In the summer of 1910, Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (A.L.F.A.) began business. The new company's badge was taken from the coat of arms of Milan where Alfa originated. The left part of the badge is the red cross on white background which recalls the heroic deeds of the Milanese Giovanni da Rho during the First Crusades of the 11th century. In the battles to recover the Holy Land for Christianity, he was the first to place the Cross on the walls of Jerusalem. The right half is the crest of Ottone Visconti, founder of the noble Visconti family of Milan. He is credited with the killing of an infidel in a duel during the First Crusade. His victim's shield was inscribed with the image of a snake devouring a man. Ottone used this emblem in his family crest which was later adopted by the city of Milan onto its coat of arms. It is a symbol of power and success of Milan's enemies being devoured by the snake. In 1915, Nicola Romeo took over control of A.L.F.A. and added his name to the company's logo.
The laurel wreath was added to the badge in 1925 to celebrate Alfa's first World Championship. In 1972 Alfa opened the Alfasud factory in Naples and dropped the name Milano from the badge. In 1981, the laurel leaves were also omitted.
In 1920 the first car produced with the Alfa Romeo badge was the Torpedo 20-30 HP.Most people's first sight of an Alfa Romeo was with Dustin Hoffman driving an Alfa Spider in the film 'The Graduate'.