AS Roma vs Lazio history: Why is it called the Derby della Capitale?

The Rome Derby is regarded as the most bad-tempered of the big derbies in Serie A, the Derby della Capitale between AS Roma and Lazio is never to be missed.

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Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the city of Rome to wonder at the ancient ruins and many of the historical landmarks scattered across Italy’s capital. To some, one of those must-visit locations is the Stadio Olimpico on the north-west edge of the city, where Serie A pair and Derby della Capitale rivals AS Roma and Lazio contest one of the fiercest rivalries in world football, the Rome Derby.

With just five Scudetti between them – the Giallorossi most recently lifting the title 12 months after the Biancocelesti in 1999/00 – the Derby della Capitale is more about local bragging rights than the Derby della Madonnina further north, where trophies are more regularly celebrated. Although there is historically less silverware in the capital, there is an extra edge added to the fixture.

Gianluca Mancini and Mattia Zaccagni square up in the Rome Derby, or Derby della Capitale, between AS Roma and Lazio. (Photo: Getty)

Why is it called the Derby della Capitale?

With the coverage the likes of AC Milan, Inter, and Juventus receive, you might be forgiven for believing that Milan or Turin are the peninsula’s official capital, and it’s worth noting that Turin was actually the first official capital of a united Italy from 1861 to 1865. However, since 1871, the city of Rome, 300 miles away, has been the country’s heartbeat.

Therefore, with Roma and Lazio the two most prominent clubs in the city, the Derby della Capitale moniker needed little imagination from whoever first coined the phrase, but might never have existed. However, when former prime minister Benito Mussolini demanded Roman clubs merge into one to challenge northern rivals, which three did to form AS Roma, Lazio defied the dictator and a rivalry was born.

Lazio players celebrate Mattia Zaccagni’s goal in the Derby della Capitale. (Photo: Getty)

AS Roma vs Lazio: The Rome Derby in the Coppa Italia final

The most significant Derby della Capitale of the history of the fixture is clear to at least one half of the famous city divide, as the two sides faced off in the only ever Coppa Italia final between the two in May 2013. Lazio were the victors and they even commemorated the event with a 10-year anniversary kit.

In front of 70,000 spectators at the Stadio Olimpico, a nervous encounter was finally settled in the 71st minute, when Senad Lulic converted a low Antonio Candreva cross and sent one half of Rome wild in celebration. However, the Italian authorities managed to unite both sets of fans, as they collectively jeered a performance of Gangnam Style by South Korean artist Psy ahead of kick-off.

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