Public days: 3 - 5 November 2023

A ball vendor at the 17th Olympic Games in Rome

25 August – 11 September 1960
© Intesa Sanpaolo Publifoto Archive

The Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 were exceptional and innovative in many ways. First of all, they represented at attempt to reconcile the needs of a modern event with the history of the city: la Basilica of Maxentius and the Baths of Caracalla hosted several competitions, while the marathon was organized on a route through the wonders of the city. 

The event is also remembered for the appearance of the first sponsorships, and for the fact that it was the first such occasion to be televised live, based on sale of broadcasting rights. It also marked the first important occasion in which there was discussion of doping, after the collapse and death of a bicycle racer. During the Games in Rome, the Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila ran barefoot, winning the marathon and becoming the first Olympic champion from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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