Culture Magazine

1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

By Pinkall @pinkall

The Games of the XVII Olympiad Rome, Italy

1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

Opening Ceremony of the 1960 Olympics in Rome

Olympic Ceremony Records
italics indicate records at the time

  • First Use of the Current Olympic Anthem (performed in every Olympic ceremony since; it was decided the hymn sung in the 1896 Olympics in Athens should become the official Olympic Anthem)
  • First Presentation of the "Antwerp" Olympic Flag (the Olympic flag from the Antwerp Olympics of 1920 - actually from the 1924 Paris Olympics because the 1920 flag was stolen when an American diver climbed the pole and stole the flag only to return it in 2000 at the age of 103 - is presented to the Mayor of the host city who will keep the flag in the Town Hall until the following Olympics)
  • Most Nations Participating (83) - previous Melbourne 1956 (72)
  • Most Athletes Participating (5,338) - previous Helsinki (4,436)

Opening Ceremony Stadio Olympico (72,698)
August 25, 1960

Official Report
(many photos; click the black arrow for larger view)
Opening Ceremony Highlights
The Opening Ceremony in Rome provided little artistic innovation, except for the use of exquisite music.  The fact that the Olympic Hymn of 1956 was so poorly written, allowed the IOC to determine that an official Olympic Anthem should be established and it was decided that the original anthem from 1896 should become the standard bearer.  Rome also saw the beginning of the Antwerp Flag relay between the mayors of the previous Olympic Games and the current host.  This would later evolve into a Closing Ceremony tradition, and reverse the ownership (originally the flag was held for four years AFTER hosting the Olympics; now, it is obtained at the previous Closing Ceremony and held for four years PRIOR to hosting the Olympics) - a small but important element, this tradition would be an evolutionary marker to add cultural artistic elements connecting the two hosts; later evolving into an entire artistic segment of the future host during the Closing Ceremony.  Another odd note, the organizing committee commissioned the Ministry of Defense to breed extra pigeons because the Military Pigeon-house of Rome had too few (6,000) to make an effective bird release (7,200).

  • Several military bands play marches from "Norma" by Rossini, "Moses" by Rossini, "Ernani" by Verdi, and many others
  • Olympic Fanfare by Novaro played; President of Italy and dignitaries arrive
  • Italian National Anthem performed by band
  • Fanfare by Pirazzini performed; Parade of Nations
  • President of Italy declares the games open
  • Olympic Flag carried into the stadium to Hymn of the Sun from "Iris" by Mascagni; raised; band and Choir of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia sing the Olympic Anthem
  • The "Antwerp" Olympic Flag is presented to the Mayor of Rome from the Mayor of Melbourne, who will keep the flag in the town hall until the games of 1964 in Tokyo
  • Artillery fired, 7,200 pigeons released, all church bells in Rome peal
  • Olympic Flame brought into the stadium; Olympic Cauldron lit by Giancarlo Peris (winner of an Italian Junior Cross Country race)
  • Athlete's Oath
  • National Anthem of Italy performed by band and choir 


1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

Gold Medal from the 1960 Rome Olympics

1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

Olympic Torch from the 1960 Rome Olympics


1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

Official Poster of the 1960 Rome Olympics


1960 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony - Rome

1960 Olympic Cauldron in Rome

OLYMPIC CEREMONY DATABASE 1896 - 1900 - 1904 - 1906 - 1908 - 1912 - 1916 - 1920 - 1924 - 1928 - 1932 - 1936 - 1940 - 1944 - 1948 - 1952 - 1956 Equestrian - 1956 - 1960

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog