Accessibility links

Breaking News

With 4 Weeks to Go, Turin Working Feverishly to Prepare for Olympics

With less than four weeks to go to the opening of the Winter Olympics in Turin, there is still quite a lot of work to be done. There will be tight security in the city, which is not used to handling large numbers of tourists.

Residents of Turin say the city looks better, following efforts to get it ready to host the Winter Olympics next month, although the work is not completely finished.

Francesco is a 20-year-old student from Sicily who lives in Turin. He says the city has changed and that is thanks to the Olympic Games. He says, one of the reasons there has not been much talk of these games in Italy is because winter sports are not as popular as football.

He says he is not sure whether he will be able to attend Olympic events, because the tickets are too expensive for students. "They are not for everyone's pockets," he says.

Loredana, a shop assistant from Turin, sat eating a slice of pizza in the central Piazza Castello, which opens up in front of the Royal Palace and is where the medal ceremonies will be held.

She pointed at workmen and steel scaffolding, and said she hoped everything would be ready in time. She added that she wanted visitors coming from all over the world to enjoy her city.

"We are happy," she says, "because it's an event. For us, it is opening a window to the world, and this is important to our city." Beyond that, Loredana says, she hopes the investments that were made will also benefit the city in the future.

Loredana said Turin is not accustomed to large crowds, and she worried about whether security would be sufficient for the numbers of people expected to arrive.

On the other side of the square, the prefect of Turin, who is responsible for security, said exceptional measures have been taken. He said extra police officers have already been deployed and there will be more.

The prefect, Goffredo Sottile, said every Olympic venue will have its own security system, with someone responsible for security there. There will also be a central office charged with Olympic security.

The Italian interior minister is scheduled to tour the Olympic venues in the city and in the mountains on January 23 to check on security arrangements.

Sottile says there has been no specific threat, but there are concerns that the Winter Games could be a target for international terrorists, or anarchists in Italy, who may use the opportunity to attract attention.