Volleyball is the most practised women's sport in Italy and FIPAV (the Italian Volleyball Federation) can count on more than 100,000 registered athletes.
This popularity is paying off at international level.
In 2009 the Italians won the Mediterranean Games and the European Championship, a year after taking bronze at the World Grand Prix and 5th place at the Beijing Olympics.
In 2007 the Italian women’s team won two gold medal — at the FIVB World Cup and European Championship — and bronze at the FIVB World Grand Prix.
The previous year they claimed bronze at the World Grand Prix and in 2005 gathered two silver medals at the World Grand Prix and European Championship.
It has been a rapid improvement from the Italians, which was triggered by the project behind qualifying for their first Olympics in 2000.
In order to reach this goal, the Italian Volleyball Federation worked out a project called "Club Italia" with the aim of creating the right conditions for six “girls in blue” to develop their technique to the highest level.
In relation to this, the FIPAV requested the organization of the 1999 women’s European Championships in Rome, where the Italians finished third.
Before that, the best performances at international level were third position at the 1989 European Championships in Germany and fifth place at the 1998 FIVB World Championship in Japan.
The Italian women had also ranked fourth in the 1991 and 1993 editions of the European Championships.
From 2000, the development in Italian women’s Volleyball has been impressive. In 2001 Italy claimed their first continental final medal by winning silver at the European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.
Three years later, they scooped a silver medal again, this time in the World Grand Prix.
They were beginning to show consistent signs of the high-quality Volleyball that was to come.