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Rai 1
HeadquartersRome, Italy
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Sister channelsRai 2
Rai 3
Rai 4
Rai 5
Rai Gulp
Rai Movie
Rai News 24
Rai Premium
Rai Scuola
Rai Sport
Rai Storia
Rai Yoyo
Rai Ladinia
Rai Südtirol
Rai Italia
Launched3 January 1954; 70 years ago (1954-01-03)
Former namesProgramma Nazionale (1953–1975)
Rete 1 (1975–1983)
Raiuno (1983–2010)
Digital terrestrial televisionChannel 1 (HD)
Channel 501 (SD)
Streaming media
RaiPlayLive streaming (only in Italy)

Rai 1 (Italian: [ˈrai ˈuːno]) is an Italian free-to-air television channel owned and operated by state-owned public broadcaster RAI – Radiotelevisione italiana. It is the company's flagship television channel, and is known for broadcasting mainstream and generalist programming, usually aimed towards families, including TG1 news bulletins, prime time drama, cinema and entertainment, and major breaking news, sports and special events.

It was launched on 3 January 1954 as the first regular television service in Italy. It was the only one until 4 November 1961, when RAI launched a second channel. The channel was initially referred to as "Programma Nazionale". It received other names, such as "Rete 1" and "Raiuno" until it adopted its current name "Rai 1". It has the highest viewership in Italy, and regularly competes with Mediaset's Canale 5.

In the United Kingdom, it is available in free to air satellite broadcast from Hot Bird 13B.

Early history

La Rai − Radiotelevisione Italiana inizia oggi il suo regolare servizio di trasmissioni televisive.

Rai – Italian Radiotelevision starts its regular television broadcasting service today.

— Fulvia Colombo announcing the start of TV broadcasting, 3 January 1954

The first set of programming for Rai 1 was almost completely educational with no advertising, except for the popular Carosello. Early shows were meant to teach a common language to a country torn apart by World War II. Shows like Non è mai troppo tardi... were simply shot in a classroom setting and meant to help with reconstruction. While televisions were not widely available nor affordable, those who could spend the money on them became community leaders and often invited the neighborhood to visit. Bars and cafés turned from places where men would meet to argue or play cards into miniature cinemas where arguments over what show to watch would break out. Women and children were also more accepted inside the bars due to the lack of men post-war and their need to enter working society. Churches also bought televisions are a means of drawing people to spend time as part of those communities.

High-definition feed

The channel launched an HDTV 1080i simulcast in September 2013, available nationwide on subscription-television providers and on DTT (channel 1). Previously, HD programs used to be aired on Rai HD.

Broadcast in outside Italy

In Slovenia, France, Greece, Austria, Lebanon, Hungary, Switzerland, Croatia, San Marino and Vatican City (except Monaco) The channel is also available to watch in satellite via Hellas Sat 4.


Directors of Rai 1

Name Period
Giuseppe Matteucci 3 January 1954 - 14 March 1976
Mimmo Scarano 15 March 1976 - 6 March 1980
Paolo Valmarana 7 March - 9 October 1980 (ad interim)
Emmanuele Milano 10 October 1980 - 6 April 1987
Giuseppe Rossini 7 April 1987 - 8 December 1988
Carlo Fuscagni 9 December 1988 - 25 October 1993
Nadio Delai 26 October 1993 - 16 September 1994
Brando Giordani 17 September 1994 - 14 August 1996
Giovanni Tantillo 15 August 1996 - 31 May 1998
Agostino Saccà 1 June 1998 - 18 June 2000
30 April 2001 - 5 May 2002
Pier Luigi Celli 19 June - 10 September 2000
Maurizio Beretta 11 September 2000 - 29 April 2001
Fabrizio Del Noce 6 May 2002 - 27 May 2009
Mauro Mazza 28 May 2009 - 28 November 2012
Giancarlo Leone 29 November 2012 - 17 February 2016
Andrea Fabiano 18 February 2016 - 11 October 2017
Angelo Teodoli 12 October 2017 - 26 November 2018
Teresa De Santis 27 November 2018 - 14 January 2020
Stefano Coletta 14 January 2020 - June 2022

From June 2022, as part of a management reorganization of Rai, network managements have been abolished in favour of gender ones.

Current programmes




Documentaries and Culture

TV Series



Early programmes

Until the autumn 1976/77 season, regular broadcasting was in monochrome (black and white), with very few exceptions (shown in bold). Regular color broadcasting began during the winter 1976/77 season.


  1. ^ "Addio a Raimondo Vianello Anche il calcio piange". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 15 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  2. ^ An abridgement of the epilogue
  3. ^ A scene from the first episode