So, a snake, a man and a Cross walk into a bar...
When Alfa (A.L.F.A. for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) Romeo was founded in 1910, draughtsman Romano Cattaneo came up with the company’s logo based on a crest he saw in Milan above the door of Castello Sforzesco. Being that the company was founded in Milan, a symbol representative of the city seemed appropriate. Designer Giuseppe Merosi helped turn the idea into Alfa Romeo’s official emblem. Apart from some minor tweaks with the wording, gold trim, and wreath appearance over the years, the design has remained fairly consistent.
The left side of the emblem is a red cross over a white background–a medieval Christian symbol. During the Crusades, Milanese soldiers associated with Giovanni of Rho donned a red cross and white undergarments beneath their armor. Giovanni of Rho is known for leading an army to the Holy Land and for erecting a cross on the walls of Jerusalem during the First Crusade.
This image could be considered the Cross of St. Ambrose or St. George’s Cross.
Romano Cattaneo was the draftsman who came up with the company’s logo. He based it on a crest above the door of Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Since the company was founded in Milan, to have a symbol representative of the city seemed relevant.
It was designer Giuseppe Merosi who helped turn the idea into the official Alfa Romeo logo that we all recognize.
The other side of the emblem shows the famous red cross over a white background. You might recognize it as a Christian symbol from medieval times on the flags that Milanese soldiers carried during the Crusades. Soldiers who were associated with Giovanni of Rho wore a red cross and white tunics under their armor. During the first crusade, Giovanni of Rho made a name for himself in history for leading an army to the Holy Land and for erecting a cross on the walls of Jerusalem, which became known as the Cross of St. Ambrose, or more familiarly, St. George's Cross.
So, what's up with the dragon eating the man alive? I get Ferrari's stallion and Maserati's Trident, but the serpent chowing down on the man? I used to think it had something to do with the Cross on one side and the devil as the serpent getting the better of the man through the temptations of this sensual car.
However, that apparently is not the story. I've heard one account that we have it all backward; it's the man evolving out of his lower self. I'm not sure about all that, but here is what we do know:
The enormous serpent, or dragon, gobbling up a red man is the symbol of the powerful Visconti family of 11th-century Milan. This image is known as a Biscione and it has become the symbol for Milan, and you can see it all around the city.