30 April 1986 – 30 April 2021 It is history: it has been 35 years since one of Italy's most important chapters, when for the first time Italian researchers from CNUCE-CNR (Centro Nazionale Universitario di Calcolo Elettronico del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Italian University Centre for Electronic Computing of the National Research Council of Italy) connected to the Arpanet network (the ancestor of the Internet) in the United States.
Researchers at the CNR in Pisa had been working on computer networks for some time and studying their interconnections. This led to their collaboration on the experimental Internet project, which already connected universities and many research and military centres in the United States.
Until then, communication had only been by e-mail, which, with its own communication standard, travelled on closed computer networks. The connection to a worldwide computer network paved the way for a very fast exchange of information and data: with the 1986 connection to the Internet, Italy was able to communicate via the TCP/IP protocol, the only computer standard in the worldwide network. All it took was a 'ping', the message launched from the CNUCE-CNR headquarters in Pisa thanks to a 'Butterfly Gateway', a sort of large router, supplied by the US government.
It was the beginning of a revolution, ignored even by the press, which no one had yet fully understood: the following year, in 1987, the CNR registered the first Italian domain, "cnuce.cnr.it", thus giving rise to the Registro .it, the registry of Italian Internet names, managed by the Institute of Informatics and Telematics of the CNR in Pisa; in 1991, however, the World Wide Web was born, with the publication of the first site by Tim Berners Lee.
Today the Italian Registro, with its 34 years of life, counts over 3,400,000 domains. With these numbers, the .it, in the ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) ranking, is in sixth place in Europe and tenth in the world.