Italy was connected to the Internet for the first time on April 30, 1986, via a gateway that was located at the CNUCE institute in Pisa, Via Santa Maria, just a stone’s throw from the Tower of Pisa. But the road to that event had been long and tortuous.
In fact, since 1980 the CNUCE had been in the trial program of this new data transmission network promoted by the DARPA agency (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) of the US Government Department of Defense. The real connection, however, took place a good six years later.
Such a long delay was caused primarily by the bureaucracy and slowness of decision-making processes in the academic world. However, also and above all there difficulty in overcoming cultural barriers against networking, the new trend of research that for years had been experimented successfully in Pisa. Even among the telecommunications operators of the time these studies were considered interesting from the scientific point of view, but of little relevance in the potential developments for business, which in those years focused on telephony.
No one could see the commercial value of this new way of communication and nobody in those years could have foreseen the incredible subsequent developments. Only scientific research, which by its nature is used to looking beyond the frontier of what already exists, could have grasped the meaning of that challenge. On April 30, 1986, after Norway, Great Britain and Germany, Italy was the fourth European nation to connect to the Internet. The history of the six years that elapsed between joining the project and its actual realization is marked by meetings, obstacles, decisions, a lot of bureaucracy and also by an unexpected twist.
Antonio Blasco Bonito
Ministry of Defence
Archimede Del Vecchio
La realizzazione di questo progetto comportò, da parte del CNR, il finanziamento di 510 Milioni di Lire, un budget davvero importante per quei tempi. Questo finanziamento fu possibile grazie anche al sostegno convinto fornito, nel periodo di esecuzione del progetto, dal Presidente della Commissione Generale per l’Informatica del CNR Giuseppe Biorci e dai Direttori del CNUCE Gianfranco Capriz (1979-1983) e Stefano Trumpy (1983-1996).