Italian officials have just announced their intention to be considered for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said it will send a letter of intent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nominating the cities of Milan and Turin before the application deadline of March 31st.
For those who don’t know Italian geography, both Milan and Turin are located in northern Italy and are only about an hour and a half drive away from each other. While Turin has hosted the Olympics before (2006), this is the first time the fashionable city of Milan was included on the ballot.
If Italy wins the bid for the 2026 Games, it will be the third time the European nation has hosted a Winter Olympics. Besides the 2006 Turin Olympics, Italy also hosted the 1956 Winter Games in the ski resort Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Although Italians are hopeful to welcome the world to another Winter Games, it’s expected to face steep competition from other world-class cities. In addition to Turin/Milan, the four other major cities now vying for the 2026 games include Calgary, Sapporo, Stockholm, and Sion.
The announcement of Italy’s intent to enter the Winter Games comes as a bit of a surprise given the results of the recent March 4th elections. Today, Italy is operating without a majority party in its parliament.
The anti-EU party called the Five Star Movement won the most votes in this recent election. Just two years ago, members of the Five Star Movement squashed CONI’s hopes of submitting a letter of intent for Rome to host the 2024 Summer Games. It’s unclear how supportive the Five Star Movement is to the idea of a 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan/Turin.
In case you were wondering, Italy hosted the Summer Olympics just one time in Rome in 1960. The 2024 Summer Olympics, however, will be held in another European capital: Paris.
The next phase of the application process is for each city to send the IOC dossiers and feasibility reports. The IOC is expected to meet next September in Milan to choose the winner of the 2026 Winter Games.