Getty Images

Italian soccer is full of historic rivalries and derbies. We usually write about the Milan derby, the Derby della Madonnina, probably the most iconic one that recently became much more heated after the 2022-23 Champions League semifinals, the Derby della Capitale between Lazio and AS Roma. However, there is another derby that has a big history and definitely deserves a lot of attention in the current Italian league.  The Derby della Mole is the matchup between the two teams from Turin, Juventus and Torino. And while results on the pitch tell us that Juventus are, historically speaking, the stronger side, there is much more to say about this game and these two clubs. These two teams meet again on Saturday (and you can catch all the action on Paramount+).

Why is the derby called Mole?

First of all, the name of the derby, Mole, comes from the iconic Mole Antonelliana, the historic building in the city of Turin that today hosts the National Museum of Cinema. Turin is a small city located in the northwest of the country with less than one million inhabitants that became the industrial center for the whole country, especially in the second part of the past century, when the Italian car industry reached its peak thanks to the FIAT, one of the most iconic Italian brands around the world. 

The two clubs and fanbases also reflected two different parts and views of the city. Historically speaking, the Torino fans were the locals from the Turin area, the ones that represented the middle and working class while Juventus supporters were mostly among the immigrants from the South who, especially after World War 2 moved from southern Italy to Turin, as the city's industry made it economically attractive. On top of that, the Bianconeri were always linked with the Agnelli family, one of the most influential around the country, who also own FIAT. The Agnelli family still own the Italian giants, as this is the 100th year of this unprecedented ownership. In fact, in 1923 Edoardo Agnelli became the president of the club, starting the longest legacy of Italian soccer.

Torino is more than a supporting act

If the history of Juventus is well known from one side, we shouldn't underestimate the importance and relevance of Torino as well. The Granata, as they are called, were the best team in Italy in the 1940's until one of the biggest tragedies of the sport marked the end of that incredible team. The Grande Torino, one of the best teams in the history of the game, won five Serie A titles between 1942 and 1949 but on May 4, 1949 the plane bringing the whole squad back from Lisbon, where they played a friendly against Benfica, crashed on the Superga hill close to Turin. Nobody survived, including iconic players such as Valentino Mazzola, the captain of the team. His son, Sandro, also became one of the greatest players of all time and played for Inter winning two Champions League titles under coach Helenio Herrera. 

The Grande Torino was a special team, full of incredible stories and talents. That tragedy changed the history of Italian soccer and drastically interrupted one of the most exciting legacies of the game. The whole club and city suffered a lot from the events of that tragic day. To this day, fans meet every May 4th in Superga to remember that iconic team, with the captain of the current team naming all the players who tragically passed away that day. 

Juventus dominate the modern era

On the pitch, Juventus have been the best side. In 157 Serie A clashes, the Bianconeri won 76 times, drew 45 while Torino won 35 times. Over the last 34 games played, Torino have only won once, in 2015 (2-1) thanks to goals scored by Matteo Darmian and Fabio Quagliarella. 

That doesn't mean there isn't excitement though. There are many controversial and unforgettable moments in this rivalry. In 2002, the current Leicester City coach Enzo Maresca was playing for Juventus and celebrated the 2-2 equalizing goal against Torino, mocking the horns of the bull, the symbol of Torino, heating up the last minutes of the derby. Years later, in 2013, Torino were close to signing him, but the fans were against the idea of signing a player that years before mocked them. The transfer didn't go through. On the other hand, many players played for both sides, including defender Angelo Ogbonna or more recently Brazilian defender Bremer, who left Torino as captain of the club and joined Juventus in the summer 2022. 

On Saturday, Juventus will meet Torino at the Allianz Stadium, where the Bianconeri have played their home games since the 2011-12 season. Before that, Juventus and Torino shared the same stadium for a few years, and played at the Stadio Olimpico where today Granata still play their home games. However, Torino's historical stadium was the so-called Filadelfia, where the Grande Torino used to play. Since 2017 this is where the team trains every day, connecting the current team with the unforgettable memory of the past, of that iconic team that still lives in the minds of the fans.