The story of the Italian C++ Community
It’s not about eating as much pie as possible, it’s about making the pie bigger so that everyone can get a slice
— Marco Arena
Once upon a time…
It’s late 2012 and Marco Arena is a young C++ enthusiast and professional who is virtually attending Going Native 2012. He is daydreaming about organizing a C++ conference in Italy one day.
To test the waters with a low profile, he creates a couple of social groups inspired by “C++ Enthusiasts” (a Facebook group that was really popular at that time), one on Facebook and another one on Linkedin.
The best name for the groups pops up like a “aha-moment”: ++it. Something that means C++, italy (that is also pre-incrementing and iterator, a C++ fundamental concept).
Those groups do not achieve a resounding success and Marco realizes that he has to create something more, not just a couple of groups: a community.
However, Marco pauses the community idea for a while. His mum passed away on 2013, February 2nd.
After some weeks, Marco resumes the project and decides to take it more seriously. First of all, he needs to test again the waters to understand “who uses C++ in Italy” and how to engage those people and companies.
He submits a talk about “C++ renaissance” to a famous italian software development conference. It’s rejected, though.
At that time, his article from isocpp.org gets published also on Meeting C++’s blogroll and Marco decides to get in touch with the owner to say thank you. The owner is Jens Weller and Marco shares with him the idea of running an Italian C++ user group. Jens is very supportive and gives Marco some great suggestions (a few years later, Marco becomes a regular staff member at his conference Meeting C++).
On March 26th, Marco buys the domain italiancpp.org and officially founds the Italian C++ Community. The website, at that point, has just a splash screen.
Then Marco gets in touch with his friend (and former supervisor) Franco Milicchio for his opinion on the framework to use for the website. Franco recommends Wordpress. Also, Marco contacts a few people who might be interested in supporting the community from the beginning. In other words, Marco is looking for someone interested in joining the board of council members. This point is actually important because, although these people are not formally co-founders, they have significantly contributed to the start-up of the community. These people are: Franco Milicchio, Alfredo Di Napoli, Stefano Saraulli, Davide Di Gennaro and Raffaele Rialdi (mentioned in order of acceptance).
Marco, Franco and Stefano commit to the development of the website, set up a forum and create a few introduction pages. At that time, the website was hosted for free by Cloudbase Solutions (later, the website was migrated to GitHub pages). Social channels are managed by Marco only. The website is not publicly launched yet.
In June 2013, the website gets to beta stage and Marco asks a few other people to join the beta testers crew to play with the website. Among them, Giorgio Ugazio and Marco Di Bartolomeo. The former also joins the staff occasionally until early 2014, when he quits permanently.
On June 24th, our home, italiancpp.org gets officially launched.
The first public appearance of the community is on February 26, 2014 at Community Days in Milan, where we looked after an entire track about C++ for 50 people.
We organized the very first meetup on June 28, 2014 in Milan.
After that, we organized several events and meetups in different italian cities.
Marco’s main goal was achieved in 2016 when he led the organization of the very first Italian C++ Conference, a series of international conferences about C++ based in Italy.
The staff of the community has changed through the years and the original crew disbanded mainly because communities are hard to keep up with. Marco Arena is still behind the organization of every meetup, conference, and online activity. Stefano Saraulli and Franco Milicchio are still supportive, mainly regarding the website. Alessandro Vergani joined Marco as a co-organizer of Italian C++ Conference and C++ Day event formats in 2017. Some people are generally very supportive on event days. Among them, we mention: Federico Ficarelli, Riccardo Brugo, Federico Pasqua, Guido Pederzini, Marco Foco, Vincenzo Pelosio, Alberto Barbati, Gian Lorenzo Meocci, Illya Dudchenko.
The last in-person event, the Italian C++ Conference 2023, was held in Rome on June 10, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Italian C++ Community and hosted 200+ attendees.
Last update: June 2023