Category Archives: Compositions

Capraia Night Sky 2018: How did it go?

From the two-day meeting in a small Tuscan island, an invitation to think twice before you install your next lamp, to reduce its negative impacts and to make space for opportunities in tourism, especially in rural areas.

In the stunning setting of the island of Capraia, in the Tuscan archipelago, a symposium was held on September 13 and 14 2018 on the topic of protection and promotion of night sky. The event was organized by the  National Research Council’s Institute of Biometeorology in collaboration with the University of Pisa, the BuioMetria Partecipativa project, and fondazione Clima e Sostenibilità, with patronage by Regione Toscana, Comune di Capraia Isola, the associazione Osservatori Meteorologici Storici Italiani and partial funding by the Stars4all European project.

The topics addressed covered technical aspects of  night sky quality measurement, the development of innovative sensors, the impact of light pollution in ecology, outreach and citizen science initiatives, and case of integrated promotion of territories. While some of these topics may sound complex, the negative impact of excessive artificial light at night are gradually being acknowledged by a wider audience (in Italy see for example  Repubblica 2016, Le Scienze 2017 or Prima dell’Alba, 2018).

The symposium hosted 32 presentations with authors from various Italian regions, as well as Hungary, Spain, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Malaysia, and South Korea. In fact, this was the first international meeting taking place in Italy on these topics since more than fifteen years.

During the two days an interesting array of expertise showcased its views. These included long-term experiences by well known authorities in the field of light pollution research, as well as groups that started just recently to address this topic, but have a relevant role in environmental field.
From the  symposium website  you may donwload the abstracts of the presentation, with author contact information to learn more about the topics discussed.

Next to the symposium, night-time activities were planned, with observations and measurements complementing the surveys conducted since 2017 by CNR IBIMET, University of Pisa and BuioMetria Partecipativa project.
Last but not least, on the evening of Friday, Sep. 14, an after-dark excursion led by guide of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park was proposed to symposium participants as well as tourists on the island, providing an interesting outreach moment linked to the symposium.

Nightscape of the island of Capraia. In addition to the starry sky and the Milky Way, the skyglow deriving from the village on the island and, on the right, from lights on the Tuscan coast, is clearly visible (Photo by Zoltan Kollath).

The possibility of hosting multiple experts from abroad helped us to see from a different perspective some of the critical issues related in Italy to the excess of lighting in many parts of its territory, as well as to acknowledge the opportunities deriving from night sky promotion for tourism and environmental education.

Our wish is that the symposium, in addition to helping to provide a view on the state of the art on promotion and protection of night skies may encourage public and private stakeholders related to lighting, so that they may keep in greater account in new installations the indications which are gradually being consolidated by scientists. Namely we should bear in mind the negative effects of the blue component in artificial lighting, and the containment of light to areas and hours of the day where it is really needed to insure our safety and the quality of urban environments.

Upcoming events on the same topic:

For more information:

Farma Valley Winter Fest 2017: how did it go

[For a general presentation of the Festival see the Nov. 28 post]

Some visitors reached the valley already in the morning, enticed by the idea of getting to know this lesser know part of Tuscany.
Indoor activities started early PM, with a printing workshop by Wolgfang Scheibe from Tatti, who delivered t-shirts, cards and other souvenirs with his printing kit.
While the set was being prepared for the main act, Wolfgang, Guglielmo Eboli and Pietro Crivelli had a jam session, bringing the attendees to 6.44PM, when the Etruschi from Lakota started their performance. The band shaked the audience with a selection of their songs, mainly proposing their new album (Giù la testa), but also some older hits, with everybody dancing from Corn Flakes onwards.

The versatile Wolfgang (followed by Guglielmo Eboli) was then called on stage for some covers, such as “Everyday I have the Blues” e “Who do you love”.

A sidebar items to the music, the Farma Valley Community Map, which during the past months was updates with new place names in the north side of the Valley (Scalvaia and surroundings), and a measure for the buiometria partecipativa project, reading 21.13 mag/arsec2, at 12.45PM on Dec. 18, Certopiano, to close the long day.

Special thanks go to:Circolo ARCI di Torniella, Associazione Filarmonica Popolare Torniella, Emanuele Marcatili, Casa Bazar, pizzeria ristorante Il Boscaiolo, agriturismo Casa del Chiodo, Claudio e Fabiano Spinosi, Alessandro Gaido, Andrea Bartalucci, Antonella Pocci. newsletter #24 (Oct. 2, 2017) – end of part 1 for 2017

Please note: not all the weekly newsletters issued in the past 23 weeks have been translated into English…you can still review most of the initiatives and events presented in the English version of the news.

