As Turin’s two sides prepare to lock horns in round 30 of Serie A, Nicholas Carroll takes a look at the history of the Derby della Mole.
In 1863, the construction of a synagogue began with the aim of providing Turin a building worthy of its new-found status as the Italian capital; this would be named the Mole Antonelliana.
Despite Turin losing its standing as the capital in 1864, the Mole Antonelliana has since stood tall as a strong symbol at the heart of the city.
The first meeting between the clubs took place over 109 years ago on January 13, 1907. A tense rivalry existed even before the very first ball was kicked, given Torino had been formed by a breakaway group from Juventus who had joined forces with the local Football Club Torinese.
For many decades, Juventus would represent the wealthy citizens of the city, falling under the control of the Agnelli family, while Torino would represent the working class community.
Though, despite their differences in class stature and shirt colours, one element both clubs would share was the image of a raging bull emblazoned on their emblems.
The bull stands tall on Turin’s coat of arms as a representation of the city’s fighting spirit, which has been integrated into both clubs’ histories.
Of course, since that first meeting in 1907, the clubs have taken significantly different paths and enjoyed varied periods of success.
Five of the Toro’s seven Serie A titles were won in consecutive years between 1942 and 1949 by the team widely referred to as ‘Grande Torino’. The team would be tragically lost in May of 1949 as a result of a plane crash en route home from Lisbon, marking a heartbreaking decline in the club’s fortunes.
Whereas the Bianconeri have endured many successful eras as Italy’s most accomplished club, winning multiple Serie A titles in every decade since the 1950’s.
Despite their enviable and long-running success, Juve have generally faced a tough challenge in the Derby della Mole.
However, times have been tough for the Granata in recent decades, often finding themselves bouncing between the top two flights of Italian football.
In fact, Torino’s 2-1 win over their rivals in April last year was their first derby victory in over 20 years. Not since April 1995, thanks to a Ruggiero Rizzitelli double, had they previously tasted victory over the Old Lady.
Even so, Torino have still managed a respectable 56 wins from 190 official derbies, with 54 ending in a draw and 80 going the way of the Bianconeri.
Though as Torino continue their re-emergence as a solid Serie A club, the thrill of the derby is beginning to find it’s rightful place back in Italian football.
While it may not have the international appeal of an El Clasico or play a vital role in deciding the Scudetto, the Derby della Mole exists as one of the oldest and culturally significant football traditions in the world.
And every time the clubs face-off, they do so with the knowledge that in spite of their varied paths and trophy cabinets, they both evolved from the very same point and were both born out of the spirit of Turin.
While the scoreline will grab the headlines on Monday morning, it is the passion that defines each and every derby with both sets of fans congregating to celebrate the history that their clubs represent.
And irrelevant of the final score, each derby ends the same way. With the Mole Antonelliana standing tall above the Turin skyline, as a symbol of the city’s historical significance which both clubs have now become intrinsically intertwined with.