CAAT 2018 conference

The Third Farma Valley Winter Fest will host on Dec. 16, 2018 the annual CAAT conference. CAAT stands for “Coordinamento Associazioni Astrofile della Toscana“, i.e. the network of amateur astronomer associations in Tuscany. This comprises some forty associations spread across the region.

The local promoter of the venue is, handling for some years now a series of professional services concerning outreach on lighting and darkness  related to the BuioMetria Partecipativa project, among other services on culture, environment, and open innovation.

The event is mainly directed to an Italian participation. However, should you be interested to know more about it, or even to propose a talk (we will provide live translation services at no cost for this specific event), please write to

The deadline to submit abstracts for presentations is December 7, 2018.



The conference is open to all those with a passion for astronomy and night skies (but please be sure to register…see below).


The location

Torniella is in the Farma Valley, about 100 km South of Florence. This is half way between Siena and Grosseto, on the former state road leading from Siena to the South.

You may reach it from the North, first heading for Monticiano, and then continuing South, direction Roccastrada for 14 km, or from the South (or the coast) reaching Roccastrada and continuing North for 13 km.
Please avoid the main state road (Siena-Grosseto). This does in fact cross the valley, but several kilometers East of the conference location.
Participants are invited to consider car sharing.
For participants arriving from the Pisa area, it is possible to reach Torniella with a very scenic drive (Volterra-Casole d’Elsa-  strada regionale “traversa maremmana”, SP73 below Rosia): however, this is a very curvy road and is not recommended during the Winter if you are not a local.

The Farma Valley

The valley is where the  BuioMetria partecipativa (participatory night sky quality monitoring) was born in 2008. It has very good night sky brightness conditions, as documented by various surveys conducted by Italian amateur astronomers, as well as international researchers. Among other experiences, we like to recall the measurement campaign in March  2015, with a team of twelve scientists coming from six countries (see article).

Under a very interesting starry sky, the landscape during the day brings no less surprises, with natural and man-made landmarks. We have the  La Pietra, prehistorical quarry, several medieval iron work, and the  Belagaio state natural reserve, at the centre of a NATURA2000 protected site, and including a horse breeding facility. Half an hour drive from Torniella we also find the more renown Petriolo hot springs.

The socio-economic peculiarities of the valley are not to be neglectedel luogo. While having a very low population (less than 500 residents over  120 km^2, concentrated in the villages of  Torniella, Piloni, and Scalvaia), the area has a high number of local businesses, relative to the number of residents, and has a lively sports scene. This includes a football team, a mountain bike trophy, and -most of all- numerous players of palla a 21 (or palla eh!), an ancient handball game.

The musical scene is not less enticing, with one of the most active philarmonic bands in Southern Tuscany, a classical music Summer school, and folks who are active on innovative musical projects, such as the  fusion of rock-blues and environmental outreach.

Combining these resources, since 2007 the Valley has become the hub of several original project in the field of protection and promotion of lesser known assets in culture, environment, and open innovation. Among and extensive list of media reports, this case was covered in an effective way in a recent article on Langscape Magazine.

Conference Venue

The conference venue is the rehearsal room of the Associazione filarmonica popolare Torniella (80 seats available)

Schedule (pending the publication of a detailed list of presentations)

  • 10 AM – opening of the conference
  • 1PM – Light lunch at Trattoria il Boscaiolo (150 m from the conference venue). This combines typical Southern Tuscan dishes with Andalusian specialties (the chef is from Granada, Spain)
  • 2 PM – afternoon talk and CAAT general assembly
  • 5.30 PM – conclusion

With good weather, should participants be interested, it is possible to arrange a short guided tour of the village (20-minute walk, just afert lunch)


  • The conference takes place in the context of the third Farma Valley Winter Fest, an interdisciplinary territorial promotion event created by the same team managin the BuioMetria Partecipativa project. The Festival includes “local” features (i.e. the commong goods in the forest, the valley community map or the construction of the palla a 21 ball), as well as  “global” features, such as webinars on advance 3D visualization for the creation of virtual museums, and some healthy entertainment (short walks in the woods, and indoor games, dance contests and live music).
  • Should you be interested, you are invited to arrive in Torniella on Saturday, Dec. 15. There will be a space to showcase your activities, and it convenient lodging options are available in Torniella and Piloni (1.5 km from the conference venue).

Important dates

If you plan to attend the 2018 CAAT conference, by Dec. 7 2018 you should write to indicating
a- if you are interested in attending the conference (in Italian)
b- if you are interested to propose an abstract (this may be in English)
c- if you are interested in lodging.

Organizing committee

The CAAT Conference is promote by CAAT with support by, Pro Loco Piloni-Torniella, ad Associazione Filarmonica Popolare Torniella.