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Rai 1 is the flagship television channel of Rai, Italy's national state broadcaster, and the most-watched television channel in the country. It is a free-to-air, general-entertainment channel, mainly focused on shows, movies and public-service messages; its direct competitor is Mediaset's Canale 5.

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 set 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, as a result of 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.