Although Atalanta was founded in 1907 the Italian Football Federation, FIGC, did not recognize the team before 1914. The team was founded to oppose the already existing FC Bergamo and took the name of the Greek female athlete Atalanta. The team is known as 'la regina delle provinciali' as it is the most successful team from a city that is not the capital of an Italian region.
The current club we know of today, Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, is the result of a merger in 1924 between Atalanta and Bergamasca. The first team name was Atalanta Bergamasca di Ginnastica e Schema 1907. In 1928 the team moved to the grounds they still use today: Viale Giulio Cesare.
Atalanta joined the Italian league in 1929. The club first reached Serie A in 1937, but were relegated immediately. The club returned in 1940 and remained in A until 1959. In 1948 the team reached its highest position, finishing in 5th place. After a single season in Serie B in 1960 the club was promoted and lasted a further decade in A. In this period, Atalanta achieved their only silverware to this day: the Coppa Italia in 1963. The team suffered relegation in 1973, which led to an uncertain period of promotion and relegation between the two levels.
In 1981 the club fell into Serie C1, a blow which ultimately revitalised the club. The team returned to B the next season and made it back to A in 1984. The club's form in Serie A has remained uncertain ever since, as relegation loomed in 1987, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2005 and 2010. After a change of ownership, 2011 saw Atalanta immediately return to Serie A: it will compete in its 51st season in the top level of the Italian football system. The club has had very few good runs in Europe over the years, the best spell ending in a Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1988; in 1991 Atalanta reached UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
The team that plays its matches at Atleti Azzurri d'Italia stadium is the team that has spent the most time in the highest league without ever winning the title. Despite that it is the team that has won most Serie B championships (together with Genoa, 6) and has been promoted most times, 13, to Serie A.
Remaining in the top tier is undoubtedly the focus for the 2011/12 season but with a hefty points deduction, many already feel that Atalanta's card is marked.