May 10-12, 2019: Politecnico di Milano’s DICA goes to Southern Tuscany

Above the title, part of a rainbow between Montemassi and Sticciano, Southern Tuscany, April 14, 2019 (see the full picture here)

Between May 10 and 12, 2019, a delegation from Politecnico di Milano’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will undertake a mission which will bring a meteorologist and the chief technician from the hydraulics lab from the famous university to visit various sites in Southern Tuscany. This is in the context of the consolidation of existing environmental monitoring and research projects conducted in the area by some rural communities.


This initiative is not casual: it spawns, in fact, from a historical relation between the Department and the network (whose coordinator, Andrea Giacomelli, obtained his MS and his PhD from Politecnico di Milano), dealing since 2007 with projects intertwining environmental engineering, land planning, culture, and open innovation.

The results of such activities have often been unusual, and at times unexpected, considering the composition of the core team of the network, in Tuscany. This group does not have a “traditional” scientific committee, with representatives from academia or official research institutions: its scientific and technological strategies are based on the bottom-up integration of international expertise of some members with traditional knowledge of other members, and all of them reside in hamlets in the hills of one of the areas with the lowest population densities in Italy.
Starting from this setting, the group has developed collaborations with European projects, received awards, intercontinental invitations to showcase their work, and started formal training activities, always maintaining their home base in an area which is known in most of the world for its enchanting landscapes, stunning natural features, and an extremely enticing food and drink menus, but does is not generally perceived as a territory providing ideas for research or innovation.

Technical schedule and outreach events

The May 10-12 mission is composed of a technical part and an outreach part. In the technical part, Alessandro Ceppi and Giuseppe Milleo from DICA will first of all install a weather station in the Farma Valley, half way between Siena and Grosseto, to be integrated in the MeteoNetwork infrastructure. Together with they will then visit various sites between the Farma Valley and the Gulf of Follonica, in order to get acquainted with some peculiarities of this territory and of some agri-food and tourism businesses, which to date they have known only through the talks which Andrea Giacomelli has been giving at the Politecnico since 2011.

The technical activities will be complemented by two outreach events:

  • Saturday, May 11 AM, in Torniella, a symposium concerning opportunities for promotion and protection of inner rural areas through the collaboration of local expert networks and research institutions.
  • Saturday May 11 PM, location to be defined, a geomusical moment with components of the Metalliferous Hills Jug Band.

Please note: a detailed program for the May 11 schedule will be published at the beginning of May.

Previous experiences

If we scan our records, we will find that the DICA mission is not the first scientific delegation visiting Southern Tuscany via the network.

In 2012 we had the presence of a working group from the ENVIROFI project, concerning the testing of apps for tree biodiversity citizen science, with workshops in Torniella and Florence. In 2015 we hosted, again in Torniella and Piloni, about a dozen of experts on artificial light at night issues, from six different countries.

Actually, the first initiative where we had significant international visitors in the context is represented by 2009-2010 New Years’Eve celebrations organized in Torniella. That event was seen by the team as the summary of three years of work, and led to the discreet yet not informal presence of some researchers and officers from European institutions, who were interested to understand the context originating a series of creative projects. This eventually triggered a series of opportunities to share ideas and initiatives in high-level venues such as joint NASA Workshops, or community engagement events linked to large conferences, such as the First INSPIRE Mashup in 2010 in Krakow, Poland, or the first INSPIRE conference mini-footbal tournament.

In this line of work, the new element for the May 2019 events is that they will derive from a co-design exercise between DICA and the network, thus representing a novelty in our experience.

After the Southern Tuscan mission

The Metalliferous Hills Jug Band will return the visit of the DICA team with a talk on May 30 at Politecnico di Milano

In addition to not representing a casual operation, the DICA mission is also not isolated: in fact it is part of a rather rich calendar of events, managed by the in collaboration with various public and (mostly) private subjects. During Spring these will take place in Tuscany, Lombardy, Belgium, and Germany.
Among other events, we must flag a national conference on interdisciplinary protection and promotion of the night sky, at the University of Brescia, where is managing the scientific programme of the event. Last, but absolutely not least, at the end of May we will have an event at Politecnico di Milano which will represent a “dual” version of the May 10-12 experience. If you are in Milano on May 30, you will be able to find a delegation from the Metalliferous Hills (and from the Cecina Valley geothermal district, close by) hosted at DICA, giving a talk explaining how went “From Sound Engineering to Engineering with Sound“.

For more information: or +393317539228

Chartered Architects and Engineers acknowledge the Brescia, May 16 Conference on Interdisciplinary Protection and Promotion of the Night Sky for training credits

Yesterday we were notified that the May 16 conference which with the BuioMetria Partecipativa project we are organizing at the University of Brescia has been recognized as a valid event to issue training credits for Chartered Architects and engineers.

