Founded 1872 in Milan by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, at its beginning it specialized in rubber and derivative processes, and effectively its activities still concentrate on the production of tires, and cables (for energy and telecommunications). In 2005 Pirelli sold its cable division to Goldman Sachs which changed its name to Prysmian.
The Pirelli Internetional Award is given annually for the best international multimedia involving the communication of Science & Technology conducted entirely on the Internet.
They formerly made scuba diving rebreathers.
Pirelli is the primary sponsor of the Italian football club Internazionale, the Brazilian football club Palmeiras, the Argentinian football club Velez, the Uruguayan football club Penarol and of Maltese club Valletta for a short time.
Pirelli has a factory in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England. Burton Albion Football Club (of the Conference National) built a new stadium next to the factory in 2005, and Pirelli agreed the sponsor the stadium and allow it to be called the Pirelli Stadium.
Pirelli also have a major manufacturing site in Carlisle, UK
Pirelli is the only allowed tyre brand in the FIM World Superbike Championship in 2007.