By Duncan Mackay in Copenhagen

October 3 - Italy believes Rio de Janeiro's selection as the 2016 Olympics host has given it an opportunity to host the 2020 Games, with Rome and Venice both announcing plans to bid less than a day after the Brazilian city's stunning victory here last night.

Giovanni Petrucci, the President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), believes that the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to award the Games to Rio makes it more likely the Games will return to Europe in 2020.

He said: "I've spoke about it with the Italian IOC members, who are always influential in terms of numbers and prestige."

Immediately after Petrucci's statement, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno and a group of politicians from the Northeastern Veneto region announced their candidacies.

Rome was considered the favourite for the 2004 Games but lost to Athens.

The Italian capital hosted a highly successful Games in 1960, and Turin was the site of the 2006 Winter Games.

Alemanno said: "The choice of Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games offers a big opportunity to Italy and Rome for the next edition in 2020.

"More than half a century after the fantastic Games of 1960 we can dream of bringing the Olympic rings back to the Italian capital."

Venice's bid likely will encompass a large part of the surrounding regions of Padua and Treviso, not only the lagoon city.

Venice's Mayor Massimo Cacciari said: "Venice is an 'icon city' unique in the world with international recognition.

"The Olympics is the biggest international event and to promote and organise the 2020 Games would allow the city and the whole metropolitan area to accelerate numerous regeneration projects."

CONI will decide next year on Italy's bid, with presentations to the IOC due in 2011.

The IOC vote for the 2020 Games will be held in 2013.

Italy has the highest number of IOC members with five - Mario Pescante, Ottavio Cinquanta, Franco Carraro, Francesco Ricci Bitti and Manuela Di Centa.

Pescante is running for IOC vice-president next week and is one of the organisation's most influential members.

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