In this review, the experience made during the last decade by Italian researcher and engineers of full-scale pilots of wave energy device is described. Focus is on the development of three prototypes called REWEC3, ISWEC and OBREC. The REWEC3 (REsonant Wave Energy Converter) is the first worldwide application in the Med Sea (and one of the biggest in the world) of an innovative WEC, which improves the classical "Oscillating Water Column" technology. The full-scale prototype has been installed at the Port of Civitavecchia. The ISWEC, Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter, is a device based on a floating body slackmoored to the seabed, using a gyroscope as a reference frame to produce electric power. The real scale pilot was installed offshore of Pantelleria Island (South Italy). The OBREC, Overtopping Breakwater for wave Energy Conversion, represents the world’s first overtopping WEC totally integrated in an existing breakwater. The full-scale pilot is operative at the Port of Naples.
The research of low marginal cost and low marginal environmental impact coupled with very high potential for electricity production represents the distinguishing feature and the most important challenge of the Italian research on the marine energy. The three pilots correspond to three different ways of solving such trilemma.