breve viaggio nel rugby trevigiano, 53

The authors, 57

References for illustrations, 58

Index of names and places, 59


Andrea Passerini is from Treviso. He graduated in the Humanities, worked as a teacher and is now a reporter for «La Tribuna di Treviso» and for the other newspapers of the Gedi group in the Veneto. For forty  years he has written about rugby and its milieu in the province of Treviso and has followed the three-decade progress of the national team from its amateur beginnings to its present professionalism, also with articles published by «La Repubblica». With a number of colleagues he re-founded the magazine «All Rugby», edited a volume recounting the history of rugby in Treviso, distributed with «La Tribuna», and collaborated with Elvis Lucchese on La finta di Ivan, a book dedicated to the late, championship-winning  centre three-quarter, Ivan Francescato. He has participated in numerous conferences with contributions focussing on the social aspects of rugby.


Andrea Rinaldo is Full Professor of Hydraulic Constructions in the University of Padua and Director of the Laboratory of Ecohydrology at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. He is a member of the American National Academy of Sciences, of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and is President of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti. He was capped four times for the Italian national team and played for Petrarca Rugby Club in three years when they finished the season Italian champions. He has served as President of Petrarca, is a member of the Executive Committee of European Professional Club Rugby and is National Director of the Italian Rugby Federation. He has published Del rugby. Verso una ecologia della palla ovale (Marsilio, 2017).