Most of you are too young to remember this, but in the early years of the 21st century hardly anyone had a smartphone (the first iPhone didn’t even come onto the market until 2007), so every self-respecting city or town had one or more “internet cafés” or internet points with banks of computers that anyone could use, for a fee, to go online and check their e-mails or log in to VirtualTourist.
“Internet Train” was a chain of internet points in major Italian cities. This one at Via Roma 17 in Verona, subtitled “veron@web”, was air-conditioned and had high speed connections. The first time you used their service you had to show your passport (because of a then-new Italian anti-terrorism law), and then you got a card which you could use at their shops all over Italy.
Prices for just a one-off internet connection were quite high (like 4 Euros an hour, which was four times the going rate in Germany), but it got cheaper if you pre-paid some time on your card and then went on using it all over the country.
Another internet point was called “Internet etc.” and was located at Via 4 Spade 3/B, just off Via Mazzini.
Needless to say, internet cafés are no longer a viable business model in 2018, now that most people carry their own smartphones. The few internet shops that still exist now make their money selling phones and accessories (such as SIM-cards), or placing cut-rate phone calls to Africa.
There also used to be an internet point on Vicolo Ghiaia in Verona, not far from Piazza Brà. The sign in the window said you could “check your e-mail here” and also send FAXs etc. (I’m sure your great-grandparents will be glad to explain what “FAXs” were.) I noted at the time that this internet shop was “the most primitive of the three I have tried, but has similar prices,” so there was no particular reason to go there.
My photos in this post are from 2006, I revised the text in 2018.
See also: Cutting edge technology (of bygone decades).