The Italian Almanac

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Rome Wins

Rome beat off competition from Venice to get the nod to be Italy's candidate city for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced. The decision was widely expected as Venice was seen as having little realistic chance of winning an eventual vote at the International Olympic Committee, which will assign the 2020 Games in 2013. Indeed, CONI said Venice had not gained enough points during Wednesday's meeting of its executive to make it to the final vote, which the Italian capital won unanimously.

While matching Venice for historical and artistic beauty, Rome also has the infrastructure and transport links of an international metropolis, unlike Venice, which has a population of less than 300,000. It also has a proven track record in holding major sporting events, having hosted the 1960 Olympics and carried off a largely successful edition of the World Swimming Championships last year. Many of the required sports facilities, such as the Stadio Olimpico for the athletics and the pool used for the swimming races at the 2009 world championships, are up and running and would only need upgrading.

Venice, in contrast, would have been starting from scratch. Furthermore, the logistical problems in organising events in Venice would have been a massive headache. Some of the events in the Venice dossier were located in areas which could only be reached by boat, creating problems for athletes, the public and the press. This is probably why CONI was not swayed by the strong support of the Northern League, a junior member of the current national government, expressed for the lagoon city.

Bari and Palermo had also expressed an interest in hosting the Games but failed to make CONI's short list.