What’s the Meaning of the Alfa Romeo Logo?

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Tracing its origins back to turn-of-the-century Milan, Alfa Romeo Automobiles certainly has a rich history. The brand also happens to sport one of the auto industry’s most esoteric badge designs. At a glance, the Alfa Romeo logo appears to feature a man-eating snake. That much is true, but what does the Alfa Romeo badge mean symbolically? Join Alfa Romeo of Glendale as we unravel the history and meaning of each Alfa Romeo symbol!


What Does the Alfa Romeo Badge Mean?

A cross, a crown, and a giant snake swallowing a tiny man. There’s definitely a lot going on here, but what does the Alfa Romeo badge mean when you put it all together? Each Alfa Romeo symbol on the badge is closely tied to the brand’s ethos and history. Let’s break it down:

  • The cross of the municipality — The red cross on the left side of the badge references the red cross worn by medieval Milanese soldiers during the Christian Crusades. It’s also known as the Cross of St. Ambrose or St. George’s Cross — a traditional symbol of Milan.
  • The Visconti serpent — The man-eating snake half of the Alfa Romeo logo is a direct reference to the heraldic symbol of the influential Visconti family of 11th century Milan. The Visctonti family had gained political control over the city by 1277, at which point the snake — known as a Biscione — was adopted as a symbol for Milan itself.
  • The serpent’s crown — The crown sitting atop the serpent’s head supposedly commemorates a dukedom gained by the Visconti.
  • The man being devoured — Ironically, this Alfa Romeo symbol is but a minor design element. He’s likely an anonymous, crusading Moor or Saracen suspended in the moment of his defeat.
  • Savoy-dynasty knots — The original 1910 Alfa Romeo logo included two Italian heraldry knots dividing the words “Alfa” and “Romeo”. The decorative knot detail was removed from the badge in 1950.
  • Golden laurel badge border — The badge changed again in 1925 after the Alfa Romeo P2 won the inaugural Automobile World Championship, with the addition of a laurel crown border. The crown was present in the design until 1982.

Following The Alfa Romeo Logo Through History

Nearly every Alfa Romeo symbol relates to the brand’s Italian legacy. A.L.F.A. (or Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) was born in Milan in 1910. Naturally, the snake design from the Visconti crest was chosen for the Alfa Romeo logo.

Milanese citizens would have quickly recognized the image, as it features prominently on architecture throughout the city. For instance, there’s a Biscione above the door of Castello Sforzesco, the 15th-century castle built by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.

When Nicola Romeo took over the company in 1915, A.L.F.A. evolved to Alfa Romeo. The logo remained the same except to modify the text, which now read “Alfa Romeo Milano.” Aside from this change and other minor tweaks over the years, today’s Alfa Romeo badge is nearly identical to the 1911 original.

Discover the Story of Alfa Romeo with Alfa Romeo of Glendale

Looking for a taste of old-world Italy in Los Angeles or Pasadena? Find a new Alfa Romeo Stelvio or Giulia sport sedan for sale near Burbank! We stock an extensive range of pre-owned and new Alfa Romeo models on our lot in Glendale. Learn more about this unique luxury brand and explore the lineup today.

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