The first success of the Italian Men's National Team was the bronze medal won at the European Championships in 1948, but it was only in the early 1970s, after the gold at the World University Games in Turin, that Italy remained consistently near the top of the Volleyball tree, attending every Olympic Games from 1976 onwards.
In 1978, Italy was the host country of the FIVB Men's World Championship and a team led by Carmelo Pittera won the silver medal.
Then in 1984, the Italian team won the bronze medal at the Los Angeles Olympics, with Silvano Prandi coach of the Italians.
It was in 1985 that those who were to become the stars of the 1990s gave a glimpse of their future success by claiming the silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Italy.
In 1989, with Julio Velasco now the leader of the "azzurri", Italy began a long series of victories: in that year the first European title was secured in Stockholm while a second-place finish was claimed at the World Cup in Japan.
Italy then won the World Championship in Brazil in 1990, defeating Cuba in the final. It was also the year of the first triumph for Italy in the World League and of gold at the Goodwill Games.
Italy won their second World League in 1991 and finished second behind Russia at the European Championships in Berlin. The following year there was a third successive triumph in the World League, after a disappointing Olympics in Barcelona.
In 1993, Italy set off on another series uninterrupted successes. The Velasco boys conquered again in Europe, winning the continental title in Finland and prevailed in the first edition of the World Champions Cup, and then in 1994 defeated the Netherlands in the World Championship Final in Athens, gained the World League title for the fourth time and crowned a remarkable run at the World Super Four event.
Again, the "azzurri" team claimed gold at the 1995 edition of the World League. Italy, playing with a very young crew including many new athletes, beat Brazil in the Final, despite playing in front of 25,000 home fans in Rio de Janeiro.
In September, Gardini and Co. won the European Championships in Athens for the third time and in December increased the number of victories in their Roll of Honour by winning the World Cup with a perfect record. They also won the Centennial Match versus the World All Stars team.
The Velasco era ended in 1996. The Italians missed out on the Olympic gold medal in the Final of the Atlanta Games, surrendering to the Dutch in a tie-break. The Italian team still took second place in the World League and first place in the FIVB World Super Six.
Led by the Brazilian Bebeto, Italy played a major role in international Volleyball in 1997: they conquered the World League Finals in Moscow and claimed the bronze medal at the European Championships in Eindhoven. In 1998, a fourth-place finish is then secured in the World League in Milan and the Italians win for the third time the World Championships in Japan.
At the beginning of 1999, there was a new change on the bench with the arrival of Andrea Anastasi. The Italian trainer immediately started winning. In Mar del Plata, Italy claimed the World League for the seventh time. In Vienna, Italy beat Russia to win their fourth European Championship, and in the World Cup in Tokyo the Italians claimed bronze and qualification for the Olympic Games.
In the 2000 edition of the World League, Italy won their eighth gold medal, defeating Russia. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, a bronze medal was theirs.
There were then two silver medals for the "azzurri" in 2001, one in the World League and one in the European Championship. In 2002, they finish fifth in the World Championship and fourth in the World League.
The year 2003 started with new coach Gianpaolo Montali and the team took third place in the World League, the gold in the European Championship and second place in the World Cup.
The year 2004 saw Italy win the World League silver medal and Olympic Games silver medal before another gold medal in the European Championships was claimed the following year.
There has been no additional silverware since then. At the end of 2007, coach Anastasi returned to the bench to try to remedy this.
When Andrea Anastasi played for the Italian Junior National Team, his trainer called him “Dwarf” because of his 181-cm frame was overshadowed by a team of giants.
Over the years the “Dwarf” has grown. First into a well-respected and successful International player, and then as a well-respected and successful Head Coach.
Anastasi had a long career as a player. As a part of the Italian National Team he played 141 matches (his first was February 8, 1981, against All Stars).
He won the FIVB World Championship in 1990, the European Championship in 1989 and the FIVB World League in 1990, ending his career as a National Team player in Athens in 1991 when he won the Mediterranean Games.
In Club Volleyball in Italy, he played in cities such as Parma, Modena, Falconara, Treviso.
In 1994, he started his training career in the Italian Championship, Serie A2, with the Bipop Brescia Team. From 1995 to 1999, he coached the Gabeca Montichiari Club. Under his guidance, the Club has always competed for the shield Playoffs.
He first began training the Italian National Team, becoming the 19th Head Coach in history, during the first match of the 1999 World League.
His first season as Head Coach was a triumph: first place in the World League held in Mar del Plata, first place in the European Championships in Vienna and third place in the FIVB World Cup in Japan, which qualified Italy for the Olympic Games in Sydney.
In 2000, his second season as Italian National Team trainer, he won the World League in Rotterdam and the bronze medal at the Sydney Games.
The year 2001 was a significant one for Anastasi with two silver medals, the first in the World League the next in the European Championship in Ostrava.
He then quit his Italian job in 2002, after the National Team finished fifth in the Argentina World Championships.
From 2006 to 2007 he led the Spanish National Team, leading them to European Championship glory in Moscow in 2007.
On October 16, 2007, the Italian Volleyball Federation called him back to coach the Men’s Italian Team and he is set to work with them until the 2010 World Championships.
Anastasi was born in Poggiorusco, a province of Mantova, on October 9, 1960. He is married and he has two children.