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Astronomical tourism: the best places to see the stars in Italy


Our country is certainly full of charm: history, culture, art and landscapes make it one of the favorite destinations for many tourists. But have you ever thought of visiting it even with your eyes turned towards the sky? Here's one for you little guide to be able to admire Italy from a suggestive and unusual point of view ...

Index

  1. Brera Astronomical Observatory - Milan (Lombardy)
  2. Perinaldo - Imperia (Liguria)
  3. Astronomical Observatory of Padua (Veneto)
  4. Piedmont
  5. Capodimonte Observatory - Naples (Campania)
  6. San Giovanni Persiceto Observatory - Bologna (Emilia Romagna)
  7. Abruzzo and Umbria
  8. Astronomical Observatory of the Saint Barthélemy Valley (Val d'Aosta)
  9. Astronomical Observatory of Rome (Lazio)
  10. Sicily
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Brera Astronomical Observatory - Milan (Lombardy)

In Milan center an incredible structure rises, recognized worldwide and considered to be the oldest scientific institution in the Milanese capital. In the famous Brera district (inside the same building that also houses the Pinacoteca, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Botanical Garden, the Lombard Institute of Sciences and Letters and the Braidense Library) we find this observatory founded in 1762. It has a valuable historical archive and two large libraries.
Here you will find three domes, open for visits both day and night: Zagar, Del Cercatore di Comete and Schiaparelli.
There is a branch office which is also open to the public in Merate, in the province of Lecco. In fact, in Brianza there are two historic domes, a multimedia room and a library with over 6000 volumes.
Info and contacts



  • website: http://www.brera.inaf.it/
  • address: Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milan
  • Tel: (+02) 7232 0300

2 - Perinaldo - Imperia (Liguria)

This small town offers many attractions for sky lovers, from the most experienced to the simple curious.
L'GDCassini Astronomical Observatory owns a 380mm Newtonian telescope and other telescopes and didactic instruments for observing the Sun (during the day), stars, planets, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies (at night). IS' open to the public all year round and offers numerous educational activities.
In a room inside the Municipality there is, instead, the planetary.
Il Cassini Museum, also located inside the Town Hall, documents the life and scientific-astronomical activity of Giovanni Domenico Cassini (mathematician, astronomer, engineer, doctor and biologist born in Perinaldo in 1625), author of several discoveries in the field.
In the historic center you will find the Solar system to scale, with references to Cassini and the Cassini-Huygens Interplanetary Space Mission.

Il Garden of the Stars, located in an area near the observatory, is a corner equipped to scan the sky with the naked eye, towards the north. The construction of another garden is also planned which will be facing south.
Don't miss it too Sundial of the Church of the Visitation with a "solar line" of almost 20 meters!
Info and contacts



  • website: http://www.astroperinaldo.it/
  • address: Località villa, 10, 18032 Perinaldo IM
  • Tel: +3485520554

3 - Astronomical Observatory of Padua (Veneto)

Also known by the name of Specola, dates back to 1767. It is one of the main structures of theNational Institute of Astrophysics. The observatory is located in the old part of the medieval castle of the city, on Torlonga, the larger of the two towers. The observation structure par excellence is located, however, at Asiago. It was founded in 1942 and later connected to the Paduan observatory.
Info and contacts

  • website: http://www.oapd.inaf.it/index.php/it/
  • address: Vicolo dell'Osservatorio, 5, 35141 Padova PD
  • Tel: (+049) 829 3411

4 - Piedmont

In Piedmont we have 3 main observation points:

  1. L'Turin Astronomical Observatory he was initially born in 1759 in a building in the city center. It was then transferred in 1912. Currently it is still in the same place, on the top of the hill of Pino Torinese, 9 km from the Piedmontese capital.

    Info and contacts
    - website: http://www.planetarioditorino.it/
    - address: Via Osservatorio, 30, 10025 Pino Torinese TO
    - Tel: 011 811 8740
  2. Lo Chalet the Capricorn, in Salice d'Ulzio (To), owes its name to the constellation of the same name, visible here from August to October. The owners, who are passionate about stars, collaborate in the creation of groups and activities linked to the celestial vault, taking advantage of the outdoor terrace. Its position is, in fact, optimal: well above the village and in the middle of the woods, away from disturbing sources of light.

