From modems to social media, and from mobiles to smartphones. The history of digital communications in Italy.

Francesca Pasquali, Barbara Scifo, Nicoletta Vittadini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The history of digital technology in Italy follows a well-known path: it began with the first hum of the modem in the eighties and the widespread uptake of PCs, the internet and mobile phone technology. Next came the development of Web 2.0 and the paradigm of post-PC de-vices and convergence, characterised primarily by the ubiquity and mobility of communication technologies, their integration in terms of social technology and consumerism, and their in-creasingly close relationship with urban and social spaces. This is the story of Italy’s sprint to catch up with Europe in terms of the spread of information technology and the internet, and its place at the cutting edge of mobile telephony technologies. It is the story of a country that was, in any case, able to develop its own cultural identity in its approach to appropriating new technologies. It is, however, also the story of the way in which technological innovations interacted with complex cultural debates that shared certain consistent themes: the development of society and relationships, the entanglement of the new technologies with politics and the media, and the constant drive to survey the practices and activities of Italy’s online users. The chapter is aimed at trace this journey, exploring its unique features and linking it to the international debate. In so doing, the issues that featured most frequently in the debate and those that best represent the interaction between the steady stream of technological innovations and the parallel development of the related academic debate have been privileged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia and Communication in Italy: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives.
EditorsFausto Colombo
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Digital communication
  • History
  • Internet
  • Smartphone
  • Social Media


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