“It was off the proverbial hook.” That was how AAR Mellon Professor Corey Brennan FAAR’88 described The 1960 Rome Olympic Games Conference, which he organized under the auspices of the Academy for 30 September-2 October. An additional event—a book presentation of the new Italian edition of David Maraniss’ Rome 1960—followed on the evening of Monday 4 October.
That took place at the renowned Roman athletic and cultural club Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo, and was moderated by RCCTR Socio Massimo Guerrieri Paleotti. The evening event featured contributions by Brennan, Federigo Argentieri (John Cabot University), and author and politician Massimo Teodori, as well as a presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss himself.
It was David Maraniss who had inaugurated the conference with a keynote speech at the Centro Studi Americani (CSA) on Thursday 30 September. Introducing Maraniss were CSA President (and two-time Prime Minister of Italy) Giuliano Amato and International Olympic Committee Vice President Mario Pescante.
Friday 1 October featured a full day of paper sessions at the American Academy, topped by an evening screening—indeed world premiere—of the new Cinecittà Luce documentary, Sul Filo di Lana: Roma a la sua Olimpiade. The film was directed by noted documentarian Leonardo Tiberi, who was on hand to introduce his work to the overflow crowd, which included many members of the Friends of the Academy in Italy. The Rome Sustainable Food Project provided artiginal beer on tap and free popcorn to the audience packed into the Founders’ Court of the AAR.
And throughout the Friday participants could view an extraordinary exhibit of Rome 1960 ephemera from the collections of prolific sports author Marco Impiglia and 1960 Olympian Luciana Marcellini Hercolani-Gaddi (200m breaststroke), who competed for Italy at the record-breaking age of 12. Impiglia, who curated the show, used much of this material to inform his impressive new book, L’Olimpiade dal volto umano, a 1200+ page treatise on the 1960 Games.
The program on Saturday 2 October started bright and early with an extensive didactic walk through the Olympic Village and the competition areas of the Foro Italico with 1960 gold medal winners Rafer Johnson (decathlon) and Lucinda Williams Adams (4X100m relay), plus Luciana Marcellini Hercolani-Gaddi. CNN was on hand to film some of the more dramatic moments involving Rafer Johnson. Facilitating the site visits were Paolo Pedinelli (Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano = CONI) and Corey Brennan, with architects/architectural historians Manuel Cresciani (Northumbria) and Simona Salvo (Università di Camerino) providing expert guidance in the Olympic Village area.
Top: Corey Brennan explicates mosaic plan in architect Luigi Moretti’s Piazzale dell’Impero (1937). Below, being filmed from left: Paolo Pedinelli (CONI), current Fellow Elizabeth Robinson, architect Tomasso Magnifico (nephew of Luigi Moretti).
The Saturday continued in the afternoon with athletes’ narratives and paper sessions at Foro Italico, in CONI’s overwhelming Salone d’Onore in Palazzo H; an open discussion of Rome’s bid for the 2020 Olympics moderated by Fausto Milano (Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo) brought the conference proper to a close.
Then it was off to another wing of Palazzo H for an elegant reception at the breathtaking palaestra of the Università di Roma ‘Foro Italico’.
Presenting papers at the conference were Manuel Cresciani (Northumbria), Alicia Imperiale (Temple), Ann Keen (Rutgers), Rita Liberti (Cal State, East Bay), Judith Grant Long (Harvard), Marzia Marandola (Roma ‘Tor Vergata’), Simon Martin (Hertfordshire/British School at Rome), Susan Schafer (Institute of Fine Arts, NYU), Marida Talamona (Roma Tre), and Nadia Zonis (CUNY). Their contributions variously discussed the planning, architecture, urbanistic aspects, media representations, and social and political impact of the Rome 1960 Olympics.
Presiding at various sessions of the conference were Christopher S. Celenza (AAR), Maria Grazia D’Amelio (Roma ‘Tor Vergata’), Bruno De Lisi and Fausto Milano (both of the Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo), Mario Pescante (IOC), Fabio Pigozzi (Roma ‘Foro Italico’), and Simona Salvo (Camerino).
A detailed schedule of the proceedings for this multi-day, multi-location, multi-disciplinary conference can be found here; see further below in this post for a selection of photos from the four days of activities.
Collaborating with the American Academy in Rome for the conference and its associated events were the British School at Rome, Centro Studi Americani, Cinecittà Luce, Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano, Embassy of the United States of America (which also generously provided financial support), Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo, and Università degli Studi di Roma “Foro Italico”.
AAR Programs Assistant Giulia Barra and Senior Programs Associate Anne Coulson as well as Paolo Pedinelli (CONI Servizi) played key roles in organizing this conference; AAR NY Office Associate Director of Development Jennifer Dudley, Vice President for Development Elizabeth Gray Kogen, and Director of External Affairs Milena Sales also provided valuable assistance. The one-day exhibition of Rome 1960 ephemera was expertly installed by Stefano Silva.
Special thanks are owed to Caterina Borelli, Mario Capuano (Unione Italiana Collezionisti Olimpici e Sportivi), Bruno De Lisi (Tevere Remo), Federica Fagnani (Roma ‘Foro Italico’), Vera Fazio (Cinecittà Luce), Marco Impiglia, Nancy Hart, arch. Tomasso Magnifico, Linda Maraniss, David Mees (Embassy of the United States), Karim Mezran (Director, Centro Studi Americani), Fausto Milano (Tevere Remo), Vicki Serianni, and especially to AAR Trustee Richard L. Grubman and his wife Caroline Mortimer for their crucial support of and participation in The 1960 Rome Olympic Games Conference.
Saturday 2 October: Exploring the Olympic Village. Top: the former women’s sector. Middle: former men’s housing for Germany, Austria, France. Bottom (Credit, Michael Waters): athletes recall the Social Center of the Olympic Village.