The Italian Almanac

monument in Turin

Italian News - February 9

If Valentino Castellani has his way, the 2006 Winter Games, scheduled to begin a year from Thursday, will be remembered as the "Piazza Olympics," a celebration of the Italian way of life.

"What I saw in Athens was the absence, the lack of a focal point where people might gather and live the spirit of the Games," said Castellani, chief organizer of the Torino Olympic Games. "To have the spirit of the Games, you had to be inside the stadium or inside the competition venue. In the city, there was no particular point."

In Torino, the focus will be the city's main square, Piazza Castello, where medals will be awarded each day after competition has ended. Castellani and his team got the idea from organizers of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where a downtown medals plaza was built specially for the Games.