This news adds more value and interest to the event we are preparing. The full presentation of the conference is available on this page.

For more information: or +393317539228

Apr. 9, 2019 branobag: Yesterday’s Mistakes

[First edition, Sep. 9, 2012 and then July 2, 2015, ecspobag]

Enti Comunali Spendono Parecchio Oggi

This is a very gentle, not necessarily sad, song by Oi Va Voi, and anglo-something-yiddish band from London. All the album from which this song is taken is very, very cool.

I was told that “oi va voi” is an expression meaning something like “oh my!” in Yiddish. At the end of the Arno river they would say “oimmèna”.


Don’t need another resolution to feel | non ho bisogno di un’altra decisione per avere la sensazione
As though I’m going somewhere, somewhere | di andare da qualche parte

You said you needed me | hai detto che avevi bisogno di me
Or at least that’s what I thought | o almeno, è ciò che ho pensato
At times the memories | a volte i ricordi
Seem to be knocking at my door | pare bussino alla mia porta
I’ve seen the film a million times |ho visto questo film un milione di volte
Feels like I wrote the storyline | sembra che abbia scritto io la sceneggiatura
I refuse to replay | mi rifiuto di ripetere
The mistakes that we made yesterday | gli sbagli che ho fatto ieri

I like to think I’m stronger now | mi piace pensare che sono più forte, ora
Victim of common sense | vittima del senso comune
The truth is that I know I still | la verità è che continuo
Confuse the past with the present tense | a concondere il passato con il “presente prossimo”
Condensing what we had | condensando quello che abbiamo avuto
To a single frame | in una singola immagine
That sticks in my mind | che si incolla alla mia mente
As I try to move on | e mentre cerco di andare avanti
The same image comes back every time | quella stessa immagine ritorna sempre

They were yesterdays mistakes | erano gli errori di ieri-.–
And they were yesterdays mistakes
Yesterday’s mistakes
Somewhere | da qualche parte

Forgive my selfishness | perdona il mio egoismo
I’d be grateful if you can | te ne sarò grato se potrai farlo
Forget my ingratitude | dimentica la mia ingratitudine
You think I’m twice the girl I am | tu pensi che io sia due volte la ragazza che sono
They say we should forgive| dicono che si dovrebbe perdonare
But not forget | ma non dimenticare
What has gone before | quello che è successo in passato
I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday

And they were yesterdays mistakes
Yesterday’s mistakes
They were yesterdays mistakes

I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday
I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday

I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday
I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday

I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday
I refuse to replay
The mistakes that we made yesterday

Politecnico di Milano, May 30, 2019: From Sound Engineering to Engineering with Sound + DICA goes to Maremma

Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, Aula Citrini, 4PM-7PM (the actual time within this range will be confirmed ASAP).

Thursday, May 30, Politecnico di Milano will host a very peculiar event. This will be a lecture where a talk about sustainability on inner rural areas of Southern Tuscany will be mixed with live music performed by a rock-blues band based in the same region, and with the authors of the studies playing with the band.

The event has also been inserted in the official program of the third edition of the Sustainability Festival (running at the national level with numerous events from May 21 to June 6, 2019).

Confirmation of participation should be sent to or +39 3317539228 by May 29, 2019.

From Sound Engineering to Engineering with Sound + DICA goes to Maremma

Andrea Giacomelli, Dario Canal, Wolfgang Scheibe, Simone Sandrucci, Alessandro Ceppi, Giuseppe Milleo

When we speak of sound and engineering we tend to think about audio experts, mixers, decibel, wattage etc. In this lecture we would like to speak about engineering made together with sound, and namely with music…how can music be, in addition to a cool background, an element integrated with the life cycle of projects and studies in the fields of land protection, promotion, and environmental sustainability.

1-11-18, the JBCM in Sassofortino, Southern Tuscany

Namely, we will be presenting the case of the Jug Band dalle Colline Metallifere (JBCM, i.e. Metalliferous HIlls Jug Band). This is an inter-generational and international musical collective based in Southern Tuscany, founded in March 20017. The JBCM is active in the production of events where live music, monitoring, and outreach on environment and territory are intertwined so as to create a (typically acoustic) pleasing, entertaining, and instructive experience, which the group called “geomusic“.

The collective was given this name in September 2018, after about a year of experiments involving two young professional rockers (with three albums and hundreds of live concerts in their roster), and two professionals with a different core expertise (but a musical track record adequate to make them not feel shy on stage). One of the senior professionals is actually an environmental engineer and a PhD with 25 years of experience on geographic information systems applied to multiple international projects; the other professional has almost fifty years of experience in biodynamic agriculture, working as a consultant in Germany, Italy, and Maghreb.

