Udinese Calcio was founded in 1896 as a spin-off from the Udinese Society of Gymnastics and Fencing. In 1922, the club reached the final of the Coppa Italia but lost out to FC Vado. After many years of bouncing between the lower leagues, Udinese achieved a second place finish in Serie B during the 1949-50 season and earned promotion to the top flight.
The club entered into a decline in the 1960s and spent two decades outside of Serie A. The 1980s, on the other hand, saw the club's fortunes turn around, as they achieved promotion to the first tier of Italian football and even signed the legendary Brazilian international Zico, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. However, Udinese's role in a betting scandal during the 1985-86 season saw the club docked nine points. It was ultimately insurmountable and Udinese were relegated once more. During the 1990s, the club bounced between Serie B and Serie A several times.
Although Udinese have never won a major trophy, they did win the Mitropa Cup, a continental competition for second division clubs, in 1980. Furthermore, in 2000, the club won the UEFA Intertoto Cup, gaining entry into the UEFA Cup as a result. The club's best ever league finish was second place behind AC Milan in the 1954-55 season. In 2004-05, Udinese finished fourth and gained qualification for the Champions League for the first time. In the 2011–12 season, Udinese finished in third place.
Noteable players to represent Udinese over the years include Zico, Dino Zoff, Oliver Bierhoff, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alexis Sánchez and current club captain, Antonio Di Natale, who has scored over 150 goals for the club, earning the Italian Footballer of the Year award for 2009-10 along the way.
Since 1976, Udinese have played home matches at the Stadio Friuli. The stadium has a capacity of 41,652, although this is currently limited to 30,642 due to renovations.