    Info and contacts
    - website: http://www.chaletilcapricorno.it/
    - address: Via clotes 21 Case sparse, 10050 Sauze d'Oulx TO
    - Tel: 0122 850273
  3. Pian del Re, in Crissolo (Cn) is the last inhabited center at the foot of the Monviso. To see the stars well you have to go high, you know. Here you will be over 3000 meters, at the furthest point from any other light source in the entire Italian Alps.

5 - Capodimonte Observatory - Naples (Campania)

The southern sky of the continent is scrutinized by this observatory. It has a particular charm as it still resides in thenineteenth-century building of the Specola (i.e. in the ancient astronomical observatory).
Info and contacts



  • website: http://www.na.astro.it/
  • address: Salita Moiariello, 16, 80131 Naples NA
  • Tel: (+081) 557 5111

6 - San Giovanni Persiceto Observatory - Bologna (Emilia Romagna)

It has an entire area dedicated to astronomy, as well as a planetarium and the Italian museum with the most important collection of meteorites. In addition to the observation of the different phenomena that occur in the sky and the celestial vault, we also suggest the spectacular one of Sunspots thanks to the heliostat (a particular instrument used to follow the path of the Sun throughout the day).
Info and contacts

  • website: http://www.gapers.it/
  • address: Vicolo Baciadonne, 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto BO
  • Tel: 051 827067

7 - Abruzzo and Umbria

On the peaks of the two regions we have two privileged observation points thanks to the almost total absence of light pollution:

  • L'Campo Imperatore Observatory on the Gran Sasso stands at 2200m, and is therefore an incredible observation point, active since 1958. It has two telescopes for observing supernovae which are also used for educational and dissemination activities. Every year, in winter, from the Villetta area (Fonte Cerreto) thousands of people go up to the observatory thanks to a cable car.

    Info and contacts
    - website: http://www.oa-roma.inaf.it/cimperatore/it/visitors.php
    - address: Fonte Cerreto, 67100 Assergi, L'Aquila AQ
    - Tel: 0862 020791
  • I Sibillini Mountains near Norcia they constitute one of the most isolated places in all the Apennines. We warn you: get on the Monte Porche or to Cima del Redentore it's a bit challenging. However, you can opt for a less strenuous observation: along the Provincial Road that climbs from Norcia up to the 1452 meters of Castelluccio you will find clearings. You will still be in the forest without working too hard and you can still enjoy the stars.

8 - Astronomical Observatory of the Saint Barthélemy Valley (Val d'Aosta)

Unique in its kind for the variety of instruments available, the structure, completed in 2003, also has: one weather station, a heliophysics laboratory, a educational path it's a planetary.

Info and contacts



  • website: http://www.oavda.it/italiano/index.htm
  • address: Lignan, 39, 11020 Saint-Barthélemy, Nus AO
  • Tel: 0165 770050

9 - Astronomical Observatory of Rome (Lazio)

On promontory of Monte Mario, stands this fantastic observation point founded in 1938 in the ancient Villa Mellini. This observatory, in addition to allowing you to scrutinize the sky, also offers one splendid view of the capital. The structure includes the Astronomical and Copernican Museum, containing a precious historical collection of astronomical instruments, a rich collection of armillary spheres and celestial and terrestrial globes (including those of Mercator and Cassini) and the Solar Tower, inaugurated in 1951 by a young Aldo Moro and entered into operation in 1958. Since 1988, the observatory has been placed side by side with the headquarters in Monte Porzio Catone, near Frascati. Here every year various projects and reviews are proposed to the public, in order to allow even non-experts to approach astronomy.
Info and contacts

  • website: http://www.oa-roma.inaf.it/
  • address: Viale del Parco Mellini, 84, 00136 Rome
  • Tel: 06 35533

10 - Sicily

Also in Sicily, in the two main provinces of Palermo and Catania, there are two observers:

  1. L'Palermo Astronomical Observatory It is in the Norman Palace, near the splendid historic city center. Each year organizes several astronomical events in various suggestive places of the regional territory.

    Info and contacts
    - website: http://www.astropa.inaf.it/
    - address: Piazza del Parliament, 1, 90134 Palermo
    - Tel: 091 233111
  2. La Serra la Nave Star Station, in Ragalna (Ct) is a fantastic observation point. Do you know why? It is located on Etna! Offers special initiatives for the public e dissemination activities promoted by the Astrophysical Institute who manages the observatory. Summer evenings are also organized on the occasion of San Lorenzo. The program includes a visit to the 91 cm telescope, the observation of astronomical objects and a multimedia projection.
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