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After being lit in Olympia, the flame is relayed to Athens and flown to Rome, where the Italian leg of the relay begins. It included parts in the neighbouring countries, including the former Olympic Winter Games host cities of Albertville and Grenoble in France.
The relay on Italian soil got under way at the Piazza del Quirinale. Stefano Baldini, the marathon Olympic gold medallist in Athens in 2004, was the first torchbearer. The flame then travelled around Italy, passing in particular through the two cities which had already hosted the Games: Cortina d’Ampezzo and Rome.
When the flame stopped in Cortina d’Ampezzo, it was exactly 50 years to the day after the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in 1956.
The final part of the relay honoured some of Italy’s sporting heroes. First, it was three-time Olympic skiing champion Alberto Tomba who had the privilege to carry the Olympic flame into the stadium, then to hand it to the four men who had made up the Italian 4x10km cross-country skiing relay team which won gold in Lillehammer in 1994. They covered part of the stadium before handing the flame to Piero Gros, an Alpine skiing gold medallist at the Games in 1976, who was followed by the penultimate torchbearer Deborah Compagnoni, three-time Olympic Alpine skiing champion in 1992, 1994 and 1998. She passed the flame to Stefania Belmondo, an Italian Nordic skiing legend, who lit the 57 meters high cauldron, the tallest in the history of the Games.