Olympic Torch Tour of Italy Begins

Earlier today in Rome, Stefano Baldini, the first torchbearer of the Olympic Relay, received the torch from Italian President Ciampi. The Flame now begins a 64-day journey through 600 towns, traveling over 7,000 miles, before reaching its destination in Torino on February 10, 2006, where it will light the Olympic Cauldron and officially open the Winter Games. Over the next two months, the torch will cross the country transported by 10,000 torch bearers, heading first this week to Rieti. The torch will visit Palermo for Christmas, spend New Years in Naples, take a gondola ride in Venice (Jan. 17), mark the 50th anniversary of the last Italian Winter Games in Cortina (Jan. 26) and climb up Monte Bianco (Feb. 7). The torch will also pass through sections of France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia along the way, before arriving in Torino for opening ceremonies. Each week until then, I’ll bring you periodic Torch Tour updates, which will highlight some of the towns along the route. Just look for this logo at least once each week for a Torch Tour Town profile, which might give you some ideas for where to head on your next Italian getaway!