At the age of 41, Francesca Piccinini, the iconic Italian pro volleyball player brings her remarkable playing career to a close.
After an award winning career spanning 25 years, 'la Piccinini' known as "Picci" to her close friends is one of Italy’s most celebrated athletes.
Often regarded as the best female athlete in the history of Italian volleyball, Francesca's fame and reputation goes well beyond her country's borders.
She is highly sought after and well-known internationally.
She played for the Italian national volleyball team for years of international competition including multiple World Grand Prix and World Championships.
1996 Junior European Championships
1998 World Grand Prix (5th place)
1999 FIVB World Cup (7th place)
1999 BCV Volley Masters (Bronze)
1999 World Grand Prix (4th place)
1999 European Championship (Bronze)
2000 World Grand Prix (7th place)
2000 Volley Masters (4th place)
2001 European Championship (Silver)
2002 World Championship (Gold)
2004 FIVB World Grand Prix (Silver)
2005 FIVB World Grand Prix (Silver)
2005 European Championship (Silver)
2006 FIVB World Grand Prix (Bronze)
2007 FIVB World Cup (Gold)
2007 European Championship (Gold)
2008 FIVB World Grand Prix (Bronze)
2009 World Grand Champions Cup (Gold)
2009 European Championship (Gold)
2010 FIVB World Grand Prix (Bronze)
2014 World Championship (4th Place)
Highlights of Piccinini serving, digging, blocking and attacking in the 2006 World Championships, 2007 World Cup, and 2008 Olympic Games.
Named the 2009-10 CEV Indesit Champions League Final Four Most Valuable Player after she and her club Volley Bergamo won the championship title.
Although, Francesca represented Italy at four Olympics the Italians were never able to reach the medal winning podium, finishing
Thanks in part to Piccinini and an amazing team effort, the Italian womens' national team won gold at some of the most prestigious women's international events in the world including the
Piccinini has played for several Italian clubs but is best known for playing in the Foppapedretti Bergamo (formerly Volley Bergamo), a top flight Italian volleyball club, for 12 years (1999-2011)
1999 Italian Super Cup Champions
2001-2002 Italian Championship Winners
2002-2003 Women’s CEV Champions League (3rd Place)
2004-2005 Women’s CEV Champions League
2005-2006 Italian Championship Winners
2006 Italian Cup Winners
2006-2007 Women’s CEV Champions League Winners
2008 Italian Cup Winners
2008-2009 CEV Champions League Winners
2009-2010 CEV Champions League Winners
2010 FIVB Club World Cup (Bronze)
2010-2011 Italian Championship Winners
2011 Italian Super Cup Winner
2015-2016 CEV Champions League Winner
The infamous left side outside hitter earned some of the "top individual best volleyball player in the tournament" awards in the world including
These accomplishments are only some of the stunning career highlights in Francesca’s career.
This is particularly amazing if you consider her humble beginnings when was inspired by watching a famous Japanese cartoon series on television.... and guess what the cartoon was about? A volleyball team!
Inspired by the show, Francesca decided to try out with a small local team in Carrara, Italy and as they say, the rest is history!
She has also appeared as a model in several magazine covers.
Piccinini once posed nude for the Men’s Health edition of the 2004 calendar.
She was inspired to play volleyball by a 1980s Italian anime show.
“I like to be a role model for them. I am happy and honored for having the chance to help them improve and grow.
This year Francesca announced she will retire from her volleyball professional career after she completes her current season with Igor Gorgonzola Novara the Division I team she's played for since 2016.
The news pulls the curtain closed on a long and rewarding career, with over two decades at the top of her game.
This remarkable athlete is a living example of how hard work, focus, and passion can make a difference in one’s life.
She has inspired many young women to pursue a career in sports and athletics.
Now, on the eve of her 41st birthday, Francesca says “she feels younger now than when she started.”
She is looking forward to starting the next chapter in her career.
I was still playing in Italy when Francesca first started playing professionally and was able to witness her first years as a pro player when she was on the Carrarese (Pallavolo Carrara) team.
She then moved on to the big time after two years playing for my former team Reggio Emilia followed by one year stints at Modena, Spezzano and on the Brazilian team Rexona Volley opting to play for Brazilian Olympic coach Bernardinho until she decided to come home and play for the top team in Italy for a number of years...Volley Bergamo.
At Bergamo, "Picci" won numerous awards and honed her world class skills as she played along side some of the best international female players who came to play on Volley Bergamo during the 12 years she was there (1999 - 2012).
Its amazing to see how far she has come.
Congratulations Francesca Piccinini on an amazing professional volleyball career!
Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!
I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.
Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.
If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list.
No need to guess where you need to go now? Here are three options:
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