With the presentation of the 2017 BuioMetria Summer Campaign and the  “Earth Observation Open Science” conference in  Frascati on Sep. 28 we close a long season. This started in mid-December 2016 with the first Farma Valley Winter Fest and went on with over 30 initiatives during the following months, combining events and other projects, with a special focus on training (including high school internships and an Erasmus+ traineeship).

An outlook for this was written in November 2016 with a short rhyme (in Italian).

Summing it all up, you can have an idea of the story in different forms. Before you choose one, please remember that, if you like this series, but still have not supported it, you are encouraged to do so (write to to learn more about the options).


1. A map

…where each symbol if the number of events at a location. The size of the symbol is proportional to the numbero of initiatives, with circles representing the activiies, and square representing other organizations with which we have collaborated as a minimum for their promotion.

2. A mosaic

…composed by snapshot of the images posted in our News section.

3. Some videos

…in reverse chronological order, and mostly musical this year

4. Our “in the media” section

also in reverse chronological order

5. Browsing the actual calendar and news.




…from our team to all thos who contributed to make things work. This is too much a long list to be included here. In addition to subjects clearly identified in the events, I need to mention the Torniella and Piloni communities (and especially Mario Straccali, Claudio Spinosi, Andrea Bartalucci, Antonella Pocci, Giorgio Panerati) and Marian Pricop.

More in general, thanks to all those who followed with interest the activities which we developed, and who have been enticed by the situazion emerged from the “Valley that’s not there” in the past ten years.

October will be a quiet month, and we will be planning the next season in the meantime!

For more information:



Highlights from the Sep. 21 event at the Belagaio, Tuscany, State Reserve on protection and promotion of dark sky areas

The event was managed by the Carabinieri Biodiversity Unit from Follonica in collaboration with a full presentation of the event and an explanation for the choice of the site is given here.

The event was also the opportunity to re-open the visitor center of the reserve (called “Casa Nova”), which had been closed for about two years:


Lieutenant Colonel Giovanni Quilghini explains how the Reserve works, gived a historical perspective on State Forests since the late 19th century, and their public commons peculiarity. He also introduced the concept of “old stand forest”.

Luciano Massetti from the National Research Council’s Intistute of Biometeorology in Florence presented the activities of his institute and gave and overvie of artificial light at night and light pollution issues.

Halfway through the talks, some fresh air with the visit to the Belagaio castle and some quasi-close encounter with some of the rerserve’s residents:


On we go with the talks: the history of  BuioMetria Partecipativa and other “protection and promotion” projects started in the Farma Valley since 2008

Towards the end of the dinner, and before the stargazing part of the event, Federico Giussani showcased some of his nightscape photography portfolio, explaining some of the techniques and how artificial light at night relates to his work.

A starry ending, with some observations supervised by experts from the Associazione Maremmana Studi Astronomici di Grosseto

Per ulteriori informazioni:

Farma Valley Day and Night at the Belagaio State Reserve (Southern Tuscany) – how did it go

The flyer

The July 27 AM interview for “Cult” (Radio Popolare Milano)

In Italian:

6.30PM Introduction
7PM – A review of the Farma Valley Community Map
7.30PM – Entering the castle
Exploring the castle’s court


8.30PM a strongly-deserved break (…taking all those pictures at the castle is so heavy ;))
From 10PM to 1AM – Stargazing
Observed objects

Summing up those recorded by our two stargazing guides: Moon, Jupiter, Saturn. M31, M51, M13, M22, M57,  M16, M17, M8, M20, M11, M26, M52, M6,  M7, M57, M27.

Night sky quality measurements

…for the BuioMetria Partecipativa project. With two sky quality meters: average reading around midnight 21.35 mag/arcsec^2 .

“We want more”‘s

Several “we want more” calls by participants and non-participants.

Beware of the cat!

Should you be visiting the Belagaio area and deciding to have a pic-nic, remember that, while the area is full of horses (due to the maremman horse breeding facility managed by the Carabinieri), systematically beaten by wild boar and various other two- and four-legged animals, if you leave unattended your slice  of ham while fetching your slice of bread,  don’t be surprised if various hungry cats appear after counting to three. These are Gaido’s cats: they like to be cuddled, but the also like your food!

For more information Newsletter #11: CAILM…S

Where C is for culture, A for ambiente (environmento), IL for innovazione libera (open innovation), M for Music, and S for Sport.


June 28, 9PM, Torniella, Second edition of the palla a 21 ball construction course.

June 30, 6PM , Massa Marittima (GR), opening of the photo exhibition by Alberico Mattei and Martina Busonero.


The 2017 BuioMetria Summer Campaign has started, as a collaboration of the University of Pisa, the National Research Council’s Institute of Biometeorology, and the BuioMetria Partecipativa project.


Sunday, July 2 AM, in Piloni, Tuscany, there will be an update of the Farma Valley Community Map.


