February 13 is World Radio Day. We press a button, touch the screen or talk to the intelligent assistant who helps us do everything with our devices and the radio turns on. But we haven't been connected for long.
In the nineteenth century the telegraph with the Morse code appears, then with scientist Guglielmo Marconi the radio arrives and the human voice begins to go around the world.
Caro compagno, ti prego di tener pronto un MAS perché possa partire alle ore 13 e 30’ circa seguendo lo yacht di Guglielmo Marconi dove io sarò imbarcato.
Eseguito l’esperimento al largo io scenderò nel MAS per tornare a riva, e l’Elettra seguirà la sua Rotta.
Ti prego di assicurarmi.
Il tuo Gabriele d’Annunzio
Fiume, 23 settembre 1920
Dear comrade, Please have a MAS ready so that I can leave at approximately 1:30 pm following the yacht of Guglielmo Marconi where I will be embarked.
Once the experiment has been carried out offshore, I will go down to the MAS to return to shore, and the Elettra will follow its route. Please make sure
Thank you so much
Yours Gabriele d’Annunzio
Fiume, September 23, 1920
My hands are shaking as I read the copy of the letter that d'Annunzio has sent to the Commander of the Marina Legionaria Fiumana Castruccio Ludovico Castracane degli Antelminelli. On the top-center of the letter is the heading La reggenza italiana del Carnaro, which indicates the free state of Fiume. The letter dates back to the final months of the short experience of the Vate as Commander of the city-state of Fiume.
The copy was kindly given to me by Ludovico Castracane degli Antelminelli, descendant of the Commander of the Fiume navy and of whom he bears the same name. The letter is probably testimony of the day of the first real radio broadcast in Italian. That day, on board Guglielmo Marconi's Elettra, Gabriele d'Annunzio gave a speech to the nation to plead Fiume’s cause.
The Italian government had sent Guglielmo Marconi to Fiume to convince d'Annunzio to desist from the Fiume experience. But the scientist, a great friend of the poet, is welcomed as a hero: "the magician of the spaces, the ruler of cosmic energies".
Thus Marconi not only did not induce d'Annunzio to give up the Fiume cause, but took advantage of his stay to divorce his wife. Divorce, as well as universal suffrage, are made possible here thanks to the new constitution, la Carta del Carnaro, just drawn up by d'Annunzio for the city-state of Fiume. In Italy the vote to women will be given only in 1945 and divorce in 1970.
This letter is therefore addressed to Commander Castruccio Ludovico Castracane. In the Great War he was a Lieutenant in the Italian Navy. His element is not the sea but the sky, in fact he pilots airships, extraordinary airships used for reconnaissance and bombing. After the war, Castracane, like many other soldiers, was looking for an outlet, another adventure, and with great enthusiasm he followed Gabriele d'Annunzio in the conquest of Fiume and was appointed Commander of the Marina Legionaria Fiumana.
In the letter, the Vate asks his friend Castruccio to ready a MAS, an anti-submarine motorboat. He will be on the Elettra, the steamship belonging to radio’s inventor Radio Guglielmo Marconi. After what he calls the experiment he will return to land with the MAS. The Elettra ship, defined by Gabriele d'Annunzio "the white ship of miracles", is a 700-ton boat with two 25 m masts, therefore capable of supporting a good antenna.
Marconi named it after his daughter and set it up as a laboratory for his experiments. D'Annunzio had previously declared that Marconi will give him a way "to tell the truth to the world" and "with my live voice the secret of Fiume".
But he calls his first broadcast talk an experiment anyway, obviously radio is something so new that not even himself knows what the outcome of that project will be. I imagine the emotion of the eclectic and indestructible d'Annunzio when Marconi hands him the microphone. Around him is full of buttons, strange machines with dials full of hands and numbers, an electric noise is the background. He then launches his message to the world, or at least to those with a receiver.
At 2 pm on 23 September 1920, he asks for the recognition of the regency of Fiume by all peoples. It is repeated five times with the final invocation to the Lord so that "this word, through the spaces, touches all sincere hearts and confuses the lies of ignoble adversaries". It is the first real circular broadcasting in Italian, a great achievement for technology, as Luigi Cobisi reminds us in an article on the future taken up from the Italradio portal site.
The Italian Radio Union, the first regular Italian radio station, ancestor of RAI, will broadcast from Rome only on 6 October 1924. The fact that everyone could listen to messages sent by a transmitting station over the air was initially considered as a defect. But soon everyone changed their mind and the sound broadcasting service was born, the radio.
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