Marconi was privately tutored in Bologna, Florence, and Leghorn. As a boy, Marconi was interested in electrical and physical science and studied works of masters like Maxwell, Hertz, and Lodge.
At the age of 13, he entered the Livorno (Leghorn) Technical Institute.
In 1894 Marconi began experiments on electromagnetics near Bologna. Leaving aside the fundamental nature of electromagnetic waves, he directed his attention to the distance over which they could be detected with the possibility in mind that they might be used in a telegraph. He repeated Heinrich Hertz's experiments and rapidly extended the range of detection. Moving out of doors in 1895, he introduced a transmitter sparking between an elevated aerial and earth. For detection, he used a "coherer" (a glass tube containing metal filings which becomes, and remains, conducting when an electrical discharge passes through it but which loses its conductivity following mechanical shock), similarly connected between an aerial and earth.
By the end of 1895, he was able to detect wireless signals at ranges greater than a mile and out of the line of sight. By interrupting the spark signal, he was able to transmit Morse code. Marconi patented his invention in 1896.
Marconi was unable to interest the Italian government in wireless, so in 1896 he went to England, where he aroused official interest and received support from the British Post Office. Ranges attained by his instrument rose quickly, to 8 miles and then 25 miles and more. In 1899 signals across the English Channel, between Boulogne and Dover, caused a sensation, though the distance was less than that covered by other transmissions.
In 1900 Marconi determined to try sending wireless signals across the Atlantic, despite the theoretical conflict between rectilinear propagation of Hertz radiation and the curvature of the earth. He had, however, already received signals at 250-mile range. Using the Poldhu transmitter, an established station in southwestern England, and a temporary aerial supported by a kite on Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland, nearly 1, 800 miles away, he received the first transatlantic wireless signals on December 12, 1901.
After 1905 Marconi spent much of his time as an entrepreneur, surrounded by a talented staff of engineers and administrators, developing wireless telegraphy. Attempts to introduce a transatlantic wireless press service in 1903 had been premature, but in 1907 commercial communication was established between Marconi stations at Clifden in western Ireland and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
During World War I Marconi began experiments on shortwave radio and on aerials designed to transmit along narrow beams to minimize detection by an enemy.
The year 1917 saw him as a member of the Italian mission to the United States on its entry into the war, and in 1919 he was a signatory to the Paris Treaty for Italy. He spent much of the next decade continuing the shortwave investigations begun in wartime, making useful discoveries, but none to compete with the great postwar expansion of the radio networks consequent on the development of radiotelephony and voice radio. He was hailed as the father of radio, but, especially in the United States, the real progress was made by a new generation.
Marconi died on July 20, 1937, in Rome of a heart attack.
Guglielmo Marconi was baptised as a Catholic but had been brought up as a member of the Anglican Church, being married for the first time. Marconi was confirmed in the Catholic faith and became a devout member of the Church before his marriage in 1927.
Later in life, Marconi was an active Italian Fascist and an apologist for their ideology. He joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923.
"Every day sees humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time."
"The coming of the wireless era will make war impossible, because it will make war ridiculous."
"I am proud to be a Christian. I believe not only as a Christian, but as a scientist as well. A wireless device can deliver a message through the wilderness. In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity, waves that achieve their goal in front of God."
"Long experience has taught me not always to believe in the limitations indicated by purely theoretical considerations. These, as we well know, are based on insufficient knowledge of all the relevant factors."
Quotes from others about the person
“"Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi ... and his marvellous invention." Herbert Samuel, Britain's Postmaster General in 1910s”
On 16 March 1905, Marconi married Beatrice O'Brien. They had three daughters and a son. The Marconis divorced in 1924. On 12 June 1927, Marconi married Maria Cristina Bezzi-Scali.