What’s the Meaning of the Alfa Romeo Logo?

Alfa Romeo Logo


Alfa Romeo can trace its origins to 1910 Milan, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s logo can claim a slice of history for itself. Actually, the Alfa Romeo logo can trace its lineage straight back to medieval Italy! But most importantly, it’s memorable. If you’ve ever taken a close look at it, you may have noticed that it appears to show a giant crown-wearing snake… swallowing a man whole. A scene that’s odd is bound to stick. Join the team at Alfa Romeo of Dayton as we explore each Alfa Romeo symbol past and present, and delve into the rich history of this distinct luxury brand:

The Alfa Romeo Logo: Symbolism

The Alfa Romeo logo is divided vertically into two halves, a design feature that hasn’t changed since 1910. Designers chose to represent the brand with two traditional symbols of Milan: the cross of the municipality on the left, and the Visconti serpent on the right. So, what does the Alfa Romeo badge mean? The Visconti serpent is known to be a heraldic symbol of Milan’s Visconti family, but the meaning of the symbol itself remains a subject of debate.

  • The cross of the municipality — The left half of the logo is associated with the red cross worn by medieval Milanese soldiers during the Crusades, and could be considered the Cross of St Ambrose or St. George’s Cross.
  • The Visconti serpent — While the giant serpent on the right side of the logo could also be a dragon, and it is definitely eating a human. The snake-eating-man symbol, also known as a Biscione, was the symbol for the influential Visconti family of 11th century Milan. As the Visconto gained control over the city in 1277, the Biscione became associated with Milan itself, and can still be found on many buildings and monuments all over the city.
  • The crown — The crown worn by the serpent supposedly commemorates the Viscontis gaining a dukedom in the 15th century.
  • The man being devoured — He’s likely a Saracen or Moor being defeated during the Christian Crusades.
  • Savoy-dynasty knots — The original 1910 logo included two knots dividing “Alfa” and “Romeo” on the logo’s border. A decorative knot used primarily in Italian heraldry, the Savoys were removed from the badge in 1950.
  • Golden laurel crown — The Alfa Romeo badge gained a laurel crown border in 1925 when the Alfa Romeo P2 won the inaugural Automobile World Championship, and was present in the design until 1982.

The Alfa Romeo Brand: History

Alfa Romeo was just A.L.F.A. back in 1910. The auto-maker previously known as Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili was founded in Milan, so a symbol representative of the city was chosen for the logo — the Visconti crest, as seen above the door of Castello Sforzesco, the 15th-century castle built by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.

When Nicola Romeo took over in 1915, A.F.L.A. became “Alfa Romeo.” By 1920, the logo was modified to read “Alfa Romeo Milano.”

Aside from minor tweaks of the wording, typeface changes, and the appearance (and subsequent disappearance) of the laurel wreath, the Alfa Romeo badge design has remained strikingly consistent over the years.

Discover the Story of Alfa Romeo at Alfa Romeo of Dayton!

Stop by Alfa Romeo of Dayton to check out a new Alfa Romeo Giulia or Stelvio for sale near Cincinnati. Our team is happy to help with any questions about affordable luxury car options near Dayton, Alfa Romeo lease deals, and genuine OEM Alfa Romeo parts!

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