Rome, Olympic Stadium, 1960
© Archivio Publifoto Intesa Sanpaolo
The 17th Olympic Games took place in Rome in the summer of 1960, after the city had its hopes of hosting the event dashed in 1908 due to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius two years earlier. The Olympic flame crossed the Aegean Sea and Magna Graecia, then passing through St. Peter’s Square to receive the blessing of Pope John XXIII. The last torchbearer, who ignited the Olympic cauldron in Rome, was the Italian runner Giancarlo Peris. The event was part of the rebirth of the city of Rome and brought prestige to the whole country, which with 36 medals placed third after the USSR and the USA.