June 29, Venturina Terme Etruschi from Lakota in their duo line-up, @ Neibar


Sunday, July 2, the 7th Farma Valley MTB trophy …with other sidebar events.

Ten years ago, today (more or less)

On June 11 I shot the photo which I then used in tens (possibly over 100) occasions, combining flyers, leaflets, and presentations, to present the Farma Valley.

On June 15 we shot the video on the palla a 21 primer, which was shortly after the video on the rules of the game according to Mario and Bob.

On June 30, 2007, we had a mini tournament of palla a 21 (with four teams: Torniella, Piloni, Scalvaia, Ciciano), as the last event before our departure for Chicago.
During the event, there was a funny situation which was recorded and edited in a short video called “clearing the field“.

Here is some context: during the games, there was a Summer storm, lasting about half an hour. All the players and the spectators dashed for cover. While it was raining, somebody arrived in the square and parked where he saw fit, which happened to be in the worst spot of the field, i.e. in front of the service line. Clearly this person was not somebody from the villages, or seeing a completely empy square would have rang a bell about palla a 21 going on.

As the sun came out again, the player returned to the square and noted the car. Since it was not possible to contact the owner, they decided to make some space….unfortunately we do not have footage of the owner when he came back…but I can say he was not angry…he just drove away with a very puzzled expression.

Palla a 21 ball construction course in Torniella: how did it go

In a nutshell, between 3.15 and 6.30PM on Saturday, June 17, we recorded:

  • Two new ball makers: Valentina and Amos (who drove one hour from the plain to learn)
  • Old-time makers back on the scene: Claudio and Fabiano
  • Thinking about it: Andrea L.
  • Enticed folk: several people (kids, teens, and adults), including many from Torniella or Piloni who had never seen a ball made (while they very often see it played).
  • As a sidebar item, the reading of excerpts from an environmental impact assessment on the Farma River Barrage (1988)
  • Memories about the game of palla a 21, and other more or less related stories: a lot.
  • If you are interested to learn the fine art of making a ball, write to

The next event in the Farma Valley will be on Sunday, July 2, 2017 . If you are a tough MTB rider, you can compete for the 7° Farma Valley MTB trophy, or if you are in for a casual stroll, you can opt for the non-competitive ride which is attached to the race. (see articolo dedicato). Last, but not least, we will may see some updates for the Farma Valley Community Map.

Thanks again to Ilo Ferrandi, our tutor.

…meanwhile, the training for the July-August tournaments is progressing…


(click on the image to see more detail)

Geomusic at GIT 2017 (Gavorrano, Southern Tuscany, June 12-13, 2017)

Our geomusical activity continues, after the launch at the Farma Valley Winter Fest (December 17, 18 and 19, 2016), the presentation at the FOSS4G conference in Genua (9-2-2017), the international webinar for Geo4all/ASPRS (7-4-2017) and the lecture at  Politecnico di Milano (30-5-2017).

At the 12th conference of the Geomatics and Information Technologies section of the Italian Geology Society (aka: GIT 2017), held in Gavorrano, Southern Tuscany on June 12 and 13 2017 we presented:

  • A poster called Participatory methods for territorial protection and promotion centered on a free/open source approach: case studies from Southern Tuscany( (by Andrea Giacomelli, Mario Straccali, Andrea Bartalucci, Claudio Spinosi)
  • An oral presentation by  Etruschi from Lakota’s, Dario Canal, on the subject of Participatory mapping in a geothermal area: first steps from the Cecina Valley.
Dario Canal at the beginning of his talk (a wide-angle shot would have worked better!)

We don’t know of geologists going to contests for professional musicians…in our case we had a young professional musician and singer giving a talk in a geoscience conference (and kudos to Dario for taking up the challenge).

This was not a weird experiment, since we are collaborating with the band on on participatory mapping projects, and they are actually based in an area of great interest for geology (and geothermal activities), but surely it was an unusual and stimulating presentation.

Should you be interested in collaborating with the Val di Cecina participatory mapping campaign, which follows the work started in 2015 in the Farma Valley, please write to


An update of the Farma Valley Billboard (as of June 3, 2017)

After the quick’n’dirty first setup of the Farma Valley Community billboard, here is our first update. You can find it entering the village of Torniella from the South, on your right, just after the post office.

In addition to an updated and enriched list of events, going through August, we added a proper title on the top left, and highlighted the palla a 21 ball construction course,  scheduled for Saturday, June 17, in Torniella, as this is the first time for a very peculiar initiative.

We also remind you that the billboard includes both initiatives taking place in the central part of the vally (essentially, the hamlets of Torniella, Piloni and Scalvaia and their surroundings) in addition to events where organizations based in the valley are invited in other locations (at present, this applies to: Banda di Torniella, BuioMetria Partecipativa, and palla a 21 teams).