10 Most Important Astronomical Observatories in Italy

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

L'light pollution it often clouds our night vision, preventing us from looking at the cosmos in its immensity and naturalness. But to raise your eyes to the sky and understand the stars, analyze the constellations, see the planets, do you always have to flee miles away from cities? Not necessarily: there are many Italian provincial capitals equipped with an astronomical observatory. Let's see the 10 most important.


  1. Astronomical Observatory, Rome
  2. Astronomical Observatory, Bologna
  3. Astronomical Observatory, Padua / Asiago
  4. Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Milan
  5. Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory (Naples)
  6. Palermo Astronomical Observatory
  7. Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari
  8. Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
  9. Astronomical Observatory of Pino Torinese (Turin)
  10. Astronomical Observatory of Catania
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Astronomical Observatory, Rome

The Astronomical Observatory of Rome is currently one of the 20 astronomical observatories in Italy established byINAF (National Institute of Astrophysics); founded in 1938 in the ancient Villa Mellini on Monte Mario, following various vicissitudes since 1988 it has its headquarters at Monteporzio Catone. Here it is possible to visit some parts of the headquarters, such as the information center Diva with its didactic laboratory; a wide variety of cultural proposals is available, divided by scientific themes.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.oa-roma.inaf.it/
  • address: Via Frascati 33, 00078, Monte Porzio Catone (RM)
  • phone / email: 06 35533

2 - Astronomical Observatory, Bologna

The Astronomical Observatory of Bologna is also one of the 20 observatories of INAF, operating under the control of MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research). The origins of the Astronomical Observatory of Bologna are directly linked to those ofUniversity of Bologna and date back to XI century, even if it is only in the second half of 1700 that the first systematic observation takes place, by GD Cassini.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: https://www.oas.inaf.it/it/
  • address: Via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna
  • telephone / email: 0512095701 / oa.bologna@oabo.inaf.it

3 - Astronomical Observatory, Padua / Asiago

This observatory includes the Asiago Cima Ekar observation station el 'Asiago Astrophysical Observatory. The birthplace, however, is due to Observatory of Padua, seat of the ancient astronomical observatory of the University of Padua and currently transformed into a museum and archive.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.oapd.inaf.it/
  • address: Vicolo dell'Osservatorio, 5, Padua PD / Via dell'Osservatorio 8, 36012 Asiago (VI) / Località Cima Ekar, Asiago (VI)
  • telephone / email: 0498293411 / oa-padova@oapd.inaf.it

4 - Brera Astronomical Observatory, Milan

Under the responsibility of INAF, it is the oldest scientific structure in Milan. Found in 1762, the Astronomical Observatory of Brera is based in the famous and homonymous building in the heart of Milan, even if during the twentieth century more and more astronomical observation activities have been moved to the headquarters of Villa San Rocco, in Merate (Lecco). The observation activity is still fully active today in both locations.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.brera.inaf.it/
  • address: via Brera 28, 20121 Milan / via E. Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, Lc
  • telephone / email: 0272320300 - 0272320500 / inafoamilano@pcert.postecert.it

5 - Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory (Naples)

The Capidomonte Astronomical Observatory is located on the Mirados hill, which takes its name from the sixteenth-century villa of the homonymous marquis. The building stands on a splendid panoramic position: positioned at about 150 meters above sea level, it offers a wonderful view over the city and the gulf of Naples. This observatory has always been particularly attentive to disclosure and didactics: the activities are planned and managed with the support of the Institute's researchers and technical staff.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.na.astro.it/
  • address: Salita Moiariello, 16 80131 - Naples
  • telephone / email: 0815575111 / info@oacn.inaf.it

6 - Palermo Astronomical Observatory

The Palermo Astronomical Observatory is based in palace of the Normans, in the historic center of the city: it was founded in 1970 at the behest of Ferdinand I of Bourbon, and the original building included 3 domes which were later replaced by 3 iron domes and, subsequently, by other 3 copper domes, a lighter material. There are several assets inside laboratories, and there is also a nourishment library with annex historical archive.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.astropa.inaf.it/
  • address: Piazza del Parliament 1, 90134 Palermo / Via Ingrassia 31, 90123 Palermo
  • telephone / email: 091233111 / inafoapalermo@pcert.postecert.it

7 - Cagliari Astronomical Observatory

Recently transferred to a new structure, the Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari pays the utmost attention to scientific publication: inside there are one teaching room with scientific instruments, a auditorium which also acts as multimedia room and scientific theater, a astronomical historical museum it's a digital planetarium.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.oa-cagliari.inaf.it/
  • address: Via della Scienza 5 - 09047 Selargius (CA)
  • telephone / email: 070711801 / inafoacagliari@pcert.postecert.it

8 - Trieste Astronomical Observatory

With 700esque origins, this observatory is divided into two locations: the main one at Basevi Castle and Villa Bazzoni in Trieste, and the observational one a Basovizza, where the Specola Margherita Hack, designed for public visits. The Trieste Astronomical Observatory deals with higher education, following internships, doctorates and specialist theses.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: http://www.oats.inaf.it/index.php/it/
  • address: Via GB Tiepolo, 11 I-34143 Trieste
  • telephone / email: 0403199111 / infoats@oats.inaf.it

9 - Astronomical Observatory of Pino Torinese (Turin)

This observatory also has origins dating back to 1700, to be exact to 1759 when the King Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy assigned to a prominent figure, Giovanni Battista Beccaria, the assignment of identify the local meridian arc: the scientific instruments used for this measurement gave life to the first nucleus of the Observatory, at that time located in the center of the city of Turin where it remained until 1912, the year the headquarters moved to Pino Torinese.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website: https://www.oato.inaf.it/
  • address: Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025, Pino Torinese (To)
  • telephone / email: 0118101900 / inafoatorino@pcert.postecert.it

10 - Catania Astronomical Observatory

The seat of the Catania Astronomical Observatory is located at the university citadel, and is directed in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University. There is a lot interest in dissemination and teaching: the program of school and public visits is very busy and runs throughout the year.
Info and Contacts

  • Open to the public: Yes
  • website:

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