Rome — In an effort to attract today’s modern travelers, Italy is going high tech in a big way. On January 7th, 2010 Nicola Zingaretti, President of the Province of Roma, stood in front of Trajan’s Column to officially launch 200 free Wi-Fi access points across the entire Rome metro area. Rome intends to add 300 more points by the end of the year and plans on staking its claim as the largest, free Wi-Fi zone on the planet. Imagine sipping cappucino across from the Pantheon while attending to business back home or making online reservations for dinner.
All Italian cities, towns and provinces including Tuscany are following Rome’s lead and emerging daily with dozens of free zones of their own. At the moment, there are over 10,000 such spots throughout the country. The number is likely to double during the course of 2010 alone. For a country immersed in history, everyday Italians have consistently embraced modern technology faster than any other population I’m aware of. To link in to the Rome system, users need only to open their device in a designated area and complete the free registration form that pops up on their screen.
While free Wi-Fi access is clearly meant to spark tourism, most of the official sites are presently only in Italian. I did find these sites in English: Roma Wireless & Jiwire
The following links are written in Italian but are relatively easy to figure out. Rome’s constantly updated Wi-Fi map and a comprehensive Italy wide Wi-Fi search tool. For those that do not speak Italian here are some simple instructions on using the last link:
- Go to the top box called RICERCA
- Enter the location next to the words CITTA' o PROVINCIA using the Italian spelling for cities: Roma, Firenze, Milano, etc.
- Next to the word TIPOLOGIA click the button marked FREE
- Click on the search button labeled CERCA
- Clicking on each of the results in the NOME column shows a Google map with the address of each location.
As more multi-language links emerge please pass them along.