The relay highlighted Athens and Rome, the two poles of classical civilisation. In order to recall the relationship between the ancient and modern Games, it passed through numerous ancient sites and birthplaces of athletes who excelled at the ancient Olympic Games.
Notably, the relay travelled through the coastal region of Italy in the south, known in Antiquity as Great Greece (Magna Graecia), where Greek colonies such as Metapontum and Tarento were located.
13 August 1960: After a relay in Greece via Pyrgos, Patras, Corinth, Megara and Eleusis, the flame reached Athens at the end of the day. The same evening it set sail on the Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian navy training ship.
18 August: The flame reached Italian soil in Syracuse near the Arethusa fountain, a monument that refers to an ancient legend. En route for Rome, a flame was left in Naples, where the sailing competitions were held, and in Castel Gandolfo, host of the rowing and canoe events.
24 August: The relay entered the province of Rome on the Via Appia Nuova. That evening, the flame was welcomed with great pomp on the Capitoline Hill where it spent the night, and the next day it was taken to the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
Start date: 12 August 1960, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 25 August 1960, Olympic Stadium, Rome (Italy)
First torchbearer: Panayotis “Takis” Epitropoulos, Olympic participant in athletics (1960)
Last torchbearer: Giancarlo Peris
Number of torchbearers: 1,529: 330 in Greece, 1,199 in Italy
Recruitment of torchbearers: The Ministries of the Interior, Education and Defence collaborated with the provincial sub-committees of the Italian National Olympic Committee to select the torchbearers from among young men aged 18 to 23 of all social classes. To do this, tests were carried out in schools and sports clubs.
Distance: 1,863km (leg by boat from Athens to Syracuse excluded): 330km in Greece, 1,533km in Italy
Countries visited: Greece, Italy
Description: Reflecting the classical touch which characterised this edition of the Games, the shape of the torch was inspired by those featured on ancient monuments. Slender grooves decorate and refine the body of the torch. It bears the inscription: “Giochi della XVII Olympiade”.
Fuel: Capsule of resinous material
Designer / Manufacturer: Amedo Maiuri / Curtisa
The torch designer, Amedeo Maiuri, was an archaeologist famous for his studies of the Roman site of Pompeii.
It was for the Rome 1960 Games that the relay was televised for the first time.