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Pickleball In Italy Is Waiting For You And Here Is Where

If you’re a fan and you want to play Pickleball in Italy, this guide will help you find the resources you need to feed your passion during your upcoming visit.

Pickleball In Italy - Court Outside

Pickleball Court?

How Popular Is Pickleball?

According to an article by CNBC:

“The pickleball boom is real. More than 36.5 million people played pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022, according to a new report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals released exclusively to CNBC. Earlier data pinned the participation rate of the sport at 5 million players in 2021.”

The sport continues to grow rapidly in the US with an accompanying growth in sponsors and high profile celebrity endorsements, which makes it one of the hottest sports investments of today.

The popularity is among the older population, with half of all “serious” players, defined as those that play more than 8 times per year, being 55 years and older. For the casual players, those who play less than 8 times a year, are under 55, with the fastest growth seen in under 24. 

Do People Play Pickleball In Italy?

They do play Pickleball in Italy, and it is growing in popularity. There are some other paddle sports in Europe that are more popular, but I’ll get into that a little more below. Italy is divided into 20 regions and you will find pickleball courts located in the larger regions, like Abruzzo, Veneto and Lazio (Rome’s region). Most of the pickleball courts in Italy are private, so before showing up looking for a match, arrangements will need to be made.

There is also a governing body for the sport in Italy called Pickleball Italy. It is officially registered as the Italian Pickleball Association (Associazione Italiana Pickleball). The Italian Pickleball Association is a member of the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) and the World Pickleball Federation (WPF). Pickleball Italy was established in 2018 and is a non-profit association run by volunteers and professionals.

Is Pickleball And Padel In Italy The Same Thing?

While Pickleball is the fastest growing racket sport in the USA, Padel is by far the fastest growing racket sport in the world. There are differences between these two sports that might help to understand. Even though Pickleball and Padel may look similar at first, they evolved from completely different sports. Pickleball evolved from badminton and Padel evolved from tennis. This means very different court dimensions, scoring, and rules of play.

Pickleball In Italy - Paddles

Paddles Made For Pickleball

In fact, the invention of the game is credited to Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell after returning from golf one afternoon. They were bored, so they attempted to set up badminton, but no one could find the shuttlecock. They and their kids ended up at the badminton court and began experimenting with different balls and rackets, including table tennis paddles. The badminton net was eventually lowered to hip level to accommodate driving the ball and a Wiffle ball was thought to be the ideal ball, but later the Cosom Fun Ball was found to be more durable and provided a better playing experience.

If you notice in the pictures I’ve attached, the paddles and balls are very different between the two sports. The Pickleball ball is more like a wiffle ball, but the Padel ball is more similar to a tennis ball. The paddles are also different, with Pickleball paddles having a thicker, solid, closed head and Padel uses a lighter perforated head.

What Is Pickleball Called In Italian?

As you might guess from the article, it is called: Pickleball in Italy. It is not uncommon for Italians to use English words for things that are either considered cool or imported from the US.

Pickleball in Italy Or Padel

Padel Paddles

You will need to be cautious because there are many other popular racket sports in Italy and are easily confused by people less familiar with the sport. In Italy, Tennis, Padel and Badminton are very popular and you can find stores selling equipment more easily than Pickleball equipment.

Where Can I Find Pickleball In Italy?

As mentioned, there are national organizations that could be a starting point for finding courts in Rome and across Italy, so you can definitely reach out to the individual courts to see what options are available to visitors. There are also sites that can help, like the Global Pickleball Network (GPN) or the Facebook site for Pickleball Roma.

Two popular sites to also consider are the Centro Sportivo Santa Maria, which is very close to the Colosseum and if you are a little further out of the Centro Storico (or you have a car), you can check out the New Country Club in the Frascati wine region in Lazio.

If you can make it out to Frascati, the New Country Club offers Tennis, Basketball, swimming and Padel, in addition to the 2 courts for Pickleball players. They also offered, last season, a Pickleball school for adults and children.

Pickleball In Italy - More Equipment

Pickleball Balls

Can I Buy Pickleball Equipment In Rome?

There are sporting goods stores all over Rome, but one of the largest I have found is the Decathlon store in the Porta di Roma mall. As mentioned, there are other, more popular sports like Padel that have more equipment available than Pickleball, but if you keep an eye out, you should be able to find a paddle and balls at the bigger stores. Of course, you can bring your own equipment, or order something from Amazon if you have enough time to do that.

The New Country Club mentioned above also has a store where you can buy paddles and a limited selection of clothing, if you are in a pinch.

More Sporting Information

Once you finished your vigorous match of Pickleball in Rome, you should check out some of these posts and exercise like a Roman of today or days past:

Pickleball In Italy - Equipment

Pickleball Equipment In Rome

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