The Alfa Romeo Symbol

 Yigal Ben Efraim
The Alfa Romeo Symbol

The Alfa Romeo logo is split in half and contains the emblems of Alfa's hometown Milan and the one of the great Milanese 'Visconti' family.

On the left is the red cross on a white background, which refers back to the days of the First Crusade, when many Milanese soldiers were amongst the Lombards who followed Giovanni of Rho to the Holy Land. The red cross was their symbol, whilst the white background symbolised the white shirts they were forced to wear under their armour to protect them from the fierce Palestinian sun.

On the right of the badge are the arms of the Visconti family, which later became recognised as those of the City of Milan.

There are several stories on were the serpent came from. Some says it represents the snakes that the Lombards used to wear round their necks in a little case as a lucky charm, - or the dragon which, at the start of the fifth century, plagued Milan and was finally killed by Uberto, Squire of Angera, and founder of the Visconti family, - or it could be the symbol of Ottone Visconti who fought a victorious duel with the Saracen leader, Voluce, during the First Crusade. The city of Milan, however, claims that the serpent has nothing to do with the Visconti family.

What's certain, though, is that the Visconti family emblazoned its red cross and serpent coat of arms over the great door of Castello Sforzesco in Milan - and this is where the Alfa Romeo association begins.