Strictly speaking, the flame was not “Olympic”, as it was lit in Rome rather than at Olympia in Greece.
On 22 January 1956, the flame was lit on the steps of the Temple of Capitoline Jove in Rome, in a tripod from Olympia. It was carried in a brasero to the top of the steps outside the Senatorial Palace. The first torchbearer set off from there.
The flame arrived at Ciampino airport and took off for Venice. From Venice, the flame traveled by gondola to Mestre. From Mestre, the first stage of the relay taking it to Cortina was covered on roller skates. On 25 January, the day before the Opening Ceremony, the flame was carried by skiers from Zuel, near Cortina, up to the Duca d’Aosta refuge, situated at 2,098m, where it spent the night.
On 26 January, the day the Games were opened, 1952 Olympic Winter gold medallist Zeno Colò carried the flame by skis to Cortina. Rockets were used to illuminate the flame’s path along the valley. In Cortina, two other Olympians, Severino Menardi and Enrico Colli, took turns to carry the flame to the stadium. Once there, speed skater Guido Caroli skated with it into the packed Ice Stadium. The television cables he tripped over during his lap of the track did not prevent him from lighting the cauldron.
Start date: 22 January 1956, Rome (Italy)
End date: 26 January 1956, Ice Stadium, Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy)
First torchbearer: Adolfo Consolini, Olympic participant in athletics (1948, 1952, 1956, 1960), gold medallist in London 1948 and silver medallist in Helsinki 1952
Last torchbearer: Guido Caroli, Olympic participant in speed skating (1948, 1952, 1956)
Number of torchbearers: -
Recruitment of torchbearers: -
Countries visited: Italy
Description: The torch was based on the same model as that for the 1948 Summer Games in London and the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne. It bore the inscription “VII Giochi Invernali Cortina 1956” and the Olympic rings on the upper part.
Designer / Manufacturer: Ralph Lavers / -