Initially, there were two proposals for the way the Olympic flame would travel to Rome. Under the first proposal, the flame would travel to Italy by the Ionian Sea, while the second choice was that the torch crossed the Balkan countries. The organisers picked the first one and the Olympic flame arrived to Messina on the Italian navy’s “Americo Vespucci” training ship.
It was the first time in the Games history that a theatre actress, Maria Moscholiou, was the High Priestess in the lighting ceremony. Olympic Games decathlete Panagiotis Epitropoulos was the first torchbearer. The torch was designed by Amedeo Maiuri, a professor at the Napoli archeological museum.
In Italy, some 3,000 posters advertised the torch relay, while Greece circulated some 300 stamps which depicted ancient Olympia’s lighting ceremony.