The lighting ceremony marked the beginning of the Torch's journey prior to the 2023 Winter EYOF ©EOC

Cheers of joy erupted from the Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Organising Committee as the Flame of Peace was lit here at the Museum of the Ara Pacis, signifying the beginning of the Torch Relay for the next Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).

It was a fitting location as the altar, commissioned in 13 BC, is dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of peace.

The lighting ceremony represented the beginning of the 10-leg journey that the Torch will make from Rome through Italy before arriving at the Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste in time for the Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Opening Ceremony on January 21 next year.

It will not be a typical Torch Relay, where the Flame is carried on foot, as it will travel on board the Io Sono Friulia Venezia Giulia lorry alongside the Festival's mascot Kugy, a marmot.

World Youth Biathlon Championships gold medallist Sara Scattolo, who is from the 2023 host region, had the honour in Rome before handing the Torch to European Olympic Committees President Spyros Capralos.

The Greek official claimed that the ceremony would "ignite our journey to a better and brighter future through sport."

The Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Flame of Peace lighting ceremony took place at the Museum of the Ara Pacis in Rome ©EOC
The Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Flame of Peace lighting ceremony took place at the Museum of the Ara Pacis in Rome ©EOC

Following his address, President of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region Massimiliano Fedriga spoke of the importance of the event.

"The Flame, an iconic symbol of peace, friendship and hope that embodies the ability to bring people together from different nations, cultures, languages and traditions," said the 42-year-old.

"It represents the profound meaning of unity in diversity."

Italy's hosting of the 2023 Winter EYOF comes 30 years after it staged the inaugural event in Aosta in 1993.

It is set to be the biggest edition in history, with a record 2,300 participants, which includes 1,300 athletes.

Freestyle skiing, ski cross, and ski mountaineering are all set to feature for the first time while two of the 12 venues are not actually in Italy.

The Eissportarena in Austria's Spittal an der Drau is due to stage ice hockey fixtures and the Planica Nordic Centre in Slovenia is scheduled to host ski jumping and Nordic combined.