The combination of music and technical expertise, especially on environment and agriculture, is the peculiarity of the JBCM project, combining melody, rhythm, cultural and environmental outreach in one situation (which can be related to Sustainable Development Goals 4, 11, and 12, for those of you into this topic).

In the same performance you can dance with a rock ‘n’ roll song, make light pollution measurements within international citizen science projects, join the chorus yelling “ahi ahi ahi….il vino neerooooo” , and eventually learning that half of the songs to which your were shaking your feet were, in fact, speaking of issues of your grandfathers in their rural settings, or of your friend who recently graduated, and had to leave his country to find a job.

A portion of the Farma Valley, half way between Siena and Grosseto, in Southern Tuscany

The lecture will also be the opportunity to present a summary of a mission that a team from DICA (the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Politecnico di Milano) will be having on May 10-11-12 in Southern Tuscany. They will be installing a weather station in the Farma Valley, as the consolidation of a set of mapping and monitoring activities undertaken by valley residents and visitors since 2007. Such activities have been developing in the years, through a combination of research, citizen science and territorial marketing projects (which have been presented at various stages in Politecnico di Milano in 2011, 2015, 2017, and 2018). Interestingly, the Jug Band Colline Metallifere represents one of the communication avenues for these projects, and these initiatives share some of the people creating and managing these activities (and the same people will be giving the lecture).

Last but not least, this will be yet another opportunity to learn about the PORGEP2019 program, and how you may collaborate with projects which will be showcased.

The poster for the JBCM geomusical tour in Germany, via Politecnico.

On this occasion we will have the full Jug Band Colline Metallifere, since they will be in transit by Milano for a tour in Germany, with four gigs in the Stuttgart area. The lecture will thus be an opportunity to learn about a diverse range of activities, and to attend a very, very peculiar event.

For more information: in Brussels, April 2019 (EIE WG and DITOs Final event)

In case you missed us in Brussels, find us in Tatti, Southern Tuscany, next Saturday

Before we dive in the report, we would like to remind you that the next opportunity to experience all the stories explained below (except Belgian chocolates) will be on Saturday, April 13, in Tatti, Southern Tuscany, from 6PM to 8PM. Here we will be presenting the first version of the Tatti community map, as a part of the series of meetups with the network on Maremma map(pear)ing (see blog announcement). Now on we go, with Edoardo Bennato singing “a blues about trains..

Between April 1 and April 4 I had the opportunity of representing the network in Brussels, Belgium, in two events related to citizen science and, more in general, to community engagement in scientific and research activities (or the engagement of scientists and researchers in community activities?).

This is a field in which I have been increasingly working since 2008 (we may mention as first steps things like the outreach video on free/open source geographic information with Tuscan hamlet residents acting, or the m(‘)appare Milano campaign), and which I started elaborating even earlier. In fact, since I was working at CRS4, in Sardinia (1997-2002). As an example, in 2000 I launched a survey about geographic information system skills in the island, obtaining over 120 replies and triggering on these various technology transfer actions toward the local communities.

Un momento dello workshop “EIE”.

On Tuesday, April 2, I was at the workshop of the “Empowerment, Inclusiveness, and Equity” working group of ECSA (European Citizen Science Association). Say what? This is a group, composed partly by researchers, and partly by practitioners, dealing in various forms with projects where experts on a given topic need to cooperate with folks who are “less expert”. The group works on identifying problems and solutions in order for these processes to be inclusive, equitable, and empowering.

In the workshop we elaborated further in some issues discussed a couple of months ago in Paris. I also had the opportunity of getting to know more experts, and to present the overall activities to the participants. I then proposed the Jug Band dalle Colline Metallifere (JBCM, or Metalliferous Hills Jug Band) as a “context” to facilitate empowerment, inclusiveness and equity in various projects, extending what we have been doing over the past year in Italy, and which we can further develop in the coming months with PORGEP2019.

The following day the audience grew, with the setup of a stand in the marketplace at the final event of the Do-it-together Science (DITOs) European project, in the stunning venue of the Brussels Natural Science Museum. For this event I prepared yet another installation of the network travelling micro-museum, I shared with a part of the circa 150 attendees the geomusical approach on which we are working with JBCM, and I played a couple of songs, with a guitar kindly provided by the museum (since I could not carry mine on the plane).

The network travelling micro-museum, Brussels April 2019 edition.

On both days the issues in the spotlight were related to the Spring series of events. Among these, a special focus was on the Brescia national conference on interdisciplinary protection and promotion of the night sky on May 16, and -two weeks later- the geomusical tour by the Metalliferous Hills Jug Band in Germany, via Politecnico di Milano, which you too can support.

For more information: or +393317539228

Si ringraziano il progetto DITOs e i responsabili del gruppo di lavoro “EIE” dell’ECSA per l’invito e per il supporto economico sulle spese di viaggio.