If you check out http://barcamp.org/ you will discover that despite the relatively low internet penetration, Italy has a very high level of activity when it comes to barcamps.
It was someone from Germany who first introduced me to this concept. From what I understood, they were meetings where geeks and freaks meet and where young startups give presentations on their business ideas because VCs and journalists lurk around and look out for promising investments and trends.
It is nothing like this in Italy. It is true that barcamps are really nice gatherings where you can meet a lot of interesting people. It is here where the buzz begins and it has become a real network. But the difference is that it is all centered around bloggers and not business. Actually I had to justify my being there to some of them because being the responsible manager of websites obviously didn't qualify as having to do with the internet. Fortunately, they turned out to be quite easy going folks so I was accepted even without an acceptable explanation for my presence ;-)
But there is one thing I would really suggest: Don't bother with those panel discussions! They usually are boring but people still participate because they are afraid to miss the big bang if they don't go listen. I would really appreciate a lot more of actively assisted networking. Much more fun and much more rewarding...business wise...
The still barely audible buzz tells me that the next big barcamp will be in RomeCamp2008 in November. Let's wait and see where it's heading!